Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ficticious Interview: Senator Chis Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) were primary sponsors for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which was signed by President Obama on July 21, 2010. Rather than arrange for an actual interview with the lawmakers so they can give me non-answer answers, I envisioned how an interview with the esteemed gentleman might transpire. Here is how it played in my head:

jeff-for-banks (jfb): What is your definition of a "financial crisis"?

Dodd: When Joe the Plumber can't get a loan to buy a multi-million dollar home on Florida's Gold Coast. That's not just a crisis, it's tragic.

Frank: When Fannie and Freddie stop contributing to my PAC.

jfb: How did the Government Sponsored Entities, such as Fannie Mae, contribute to the financial crisis?

Frank: I don't think Fannie and Freddie are financially insolvent. I don't believe they require large bailouts (Note: Actual July 2008 quote by the gentleman from Massachusetts. See video below).

Dodd: Barney just told you they stopped contributing.

jfb: Should individuals be accountable for taking loans they could not afford to repay?

Frank: The necessary evil of capitalism is that there are evil forces intent on perpetrating ill-will on the working class and it is the responsibility of everyone to enlist government officials to stand guard against bad players regardless of the cost and reliance on government because we are here for you, the working class, not the rich.

jfb: Huh??? Senator Dodd, same question.

Dodd: Personal responsibility is so 1950's. It took the 60's enlightenment to end such a fascist concept.

jfb: I read that the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection will have a $500 million annual budget. Is this accurate?

Frank: I hope not. Creating this bureau was a key provision in Dodd-Frank and a budget that doesn't end in a "B", or better yet, a "T", doesn't demonstrate our commitment to creating a black-hole bureaucracy.

Dodd: No worries. We'll charge it!

jfb: The Durbin Amendment requires the Fed to determine the "reasonable and proportionate" interchange fee that can be charged on debit and credit card transactions. Historically, when has price fixing worked?

Dodd: Nixon did it in the 70's with gas prices.

Frank: (laughs) Son, I understand you're a coal cracker from Scranton, had a hard-scrabble life, and may not understand these things. The Durbin Amendment is not price fixing. The Fed is only going to set the reasonable fee that can be charged.

jfb: How do you envision the Fed determining which systemically risky firms to unwind during a future financial crisis?

Dodd: Although the law is 5,000 pages, we left it up to the Fed to determine how to do that. I'm sure they'll do a good job.

Frank: I envision a panel like on the reality TV show America's Got Talent. Bankers like Jamie Dimon can make their case to Piers, Sharon, and Howie who can buzz him if they don't like his shtick.

Dodd: (laughing) Barney's kidding.

Frank: No I'm not. I love that show. Great concept.

jfb: Will Dodd-Frank solve the problems that created the financial crisis?

Frank: We are creating a financial system with greater government control and a new bureaucracy with a $500MM plus budget with significant powers. What could go wrong?

Dodd: What do I care? I'm outta here!

jfb: Thank you for your time gentleman.

Reminder in case you are an angry politico... the above was a figment of my imagination. Any complaints can be lodged to some government agency with a big budget that was designed so you can cry on their shoulder.

- Jeff

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