If there’s one thing you can take to the bank, so to speak, in these times of political polarization in Washington it’s this-any bill that passes the House and Senate with margins like 390-23 and 73-26 isn’t, in the words of John Nance Garner, worth a warm bucket of spit. The recent passage of the so-called JOBS Act is no exception. The FRAUD Act would have been a more appropriate title. Facilitating Rampant And Unchecked Deceit.
(Just as an aside, giving bad legislation names with catchy acronyms like JOBS Act is a little trick the crooks in Congress have also learned. See PATRIOT Act.)
Under the pretense of being about making it easier for small businesses and startup companies to access capital, the JOBS Act is just another round of Wall Street deregulation that was such a rousing success leading up to the collapse of 2008. It weakens investor protection, eases SEC oversight and transparency rules, and guts much of Sarbanes-Oxley, which was passed in 2002 to prevent future Enrons from happening. Happy days are here again!
Here’s what Sen. Bernie Sanders had to say about it:
“At best, this bill could make it easier for con artists to defraud seniors out of their entire life savings by convincing them to invest in worthless companies. At worst, this bill has the potential to create the next Enron or Arthur Andersen scandal or an even worse financial crisis.”
Bloomberg has more. Lynn Turner, former SEC accountant:
“It won’t create jobs, but it will simplify fraud. This would be better known as the bucket-shop and penny-stock fraud reauthorization act of 2012,” he said, referring to practices banned under securities law.”
Barbara Roper, director of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America:
“You don’t increase jobs growth by rolling back regulatory protections, and it’s frankly bewildering that the Democrats have been so willing to buy into the traditional Republican argument.”
Representative John P. Sarbanes of Maryland, one of 23 Democratic opponents in the House, warned colleagues in a letter that the bill could lead to an “Enron-Type fraud,” invoking the accounting scandal that led Congress to enact the law named for his father, former Senator Paul Sarbanes.
“The JOBS Act is something only a financial scavenger could love. It will create a fraud-friendly and fraud-enhancing environment. It will add to the unprecedented level of financial fraud by our most elite CEOS that has devastated the U.S. and European economies and cost over 20 million people their jobs.”
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) proposed an amendment which would have limited corporations from making an end-run around SEC regulations, but the cowards in the Senate wouldn’t even go on the record against that, killing it with a voice vote.
Oh by the way, that amendment was opposed by the Chamber of Commerce and the American Bankers Association.