With its regulators overwhelmed and underfunded, Wall Street firms then move to the Relentless Negotiation stage
"As you try to deal with the regulatory agency," he says of Wall Street, "the first thing firms do is ask, "Well, would you exempt us?' And when that doesn't work, they try to ameliorate the regulation." And if that strategy fails too, the industry defaults to litigation.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's recent approval of rules to establish position limits on certain types of trades got the "full-on-Monty Quadra-Kill" from Wall Street, Chilton says, although the outcome was far less favorable to the banks than they had hoped. Of course, they already are contemplating taking legal action against the parts of the just-completed Volcker Rule that they find "distasteful.'
Chilton says he has noticed one additional underhanded tactic that Wall Street has been employing lately: stalling or thwarting nominees to regulatory agencies. The nomination of Timothy Massad, the U.S. Treasury Department official who managed the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to replace Gary Gensler as CFTC chairman came late in the year and a confirmation vote has now been delayed, probably to February 2014. That means further Dodd-Frank rule-writing and enforcement could be delayed, too, because only two of five commissioners will be seated and they would both have to agree to get anything done. "It's a gift to Wall Street," he says. In short, they've been trying to trip, stall, or even cripple Dodd-Frank any way they can.
Though we are the vast majority, the main reason why Wall Street can always beat us
Bottom line: Financial-industry executives contribute more money "in every election, than any other sector, and they have made more profits (from which to get this money) in every single quarter since the fall of 2008 (when many of them helped crash the economy)," Chilton explains. "So while the rest of the nation is suffering still, and trying to get a leg up to get out of the ditch, the financial sector (who put them in the ditch) didn't miss a beat."
Unless and until Wall Street's disproportionate ability to bully Washington is somehow curtailed, the rest of us will be held as permanent hostages to its agenda.
For those interested in the fuller version of all this, Chilton has been writing a book. Its working title: "Theft."