April Fool's, darlings. No, Bush's plan, even if it were structured to be effective, would not be put into place until...
well, take a wild guess.
Paulson proposed the broadest restructuring of federal regulatory institutions in 75 years with a call to merge agencies and redraw lines of authority that in some cases go back to the Great Depression. But the plan would put off for years any attempt to create new regulations for the streamlined system to enforce. [emphasis added]
As a result, even if the new structure were eventually adopted, it would do little to prevent a repeat of the current crisis or something similar, the Treasury secretary acknowledged.
Well, then, what would be the point of this legislation? C'mon, I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count.
First, the core of the plan was devised more than a year ago to reflect Paulson's -- and the president's -- conviction that the U.S. must lighten regulations on its financial industry or risk losing business to foreign financial centers such as London and Hong Kong.
But the proposal is being unveiled after the sub-prime mess, the housing meltdown and sliding financial markets left tens of millions of people poorer and more pessimistic.
It is also subject to the judgment of a Democratic-controlled Congress in no mood to give financial firms more leeway.
"We must restore the trust and confidence of investors and consumers," Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) said in a statement. "That trust has been shattered -- not because regulators did too much, but because they did too little."
Here's my favorite thing about the Bushies and their ilk: They're so freaking predictable. Just put everything they propose through a Bush-to-English dictionary, and it will come out thusly:
"It'll make mah corporate cronies a hell of a lot richer and, just cause we can, make working-class Americans poorer. Ah love bein' Preznit! Heh heh."
Enjoy the first day of April, everyone, and don't get Fooled by the Bushian doubletalk on the economy.