Someone sent me an article from Alan K. Ota for CQ Roll Call, “GOP: Pimco Sell-Off Signals Need for Federal Cut-a-thon.” It’s online, but you need a special account to get to it, so I can’t link to it. It’s all about how major bondholders, the types that shake hands with the government, after surviving the financial crisis without taking a haircut, want the government to get serious about the short-term deficit through austerity and also some disinflation would be nice. (Remember, high-end inequality is about Oprah being a superstar on a global amount of televisions and not-at-all about rentiers with a government backstop.)
But, whatever. I bring it up only because I sometimes hear that the economy is doing badly because of “regulatory uncertainty.” President Obama and the Democrats are spooking investors and the market by doing a bunch of things, and investors don’t want to invest.
This story always needs more meat on its bones. When I’m cynical I think saying that certain policies cause “regulatory uncertainty” and “spooking investors” is a dog-whistle that means that the policies “do not explicitly benefit rich people.” After all, the biggest rallying cry for uncertainty was the extension of the high-end Bush-era tax cuts.
So the article features this quote, which has Rep. John Campbell making a reference to an example of the government spooking the markets:
Republicans including Rep. John Campbell, whose California district includes Pimco’s main office, said the GOP was carefully pursuing a tough strategy by providing a showcase for Gross’ bearish advice to pressure Democrats. Campbell said lawmakers need to avoid spooking investors, and recalled the stock market sell-off that followed House rejection of the first version of the financial bailout in September 2008.
!?!? Not passing the first version of TARP is an example of the government irresponsibly spooking of the markets? Good to hear. Is that really the bar now, the level of deference necessary to get back to the a reasonable employment level?
Bonus fun: John Campbell is the representative who owns the real estate a bunch of auto dealers rent, who then put a loophole in the CFPB for auto dealers, and then voted against it the CFPB. Forgive me if regulatory certainty blurs into the concept of appeasing your rich donors. I was a guest on NPR’s Planet Money about a year ago, on a show called Attack of the Special Interests. They asked me about the House’s CFPA exemptions that have been carved out by special interests, and I mention how auto loans have been exempted. I told them that it was put in by a congressman from California who owned a bunch of car dealers, but I wasn’t sure of the congressman’s name. Their next guest was Rep John Campbell (R – CA), and right before they start the interview their producer figured out it was Campbell who put in the auto loan exemption! It’s a good time, especially when clarifies he owns the land and rents it, but does not own the car dealerships.