It's far too easy to blame the SEC for the Bernie Madoff fiasco- or anything else. In fact, it's way too convenient. And, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) yesterday blaming the SEC for undermining the confidence Americans have in the financial markets is outrageous.
Mr. Ackerman, how dare you.
It is the SEC's job to investigate and enforce- yet they do so under, and within, the laws and regulations set forth by Congress. Period.
It is Congress that created FASB 157 "mark-to-market" accounting, which is primarily responsible for crashing the markets- and which led to the Republicans getting crushed in the elections. (And this is an entirely other sordid matter, which I call 'FASB-gate'. Republicans are you listening?)
It is Congress that still does not insist on re-instating the "up-tick" rule - a rule that would not enable short-sellers to easily conduct bear raids on stocks and pound their stock prices into the pavement. This was also an important part of the market crash. In fact, it would even be a better idea to disallow shorting on the bid. And, with great foresight, the SEC has already published my idea on their website. It's been up there for almost 10 weeks. Have you Congressional lawmakers even seen it?
It is Congress that has allowed generations of Wall Street executives and lobbyists to operate, unchecked, within a culture of greed and arrogance - arrogance that allowed the monolithic investment firms to gamble with the taxpayers' money and lose billions due to incompetent trading and reckless investment decisions- only to then have these same firms come running back to the same taxpayers to be bailed out- and using their insider proxies on the Hill to do so.
It is Congress that, to this day, has never provided the SEC with sufficient funding and manpower to be able to effectively investigate and enforce the markets.
It is Congress that set up the rules for the mortgage market- and let their own mortgage children, Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), wield havoc within the mortgage industry right under their noses.
It is Congress that let hedge funds run wild, manipulating every market on the planet. And continue to do so.
It is Congress that failed to regulate the un-Godly dark world of the derivatives market.
It is Congress that seems to only tackle any or all of the above once it becomes politically-correct to placate their tax-paying constituents- and only seems to even begin making a legitimate attempt at it- if there is a "TV-op" attached in the process.
And, it is Congress which loves to grand-stand on national television before taxpayers and levy blame on everyone but themselves for what is wrong.
I feel sorry for the SEC. All these years, they have done the best they can with what they've had to work with. They've been strangled all the way.
Just once I'd love to see Congressional representatives sitting where the SEC was sitting today and grilled repeatedly for all of the incompetent 'ambulance-chasing'-style law-making they have effected- and continue to do.
This great country is great despite Congress. And can be greater, if just once, Congress could act before a crisis occurs- and not only after a crisis occurs.
Congress: instead of pointing fingers at everyone else- investigate and enforce yourselves.
The taxpayers demand it.