Financial Regulation in Hindsight
By Arnold Kling
I am also skeptical about the claim that we needed a “systemic risk regulator” to prevent the crisis. This would be true if most of the financial damage could not have been prevented by any individual regulator. However, the fact is that the Federal Reserve, which regulates most of the nation’s largest banks, had enough power to prevent bank failures with better capital regulations. Preventing failure at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae also did not require a systemic risk regulator–what was needed was tighter supervision by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which regulates those institutions. That in turn would have required support from Congress, which generally was instead more prone to tampering with the regulator than with the housing enterprises it was supposed to regulate.