Dr. Robert A. Johnson currently serves on the United Nations Commission of Experts on International Monetary Reform under the Chairmanship of Joseph Stiglitz. He is also the Director of Economic Policy for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) in New York. Dr. Johnson was previously a managing director at Soros Fund Management where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. Prior to that time, Dr. Johnson was a managing director of Bankers Trust Company managing a global currency fund. He also served as Chief Economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire (D. Wisconsin) and before that, he was Senior Economist of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee under the leadership of Chairman Pete Domenici (R. New Mexico).
Nothing has changed in legislation, regulation, and that's very haunting. Many, many people now can see that the House bill that was just passed by Barney Frank's committee is really not up to the task. If you say to yourself, "Does Goldman Sachs still get to engage in proprietary trading with government guarantees?" the answer's "yes" under the new legislation. Could the collapse of AIG, where the credit default swap market collapsed, happen again if this bill were law? The answer is probably yes. Will the next Treasury secretary, like Henry Paulson was last fall, be able under new legislation to engage in crony capitalism, where it can hand out bailouts at his discretion, or does he have to follow rules? The current House bill does not make them follow strict rules that will penalize the bankers. I don't think that this is as much a failing of intellect as it is a failure of will, given the role of money in politics and given the power of the financial sector's money in lobbying.