Greg Baer: The “Record Profit” Canard–And My Rebuttal

Here, at The Clearinghouse Blog. Excerpt (footnote omitted):

Recently, one hears opponents of regulatory reform arguing that there is no need for regulatory reform because banks are making "record profits."  The argument is quite puzzling, but we’ve heard it enough to think it deserved a quick response.


Just for starters, step back and think just how silly the “record profit” canard really is.  Suppose the government adopted a rule that every power plant had to be painted yellow, or that every car had to have a bumper on the roof, or that every restaurant had to include a pet bathroom.  All of those would be really dumb regulations, but all of those industries would remain profitable.  Indeed, they might even report record profits after those regulations were promulgated.  Does that mean that those regulations would then be vindicated, and constitute smart regulations? 


And here is my reply, in Politico's Morning Money:


BANK EARNINGS REACT – Via St. John's professor Jeff Sovern: "Greg Baer misses the mark when he criticizes regulatory reform opponents for saying reform is unnecessary because banks are making record profits. Supporters of the reduced regulation reflected in the Financial Choice Act claim the rules mandated by Dodd-Frank make it hard for banks to operate and are causing some to close.

"Dodd-Frank supporters retort that If banks are making record profits despite the supposedly onerous regulations, banks must be doing just fine. It is hard to reconcile claims that regulations are putting banks out of business with reports of record profits.



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