If you saw yesterday's debate between Mr Biden and Mrs Palin you may be in the camp likely to resist further helpings of dogma. Which makes it easier to accept the conclusion that the regulatory actions that led to our actual locale (insofar as they concerned financial markets) do not represent failures of deregulation. Or failures of over-regulation for that matter. As has been the truth of crises through most of the course of human endeavour it is all much more about simple incompetence.

An example. This excellent piece from the New York Times concludes that the SEC made mistakes as a result of the deregulatory impulse. Yet far more striking impressions left by the tale are the organisation's inability to follow through on its own initiatives and - as a direct consequence - its failure to transfer any sense of operational continuity to its incoming chiefs.

That's not a political philosophy. It's straightforward, simple stupidity and inertia. Just carry the can and don't bother dressing it up retrospectively as 'voluntary regulation'.

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