Statement of Commissioner Bart Chilton on Meeting to Consider Significant Price Discovery Contract Determinations, Washington, DC

April 27, 2010

I’m pleased the Commission is moving forward with determinations regarding significant price discovery contracts pursuant to Congressional mandates.  This process will bring under federal oversight certain contracts that can affect prices—prices that consumers pay for myriad commodities. It will not, however, address many outliers that remain and need to be addressed as part of financial regulatory reform efforts currently being considered on Capitol Hill. For example, the process we are involved in today will not and cannot address needed oversight of over-the-counter transactions such as credit default swaps that brought down American International Group and helped further propel our economy to the edge of a cliff in 2008. If there is one thing we should take away from the economic fiasco, it is that regulatory reform is needed. The status quo is unacceptable.  I’m concerned about efforts to stall progress on legislation in this regard. I understand that individual Senators may have issues that they want addressed, and I am hopeful that the amendment process will provide them with a vehicle to do just that. But individual agendas should not and cannot be allowed to derail necessary changes to our financial system.

To use a timely illustration, the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster reminds us that “mine safety rules are written with the blood of miners.” While financial market regulatory reform does not in any way implicate the kind of human tragedy such as the loss of 29 human lives on April 6, there is a similarity to what motivates the mechanisms of government to react to disasters. Our financial crisis has devastated consumers’ pension funds, children’s’ college funds, and pushed individuals to the make choices about whether to put gas in the tank or food on the table. That shouldn’t be happening in America. It’s our responsibility to fix this crisis, and fix it now.

Make no mistake, if Congress does not act to give additional authority to financial regulators to oversee currently opaque markets, we will be doomed to repeat the economic devastation that we continue to witness. It would be a momumental failure for our Congress to fail to act now, to pass financial market regulatory reform, and to protect American consumers.

Last Updated: June 14, 2010