SEC Doesn't Regulate Credit Swaps, Duh

It's hard to know if John McCain is stupid, a liar, or both. Regarding his call for firing the Chairman of the SEC, TAPPED says it well:

In his latest attempt at a total makeover, John McCain said today that if he were president, he'd fire Chris Cox, the chairman of the SEC, for keeping in place "trading rules that let speculators and hedge funds turn our markets into a casino." But whatever its flaws, and they are abundant, the SEC still is constrained by federal laws -- and a number of the laws that prohibit SEC regulation of casino behavior were written by McCain's chief economic guru, former Sen. Phil Gramm, who exempted the very credit default swaps that dragged AIG down from any federal oversight.

So who does McCain want to replace Cox with? Gramm?

That's change you can grow queasy about if you think it over.

--Harold Meyerson

And as ABC notes, "while the president nominates and the Senate confirms the SEC chair, a commissioner of an independent regulatory commission cannot be removed by the president."

And as for Cox being lax, as Salon's Andrew Leonard points out (prob. subscription only):

[I]t might be worth remembering that this former Reagan administration lawyer and congressional House representative from Orange County, Calif., has been doing exactly what his party has always wanted him to do. George Bush did not appoint him commissioner in 2005 to crack down on Wall Street. The prevailing ideology of the Republican Party -- and this is one area where the historical evidence, by his own admission, does not justify calling John McCain a "maverick" -- has been to loosen control of Wall Street, not to tighten it. If our markets were turned into casinos, the majority of the blame has to go to the Republican Party, with some assistance from the Clinton administration.