Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Get Everyone Together

I knew this, but hadn't really thought about it; oversight of a lot of the complex financial shenanigans that have caused so much trouble is handled not by the SEC, but by an historically agriculture-related agency. Martha White has a problem with this.

Why on earth is the Senate committee on agriculture, nutrition and forestry—which normally tackles topics like meat recalls and genetically engineered rice- vetting the nomination of a man who's going to be overseeing a wildly complex futures market?

The remedies seem obvious.

......business pages openly ponder the details of what's widely considered a likely possibility, at least in the near term: a merger between the CFTC and the SEC.

Economists are already thinking beyond the SEC vs. CFTC tug of war and toward the prospect of merging both the CFTC and the SEC into a bigger, brawnier Fed that would be responsible for market regulation across all sectors. The idea only sounds like a huge leap; most other countries with modern market economies already have a single department that handles all market regulation, such as Britain's Financial Services Authority.

The cynic in me says it sounds too sensible to happen.