We don't read USA Today and neither do you. But yesterday we found ourselves waiting endlessly in a doctor's waiting room and just about the only thing to read was a two day old copy of USA Today. This, of course, brought to mind the old joke: "A study by the Columbia School of journalism suggests that USA Today in fact carries news about whap happened in the United States yesterday." But his was even worse. Two day old newspaper with three day old news. It was like last night's episode of "Lost": the Scottish guy travels through time to relive the past but can't do anything to change it. We were reliving Monday and we were still forgetting to order flowers for the women in our lives.
One thing we learned from the experience is that USA today hates Wall Street. What's more, it has a surprisingly Manichean view of the world, divided sharply between the good guys and the bad guys. And Wall Street is definitely on the side of the back hats. It's like the editorialists call Gret-Gret before penning out a position.
Monday's "Our View" column--kind of like an editorial but dumber--argues that calls to scale back some of the post-Enron financial regulation that is pushing capital out of US private markets into foreign exchanges and private equity are actually "protectionism" for Wall Street jobs and bonuses. Regulation and litigation are, to be sure, legitimate issues, ones that go well beyond Wall Street.
USA Today does not deny entirely that over-regulation might be hurting Wall Street but it does deny that it has anything to do with the alienating the IPO market.
Regulation and litigation are, to be sure, legitimate issues, ones that go well beyond Wall Street. But they are not why companies are listing on foreign exchanges. That is happening for the same reason that other industries have gone overseas — global competition.
Now if we were optimists we'd call this "half-intelligent." Because, to be sure, global competition is indeed drawing offerings toward foreign exchanges. But short of pushing Hong Kong or, say, London back into the Stone Age, there's little that can be done about that. What we can do is address the other side of the problem: over-regulation. But to do so would mean admitting that the world is a place of marginal shifts and not either/or choices.
And it would also require that the editorial writers of USA Today give up the revanchist politics that lead them to barely conceal their glee at the idea of Wall Street losing out to foreign competition.
Our view on Wall Street woes: Look who wants protection from foreign rivals now [USA Today]