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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Posted by Richard on April 24, 2010

"Who shall watch the watchmen?"

On Wednesday, I posted about Gerald P. O'Driscoll's Wall Street Journal column arguing that regulations and bureaucrats can't protect consumers and investors. O'Driscoll based his argument on public choice theory. Now there's yet another explanation for regulatory failure: the regulators, confident that they're virtually immune from any consequences for failing to do their jobs, may just decide to spend their days watching porn instead of doing all that tedious number crunching.

So, in the face of all the theoretical arguments and empirical evidence that armies of bureaucrats and mountains of regulations have utterly failed to protect us from fraud, does the Obama administration say, "Maybe we ought to rethink this; let's talk to this O'Driscoll fellow and explore some fresh ideas"? 

Of course not! Instead, they're going to create new regulatory agencies to watch over the existing regulatory agencies and provide us with the "protection" that those regulatory agencies have failed to provide. They're going to address the problem of unmotivated, unaccountable, almost-impossible-to-fire bureaucrats by hiring a new army of unmotivated, unaccountable, almost-impossible-to-fire bureaucrats.

What could possibly go wrong?

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