If, dear reader, you are anything like me, then you are probably scratching your head and trying to understand exactly what the recent financial industry legislation is all about. More important, will these new rules and regulations keep another global financial meltdown from happening.
Take, for example, the so-called Volker Rule, a cumbersome part of the even more unwieldy Dodd-Frank financial reform act. This sprawling 2,000 plus page red-headed stepchild of regulations is a ludicrous example of complexification. The reason? Lawyers! Almost if not all of the people writing these rules are lawyers, and lawyers by training and proclivity detest simplicity when drafting laws, regulations, contracts, or indeed any sort of legal document designed to govern behavior.
They do this because they want to forestall future disputes and potentially expensive litigation by exhaustively codifying behavioral rules and spelling them out under every conceivable circumstance. Since when have you not seen a lawyer sorely tempted to insert an "except that" or “provided, however” phrase into the simplest contract?
So what does that mean for the Volcker Rule and financial reform in general? Well, one might argue that the best solution is to scrap that overlawyered piece of legislation and go back to the original suggestion of the author, Mr. Volker.
“I’d write a much simpler bill. I’d love to see a four-page bill that bans proprietary trading and makes the board and chief executive responsible for compliance. And I’d have strong regulators. If the banks didn’t comply with the spirit of the bill, they’d go after them.”
From that simple statement to the monstrous two thousand page creation of the Dodd-Frank legislation, with the lawyerly help of the professional nit-pickers. Perhaps it is long since time to pass yet another law ….. one that prohibits lawyers from serving in congress or on congressional staffs. Maybe then ……….