‘Basel cliff’ looms for community banks

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John Berlau
Senior Fellow, CEI
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      John Berlau

      John Berlau is director of the Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs at <a href="http://cei.org/">CEI</a>. He is also a contributor to OpenMarket.org. Berlau has written about the impact of public policy on entrepreneurship for many publications including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Investor's Business Daily, and National Review. He has been the guest on many radio and television programs including MSNBC's "The Situation" with Tucker Carlson and CNBC's "Street Signs" with Ron Insana, and the Your World with Neil Cavuto on Fox News.

      Berlau previously was Washington correspondent for Investor's Business Daily and a staff writer for Insight magazine, published by The Washington Times. In 2002, he recevied Sandy Hume Memorial Award for Excellence in Political Journalism from Washington's National Press Club . He was a media fellow at the Hoover Institution in 2003. Berlau graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1994 with degrees in journalism and economics. He is the author of the book Eco-Freaks (Nelson Current, 2006), which has been in Amazon's top 100 best-selling non-fiction books.

Community banker Jim Purcell, the head of the State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas (and co-plaintiff, along with conservative seniors group 60 Plus, in CEI’s lawsuit against the Dodd-Frank bank regulatory overhaul), has already testified that Dodd-Frank had made it impossible to offer the stable mortgages he made for decades. However they feel about Dodd-Frank, both Maryland Democrats and Louisiana Republicans seem to recognize that this dash of Basel added to the already potent regulatory mix makes for a poisonous recipe for community banks.

One of the many lessons of the 2012 elections is that while conservatives should look for ways to limit government with bipartisan support, they should never let the left dictate the main agenda or issues on the table. Since Hoyer and Van Hollen have — to their credit — expressed doubt about the Basel regime, the House majority party should give them the opportunity to put those doubts to a vote as soon as possible.

There’s no reason that Congress can’t fix both the Basel cliff and the fiscal cliff during the “lame duck” session.

John Berlau is senior fellow for finance and access to capital at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.