John McCain the Regulator

John McCain has a new ad blasting the financial services sector for putting families at risk. Armed with “experience” and “leadership” gained inventing the BlackBerry and demonstrated by a strong nonexistent record of regulation, McCain is ready to make nonspecific reforms. See below.

But where does these newfound regulationist impulses come from? The NYT wonders as well.

While Mr. McCain has cited the need for additional oversight when it comes to specific situations, like the mortgage problems behind the current shocks on Wall Street, he has consistently characterized himself as fundamentally a deregulator and he has no history prior to the presidential campaign of advocating steps to tighten standards on investment firms.

He has often taken his lead on financial issues from two outspoken advocates of free market approaches, former Senator Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman. Individuals associated withMerrill Lynch, which sold itself to Bank of America in the market upheaval of the past weekend, have given his presidential campaign nearly $300,000, making them Mr. McCain’s largest contributor, collectively.

Indeed, Phil “Nation of Whiners” Gramm was behind the Commodity Futures Modernization Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which have been together credited with smiting regulation in the financial sector. And as for Alan Greepspan, he even himself admits to his culpability in the mess.

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