Oh, dear. Every time Congress “modernize’s” a law you and I get taken to the cleaners. ( Remember the Financial Modernization Act of 1999 that created the recession? How about the Commodity Futures Modernization Act that created unregulated derivatives? How about the Food Safety Modernization Act which seeks to prevent contamination and now includes pet food under its control?)
You know we are in deep trouble when both political parties get together and pass a JOBS Act. This is after 2 years of a Republican Party thwarting every Democrat-sponsored legislation brought forward and when Senate Democrats continuously fail to pass a budget in the past two years. But now they both agree.
I know, I know. You thought those Republicans were telling you the truth when they said “Government doesn’t create jobs, the private sector creates jobs”. Then those pesky Republicans got together with those pesky Democrats and they decided to “modernize” the way that companies raise capital via the stock market and they call it a JOBS Act. Funny. Reducing safeguards results in more jobs?
You and I are in deep trouble. Matt Taibbi writes about it here.
The “Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act” (in addition to everything else, the Act has an annoying, redundant title) will very nearly legalize fraud in the stock market.
In fact, one could say this law is not just a sweeping piece of deregulation that will have an increase in securities fraud as an accidental, ancillary consequence. No, this law actually appears to have been specifically written to encourage fraud in the stock markets.
Ostensibly, the law makes it easier for startup companies (particularly tech companies, whose lobbyists were a driving force behind its passage) to attract capital by, among other things, exempting them from independent accounting requirements for up to five years after they first begin selling shares in the stock market.
The law also rolls back rules designed to prevent bank analysts from talking up a stock just to win business, a practice that was so pervasive in the tech-boom years as to be almost industry standard.
Even worse, the JOBS Act, incredibly, will allow executives to give “pre-prospectus” presentations to investors using PowerPoint and other tools in which they will not be held liable for misrepresentations. These firms will still be obligated to submit prospectuses before their IPOs, and they’ll still be held liable for what’s in those. But it’ll be up to the investor to check and make sure that the prospectus matches the “pre-presentation.”
The JOBS Act also loosens a whole range of other reporting requirements, and expands stock investment beyond “accredited investors,” giving official sanction to the internet-based fundraising activity known as “crowdfunding.”
But the big one, to me, is the bit about exempting firms from real independent tests of internal controls for five years.
There we have it. Democrats and Republicans working together to invite fraud in Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) by “modernizing” the laws that gave us a level playing field. Caveat Emptor ( Let the buyer beware) when it comes to believing anything about new IPOs. Seems to me that those blue-collar workers with 401Ks invested in the stock market are not going to know that the financial services managers in financial growth markets are buying stock in companies whose value may be illusory. Only company insiders are going to know the truth in the future.
The article has more to say about this new law. Modernization. Yup, that’s what they call it.
And what is wrong with the staid tradition in capitalism? Can’t some people make enough money ‘the old fashioned way’ anymore?
Vote for me and I’ll work to retain traditions that have brought America and its people success. Like the Bill of Rights. Like the Constitution. Like honorable and traditional capitalism.