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Commodity Traders Are Being Unfailry Villified

Elizabeth Warren is coming out swinging against banks that make big bets on commodities. This includes heavy hitters like Chase (NYSE: JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC.) Warren is leading the push to make sure that all banks have the ability to cover their ass if something goes horribly wrong, such as an oil spill or pipe explosion. This would require banks pursuing these investments to keep insane amounts of capital on hand.

To me, this seems like trying to reduce motorcycle deaths by requiring any rider to stop at checkpoints each and every mile to make sure that they are wearing a helmet, their tires have the right amount of air pressure, and that the driver hasn’t had a few beers. Sure, this would reduce motorcycle deaths, which is a good thing, but it would also greatly infringe on a huge group of people’s ability to conduct their daily lives.

Investing is inherently risky. Why single out commodities as being deserving of this extra scrutiny? Was it a pipeline explosion that caused Bear Stearns to crumble in 08? Did an oil spill precipitate the dot com boom which brought the entire world economy to it’s knees? No, those were just regular market forces at play. I understand we need some regulations, but this all feels like overkill.