Discussing Financial Reform and Rising Uncertainty with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Chris Versace

Chris Versace is a financial columnist and equity analyst with more than 20 years of experience in the investment industry.

Joining me this week on PowerTalk is Alice Joe, executive director, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness at U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Alice and I talk not only about The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, but many of the issues it creates and the ensuing uncertainty. For example, did you know that certain aspects of Dodd-Frank could alter the way companies like McDonald’s, The Hershey Company and Starbucks conduct their business? When Alice and I spoke, she also shared with me that roughly one-third of the 400 new rules to be put forth by Dodd-Frank across more than 10 federal agencies in Washington, D.C., had yet to be proposed.

Those two examples describe just some of the uncertainty that Dodd-Frank is creating in the business community. Dodd-Frank aside, there’s plenty of uncertainty to go around these days — new data shows the average American household is earning less than when the Great Recession ended four years ago. In a letter to congressional leaders, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that lawmakers will have to raise the debt limit by mid-October — sooner than previously expected. And that ups the ante between raising the current debt ceiling vs. a possible shut-the-government imbroglio that is under way in Washington, D.C. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently said the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians was a “moral obscenity,” delivering the clearest indication yet that the Obama administration is contemplating military action against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Add to that risk the uncertainty about the Fed tapering its easy-money policy, despite a weak July durable orders report, and there is ample uncertainty.

With something as big as Dodd-Frank, you probably think there’s more than just a few points of uncertainty, particularly since more than one-third of the rule has yet to be passed. You’d be right, and that’s exactly what Alice and I talk about in this edition of PowerTalk. Luckily, Alice has some suggestions as to how this mess can be fixed and how uncertainty can be minimized, if not removed.

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Lehman Brothers, Holdings, Inc., seemed to spur government policies aimed at stimulating the economy after the company filed bankruptcy and sought protection from creditors five years ago this coming Sept. 15.

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