Let me get this straight. John McCain’s top economic advisor, former Sen. Phil Gramm, is the guy who authored the deregulation law that most agree is the ultimate cause of today’s financial meltdown. Tomorrow’s and probably next week’s too. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. John Thain, CEO of Merrill Lynch, which swirled into brokerage oblivion today, is one of McCain’s top economic advisors too. And now McCain says he’s going to clean up the mess by putting in tighter regulations and oversight even though he’s always supported lax oversight and his top economics guy is the one who loosened the rules in the first place.
“I’m always for less regulation,” he told The Wall Street Journal last March, “but I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight” in situations like the subprime lending crisis, the problem that has cascaded through Wall Street this year. He concluded, “but I am fundamentally a deregulator.”
Later that month, he gave a speech on the housing crisis in which he called for less regulation, saying, “Our financial market approach should include encouraging increased capital in financial institutions by removing regulatory, accounting and tax impediments to raising capital.”