The Campaign Spot

Barack Obama’s Toothless Bill To Deal With Iran

So I took a look at the Iran legislation Obama is touting in his attack on McCain.

It’s pretty much toothless.
Obama’s Iran bill would requires the Treasury Department to publish in the Federal Register each person who has an investment of $20 million or more in the energy sector in Iran. They have to put the list of people on the web.
The bill says it is the policy of the federal government to divest from Iran’s energy sector, and thus it “authorizes” state governments, local governments, and educational institutions to divest from them. Of course, those institutions can divest right now. They don’t need Obama or Congress or anyone to “authorize” it.
There’s no reward for divesting from Iran; there’s no punishment for continuing to invest in Iran’s energy sector. You just get your name on a list in the Federal Register, and the “benefit” for divestment is your name comes off the list.
Well, that will have Ahmadinejad quaking in his boots.
I guess the idea is, institutions would stop investing in Iran because being on the Treasury Department’s list is unpopular. But you know what else is unpopular? Investing in Iran. The only way this bill would make a difference is if a Federal Register notice or a Treasury Department web page generated a significant amount of public pressure on an institution.
Of course, state governments, local governments, and educational institutions could always just reduce their investment to $19.99 million and that would get them off the list, too.

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