Can We Identify Bills that Led to Deregulation Over the Past 30 Years?


U.S. Capitol; file photo

Question: I’m amazed that we have not seen an historical listing of the series of federal bills from Reagan’s administration, as well as Clinton’s and Bush II, that would identify a series of “deregulating” events that contributed to the current slippery slope — showing how current regulations would somehow correct for these past risky judgments. Is there a historical listing of these bills anywhere? It seems neither party wants to publish this kind of an assessment of how past bills contributed to the current mess.

Paul Solman: Oh, they’re not that hard to find. Reagan’s aversion to government regulation was abundantly well publicized; the man ran on such a platform. Under Clinton, the dismantling of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act (that regulated the separation of commercial and investment banks) was widely debated and has been very loudly blamed for our current woes (although, perhaps, unfairly). The deregulation of derivatives by Senator Phil Gramm has received plenty of attention.

Of course, neither party wants to highlight its role in the deregulatory era that pretty much encompasses all of the past 30 years. If you were a political party leader, would you?