A JOBS Bill That Isn’t

The JOBS bill before the Senate doesn’t actually, you know, create any jobs.  In fact, according to MIT economist Simon Johnson, it’s likely to destroy jobs.

Professor John Coates hit the nail on the head:

“While the various proposals being considered have been characterized as promoting jobs and economic growth by reducing regulatory burdens and costs, it is better to understand them as changing, in similar ways, the balance that existing securities laws and regulations have struck between the transaction costs of raising capital, on the one hand, and the combined costs of fraud risk and asymmetric and unverifiable information, on the other hand.” (See p.3 of this December 2011 testimony.)

In other words, you will be ripped off more. Knowing this, any smart investor will want to be better compensated for investing in a particular firm – this raises, not lowers, the cost of capital. The effect on job creation is likely to be negative, not positive.

Sensible securities laws protect everyone – including entrepreneurs who can raise capital more cheaply. The only people who lose out are those who prefer to run scams of various kinds.

Investor protection is good for growth and essential for sustaining capital markets. Experiments involving doing without such protections – as in the Czech Republic in the early 1990s, for example, have not gone well. There might be a temporary frenzy, but the subsequent fall to earth will be painful – and again hard to recover from.

But it’s what The Masters of the Universe want so it’s on a fast track to passage.  I’d say call your senators and let them know of your displeasure but it wouldn’t make any difference.  None whatsoever.

The securities industry special interests are naturally out in force – strongly supported by Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reports of the death of Wall Street lobbying power have been greatly exaggerated.

Financial deregulation was the result of decades-long delusion and bipartisan consensus. A major undermining of our securities law seems likely to take place on Tuesday – in a rushed moment of legislative madness.


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