Will Financial Regs Hurt or Help Businesses?

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WASHINGTON -- Surrounded by key Democrats who helped push financial reform through Congress, President Obama signed the most sweeping overhaul of lending and finance rules since the Great Depression into law on Wednesday.

The president said consumers will now have a better idea of what they're getting into when buying a house, applying for credit cards, and taking out loans.

"It provides certainty to everybody from bankers to farmers to business owners to consumers," Obama said. "And unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you've got nothing to fear from reform."

However, critics of the new law have said uncertainty about what's in the law is the problem.
   
The 2,300-page bill orders the writing of 243 new regulations from 10 government agencies. Federal regulators have been given two years to come up with the new rules.
    
Consequently, businesses have to wait to find out just what the new law will mean for them. That, in turn, will result in more uncertainty for companies already skittish about spending money and hiring more workers.
   
Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio and other GOP leaders have already started calling for a repeal of the measure.
     
"I think it's going to make credit harder for the American people to get, clearly harder for businesses to get," Boehner said.

The same day the new financial regulations became law, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged the concern many businesses have about the new rules.
 
"We also recognize that the economic outlook remains unusually uncertain," Bernanke said in testimony before Senate Banking Committee. His remarks sent stocks tumbling.
  
Meanwhile, many business owners are wondering if the Obama administration is out to get them.

Last week, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue accused the administration of "demonizing key industries," adding "suffocating regulations," and going far beyond what was needed to help the economy.
         
"All of this has injected tremendous uncertainty into our economy and uncertainty is the enemy of investment, of growth and of jobs," he said.

Along with new financial rules, Donohue said the new health care law and threats of tougher environmental emissions regulations will keep businesses - and uncertainty - hanging over the economy.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.