Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wait till next time

Warren Buffett talks about how Fannie/Freddie were regulated and cannot decide whether to laugh or cry.

QUICK: If you imagine where things will go with Fannie and Freddie, and you
think about the regulators, where were the regulators for what was happening,
and can something like this be prevented from happening again?

Mr. BUFFETT: Well, it's really an incredible case study in regulation
because something called OFHEO was set up in 1992 by Congress, and the sole
job of OFHEO was to watch over Fannie and Freddie, someone to watch over them.
And they were there to evaluate the soundness and the accounting and all of
that. Two companies were all they had to regulate. OFHEO has over 200
employees now. They have a budget now that's $65 million a year, and all they
have to do is look at two companies. I mean, you know, I look at more than
two companies.

But read the whole interview because the popular wisdom these days is that we are paying the price for the orgy of deregulation that we have recently been through.

How and why will regulation be better the next time?