The Mosbacher Institute’s Conversations in Public Policy series continued on Thursday, March 3, 2016, with a talk by Chairman Richard C. Breeden, the 24th Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and former Assistant to the President for Issues Analysis under President George H.W. Bush. He was engaged in an on-stage conversation by Chairman Donald E. Powell, the 18th Chairman of the FDIC. After welcoming remarks from the Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Ryan C. Crocker, and an introduction of the two chairmen by Dr. Lori Taylor, Director of the Mosbacher Institute, Chairman Breeden delivered his prepared remarks centering on regulatory relief.
Chairman Breeden’s work under then Vice President Bush was to identify overbearing agency rules and decrease the regulatory costs and burdens imposed by those rules. He insisted regulations, while necessary, should not hold back consumers. Instead, appropriate financial-market regulation balances safety and soundness, consumer protection, and competition and efficiency. Breeden also insisted regulations should not prevent consumers from investing, regardless of whether investments are safe or risky.
Breeden next discussed the savings and loan crisis President Bush faced when he assumed the Presidency in 1989. Breeden recalled President Bush’s determination to solve the problem, no matter the pain, and his insistence the program do its job. President Bush used his “honeymoon” period working with Congress to ensure the crisis was addressed. Breeden opined that the President’s dedication to resolving the savings and loans crisis was his finest domestic accomplishment.
Following these remarks, Chairman Powell joined Chairman Breeden on stage to discuss the government’s role in controlling capital markets and how the 2008 financial crisis might have been handled in hindsight.
In addition to his presentation, Chairman Breeden enjoyed several meetings with students and faculty, including speaking to Dr. Taylor’s class on Public Finance and Dr. Mary Hilderbrand’s class on Institutional and Governance Reform.