Henny Youngman, the king of the one-liners, used totellaudiences that his accountantassured him he had wisely invested enough money to live on for the rest of hislife.
That was provided he died by 2 pm that afternoon.
I've no doubt many once-solid portfolios - including mine- have performed their best impressions of Henny Youngman's retirement savingsover the past 18 months or so.
Now one can point fingers for hours about the root causesof dwindling retirement savings or the financial crisis in general or theinarguable fact that many Baby Boomers on the precipice of retirement, arepostponing that phase of their careers for at least a while longer.
But while the occasional smoker-in-chief continues analmost Ahab-like obsession in ramming through ObamaCare, financial reform, akey issue he was actually elected to act upon, has remained stalled in theSenate for the past several months.
Today, however, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., will unveil hisown proposal for financial regulatory reform, with the Senate Banking Committeeready to take up the bill March 22.
In December, the House adopted a plan for regulatoryreform, but Senate negotiations have not gone as smoothly, specifically beingderailed over objections on the powers bestowed upon a new sweeping ConsumerFinancial Protection Agencythatwas proposed to oversee financial products such as credit cards and mortgages.Questions, actually more like heated debates, have arisen about where it shouldbe housed and how much enforcement authority it should have.
The fact that Dodd's bill has, as of this writing,received not one endorsement from any member of the GOP is fodder for anothercolumn. Or the irony that Dodd, as chair of the Senate Banking Committee,continually parroted the Democratic mantra about the financial debacle being aresult of the GOP diluting oversight, and conveniently omitting the fact thevery committee he chairs has more than a little say in oversight matters.
Another key sticking point has been how to restructurethe regulatory framework, which has basically been untouched since theDepression.
Dodd has voiced support for past proposals that probablyhave wended their way in some shape or form to his bill including scaling backoversight jurisdiction of the Fed to the 23 largest bank holding companies -those with $100 billion or more in assets - and merging the Office of theComptroller of the Currency and Office of Thrift Supervision into a singleentity that would oversee the holding companies under the $100 billion level.Meanwhile, state chartered banks would come under the oversight of the FederalDeposit Insurance Corp.
It will be interesting to see if the chairman's planoutlines establishing the oft-mentioned systemic risk regulator and bolsteringthe investor protection authority of the SEC.
Whatever is unveiled today hopefully won't spur one ormore lawmakers to shout, "Take my plan - please."
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