Publications

- April 2009: Vol. 21 No. 4

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Clamping Down: The U.S. Financial Markets Return to an Era of Tighter Regulation

by Loretta Clodfelter

During the past 30 years, the financial markets experienced a trend toward deregulation. Some of that deregulation led to a more efficient investment market, but other changes turned Wall Street into the Wild West. Today, as the government acts to quell the troubled system, investors get the clear sense that more regulation and tighter enforcement is on the way.

At his confirmation hearings in January, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner addressed Congress’s questions as to how the government should deal with the economic crisis at hand.

“We must move ahead with comprehensive financial reform so that the U.S. economy and the global economy never again face a crisis of this severity,” he said.

The financial strain is significant. The U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that between the second and third quarters of 2008, the year-on-year GDP growth fell by 0.5 percent and corporate profits fell by

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