WASHINGTON — For more than a year, Republicans have been hammering Democrats for what they say are the hefty economic costs of new financial regulations.
Now Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is turning the tables on the GOP by requesting a non-partisan analysis of the total economic costs of the financial crisis that spurred the new regulatory push.
Johnson, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, asked the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday to conduct an analysis of the impact of mass unemployment and its effects, the destruction of household wealth, and the effects on state and local governments, among other issues.
"We must not forget that our economy suffered from inadequate regulations that contributed to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression," Johnson wrote in a letter to the GAO. "American families and small businesses bore tremendous costs in lost jobs, homes, and savings."
Johnson also asked the GAO to consider any benefits of the U.S. government's emergency actions to stabilize the financial system, as well as any benefits in terms of financial stability that resulted from the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act.
In a second letter to various financial regulators, Johnson asked the agencies to provide information related to their efforts to write new regulations as a result of Dodd-Frank. The letter seemed designed to yield information that would push back against Republican critiques of the law.
For example, Johnson asked the agencies to provide their plans to streamline their regulations and reduce compliance burdens. He also asked for details on how each agency addresses the challenges that smaller institutions face in complying with regulations.
Congressional Republicans have been arguing that new financial regulations pose particular compliance burdens for small banks.