September 13, 2006
Panel on Competitiveness
A group, called the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, has been formed by a Harvard Law professor, Hal S. Scott, the Dean of the Columbia Business School, Glenn Hubbard, and the Board Chairman of the Brookings Institute, John L. Thornton. The sterling credentials of the committee promoters continued with their selection of a group of well-known business leaders and academics and their selection of a group of academic presenters who will prepare papers for comment. There is speculation that behind the Committee is the fine hand of the current Treasury Secretary, Henry M. Paulson, Jr. The intent of the Committee is to provide a persuasive, nonpartisan basis for reform of Sarbanes-Oxley and other government regulations that, at the moment, are too heavy handed and adversely affect the international competitiveness of American business. There findings will not be controversial (most professionals understand that we overreacted to the scandals of 2002) but the implementation will be. It is very hard to find political cover for politic ans who go along with reducing the impact of government regulation on corporations. It is all too easy (and too effective) for political opponents to yell that such politicians they "favor the rich and powerful...have sold out to corporate welfare..." and so on. Whether the Committee can prove the necessary politcal cover for new legislation is highly doubtful.
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