The gist: Alan Greenspan announced it and polls show it too: There’s been a sea change in attitudes about regulation lately — across the political spectrum.

Tragically, it’s taken staggering losses in our retirement savings, jobs, and homes, and a crisis of financial security on a global scale to change minds.

But, today, as our economy suffers the consequences of deregulation, policymakers can — and must — boldly and confidently reclaim responsible regulation as friend, not foe.

How can we talk about regulation, post-meltdown?

Talking Points for Policymakers:

Protections for our families and property:

Together, we shape the “common-sense rules of the road” that keep us safe and ensure fair play. Regulations balance healthy competition with responsible standards.

Lessons from the meltdown:

Today, more than ever, we see that stability is crucial — and it’s tied to oversight and responsible regulations. We can set standards to steer clear of boom-and-bust cycles and big crises — whether it’s the financial system, volatile gas prices, or a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina.

No more gambling the future:

A baseball game with no rules and no umpire would quickly fall apart. We insist on standards for our food and water and for our kids’ toys. Why would we leave our retirement savings or our energy future to an economy with no rules?

Further reading:

Barack Obama smiling at children nearbyWho Said it Best?
Who is talking about responsible regulation and common-sense public standards in a smart way?

Daily Score Blog Series: Economic Turnaround — Sustainable Solutions for the Northwest
The current economic meltdown is deeply concerning to families and businesses in the Northwest. But we can find hope in this crisis. Sightline’s blog series looks at current economic events through the lens of viable and realistic solutions that help us live within our means: efficiency and conservation measures, investments in clean energy, smart climate policy, and green collar jobs. Read more>>

National Political and Economic Survey – October 2008 (pdf)
Los Angeles Times / Bloomberg, October 10 – 13, 2008
A new Los Angeles Times / Bloomberg national poll shows that nearly three-quarters of respondents think the lack of regulation was partly responsible for the current financial and housing crises. The need for stronger regulation of financial markets was cited most as the top issue for the presidential candidates. And nearly half of those surveyed now think there is too little regulation of business. Read more>>

What is Government? And, can we talk about its role and purpose more effectively?
Demos: Network for Ideas and Action
Demos research into how Americans think about government shows that many see government and their relationship to in in narrow and distorted ways. In particular, Americans’ views of government are missing two key ingredients: a concrete understanding of what it is and what it does, and a ready sense of the mission of government. Extensive research yields important indications about the nature of the re-framing that is needed to change the national conversation.  Read more>>

One Simple, Low-Cost Step to Begin Restoring Public Confidence in Government
Greg Anrig, The Century Foundation, October 29, 2008
“The ongoing crisis in the financial and housing markets is a direct outgrowth of conscious decisions against regulating Wall Street contracts known as derivatives and against halting predatory lending practices that extended mortgages to home buyers who lacked sufficient resources to repay the loans.” But there are steps to restoring confidence in government, while recasting the role of regulations in a positive light.  Read more>>

Learning from the Economic Mess: Preliminary Thoughts on Reforming Financial Regulation
Alice M. Rivlin, Metropolitan Policy Program, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution, October 21, 2008
“Market capitalism is a dangerous tool. Like a machine gun or chainsaw or a nuclear reactor, it has to be inspected frequently to see that it is working properly and used with caution according to carefully thought out rules.The essence of market capitalism is that individual incentives for economic gain (sometimes known as greed) can be harnessed to maximize economic growth; channel capital into its most productive uses; and even reduce the risks inherent in economic activity. Yet there are plenty of clear examples of unfettered gain-seeking leading to disastrous collective results — greenhouse gas emissions, for example.” Read more>>

November 3, 2008