WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus released a new report Wednesday criticizing the Dodd-Frank Act, arguing it did not eliminate "too big to fail."
The analysis comes just two days after Rep. Barney Frank, the top Democrat on the panel, released his own report defending the law and efforts to address the largest financial institutions, including what regulators should do if a big bank fails.
Bachus' report is in line with earlier attacks by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other GOP lawmakers. It "refutes claims made by Dodd-Frank supporters that the 2,300-page law ends 'too big to fail' and ends bailouts," according to a Wednesday press release.
"American taxpayers are no better protected against bailouts than they were in 2008: if anything, they are even more exposed to the danger that government bureaucrats will pick their pockets to bail out the creditors of the next 'too big to fail' institution that ?nds itself on the brink of failure," the paper says.
The analysis argues that the Dodd-Frank law fails to ban bailouts, even though supporters assert it has.
"There's just one small problem with that assertion: no one believes it," the report says. "Not the creditors of these giant firms: they continue to lend to the too-big-to-fail — and they continue to lend more cheaply to these giant firms than they do smaller, less risky banks — because they continue to believe that when push comes to shove, government officials will intervene, no matter how much they say they hate bailouts and want to protect the taxpayer."
The analysis details several problems with the "resolution authority" designated to regulators under the law. It argues that the largest banks are too complex to wind down as intended if they are failing and that the effort would be costly, because regulators would have the power to lend to a failing firm, buy its assets, guarantee its obligations and pay off creditors.
"We expect [creditors to the largest financial institutions] to be careful about their decisions to lend millions and billions to large financial institutions. We want them to analyze the risks they are taking on, rather than expecting that the FDIC will step in to pay them off if things get bad enough," the report says.
"Instead, by subsidizing 'too big to fail' institutions and insuring the creditors of these institutions against the consequences of their poor decisions, the Dodd-Frank Act all but ensures that capital will continue to be misallocated while our economy continues to founder."