Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson sees plenty to like in the financial reform bill and wishes it was in place when the financial crisis began during his tenure in 2007-08.
The bill’s most important provision may be the one setting up a systemic risk council, he told The New York Times.
The council would enable government officials from different departments to learn from each other and to close institutions or make them change their practices when the system is at risk.
If that rule had been in place when he was in office, “some things would hopefully have been identified earlier,” Paulson said.
He also approves of the resolution authority in the bill, which permits the government to liquidate failing financial institutions without forcing them into bankruptcy.
“We would have loved to have something like this for Lehman Brothers,” Paulson said.
On the down side, he’s disappointed that the bill doesn’t address housing policy, the root cause of the crisis.
And regulation can only go so far, Paulson says.
“A lot of this is about the people who have responsibility for regulation when there isn’t a crisis and the people who have responsibility during a crisis.”
Stanford University Economist John Taylor shares none of Taylor’s enthusiasm for the bill.
“The main problem with the bill is that it is based on a misdiagnosis of the causes of the financial crisis,” he wrote in The Wall Street Journal.
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