Markets Must Work for All Americans

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The Financial Fairness Alliance

Capital markets are essential to promoting innovation and progress that drive human achievement. They also provide an avenue for the average American to accumulate wealth and, through their pension plans and 401(k)s, deliver the means for a stable retirement. Markets are too important to the world economy, the U.S. economy, and the welfare of every household in America to not watch the watchers. The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) boasts on its website: “For more than 85 years since our founding at the height of the Great Depression, we have stayed true to our mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation.” Has it?

The SEC is a federal bureaucracy and as susceptible as any other to mission creep, power abrogation and abuse of authority. Time and again the story is the same – federal bureaucrats are handed narrow or ill-defined statutory authority and, ultimately, find a way to expand it in previously unimaginable directions. The SEC has wandered far afield from its statutory mission but has largely been above scrutiny, in part because of the power the agency wields to exert influence over both companies and investors.

Each crash, scandal and hiccup in financial markets has served to further empower the SEC, regardless of its failure to prevent or live up to its mission leading up to the event. Today, unprecedented regulatory overreach and abuse have become a reality at the SEC. In recent years, the independent agency’s long enforcement arm has been used to aggressively pursue the policy wishes of insiders and special interests through unchecked rulemaking and other means.

Fueled by political pursuits and activist aims, the increasing pace and breadth of regulation advantage large corporations with the resources to keep up. As a result, capital doesn’t flow fairly and efficiently where it is needed, harming industries, markets, small businesses and average Americans. Smaller players are squeezed out. The behemoths grow until, eventually, they’re “too big to fail.”

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