…Beth DeSimone’s analysis of Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz’s proposal to streamline the agency’s consumer protection powers on the Consumer Advertising Law Blog? Leibowitz, a former chief counsel to the Senate Antitrust Committee, is asking the Senate for an overhaul of procedures that limit both FTC rulemaking and enforcement powers. [Download Here] For a stronger (and very positive) take on the request, check out Jonathan Dunn’s view on the Center for Democracy and Technology site.
The proposal is timely because the Senate is apparently less than eager to create a brand new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (already part of the House’s financial reform bill passed last December). And giving the FTC more authority instead would represent a compromise of sorts.
Our own concerns are pragmatic, not political. We aren’t so naïve as to believe that competitive markets and the right to sue in court provide adequate protection to consumers in complex financial transactions. So, in theory, it makes sense to have a watchdog with teeth. But we’d like assurances that the FTC would use new authority to consider the costs of consumer protection rules as well as the benefits. Anything to add on that score, Chairman Leibowitz?