As Steve Benen noted, on the heels of the $2 billion loss by JPMorgan Chase, here was the RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' reaction on Meet the Press this Sunday -- RNC Chief: Leave Wall Street alone:
JPMorgan's reckless, $2 billion fiasco appears to have a silver lining of sorts: the bank's bad bets help demonstrate the need for safeguards in the system. In his new column, Paul Krugman thanks JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon for offering "an object demonstration of why Wall Street does, in fact, need to be regulated."
And yet, somehow, some still don't see it that way. On NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus, common sense be damned, argued that the JPMorgan mess changes nothing.
Host David Gregory asked a straightforward question: "In light of the losses on Wall Street this week, you think we need less financial regulation rather than more?" In Preibus' mind, it's not even a close call: "I think we need less." The RNC chief added that Democrats have "made things worse" by approving new safeguards and adding new layers of accountability to the financial system.
It reminded me of an Upton Sinclair line: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
This really isn't that complicated. In 2008, Wall Street, left to its own devises, nearly collapsed the global financial system. Four years later, institutions like JPMorgan are still taking enormous risks in reckless schemes. It's hard to even conceive of a straight-face argument against sensible regulations in light of recent developments, but the chairman of the Republican National Committee was on national television anyway, arguing that policymakers should be doing less. Read on...
As Steve pointed out, this is Mitt Romney's position as well and they're counting on the public hating regulation as much or more than they hate Wall Street. That's the talking point they've been hammering home regardless of how reckless Wall Street and the bankers have been in the aftermath of the crash and ever since President Obama took office, so I don't expect them to change now. Forget about the fact that Wall Street took our economy down, regulations are terrible. I suspect our media doing a terrible job of explaining why their views are wrong and why we ought to keep the gambling separate from the banking industry has a lot to do with why Republicans have not suffered more greatly when it comes to public opinion on the matter. Interviews like this one with David Gregory sure aren't helping any.
Transcript below the fold.
DAVID GREGORY: Let me ask you a very important economic question. You listened to Jamie Dimon on the program earlier. Talk about regulation, talk about the mistake that was made by this trading debt and huge loss. Governor Romney and the Republican party position is to repeal Dodd-Frank, which is financial reform. In light of the losses on Wall Street this week do you think we need less financial regulation rather than more?
REINCE PRIEBUS: I think we need less. I mean the fact of the matter is Dodd-Frank didn't work. The reality is we've got about five to 10 banks in this country that earn our GDP. Those five to 10 banks assets' make up a huge majority of this country's GDP. Now that's an issue. I do agree that this too big to fail mentality is a problem, but I don't think Dodd-Frank fixed anything. In fact I think they made things worse.
DAVID GREGORY: So you're satisfied with the way Wall Street operates, with the kinds of bets that were taken by J.P. Morgan Chase that led to this kind of loss? You don't think that Washington regulators can remedy that?
REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, certainly Dodd-Frank didn't remedy it. And the record of this president is that he wasn't able to remedy any of these--
DAVID GREGORY: But Carl Levin says--
DAVID GREGORY: --that the Volker Rule, which would govern how they use their money to make these kinds of trades, to hedge their bets, it would address that.
REINCE PRIEBUS: Listen, I'm not an financial expert or an expert on SEC, but I can tell you that this president talks a lot about regulation on Wall Street. He takes millions and millions of dollars from Wall Street. but what he's done over the last three and a half years of the Democratic Senate-- Levin had control on the Senate on this issue. And they had a Democratic control of the House. So they had the Democrats in control of the house, the Democrats in control of the Senate. They had the president in the White House and they didn't control any of these things. So they've made things worse.