Thursday, July 22, 2010

Financial Reform Becomes Law

After a long legislative fight, the financial reform bill finally passed the Senate. It's extremely lacking in some key areas, and definitely doesn't do nearly enough to break up the power of the megabanks. With that said, unlike how I felt after the passage of health care reform, I feel pretty confident that this is a major improvement over the status quo, and I'm very happy it passed.

A major way the reforms can have an intimidate impact is if the right person is nominated to head the newly formed Consumer Protection Agency. Labor and advocacy groups are pushing Elizabeth Warren, and it's such a no brainer you can bet it won't happen. Tim Geithner seems to be opposed to her nomination, which should tell you everything you need to know about why she'd be a good choice.

The PCCC is gathering signatures in support of her nomination, so sign on to show your support.

As for the point of financial reform ("so that we never have a crisis like this again") I'm far far less optimistic. The big banks are just as powerful as they were before, and the masters of the universe whose ideas caused the crisis are still highly thought of (or you know, in the Administration), while the economists who have been right remain marginalized and largely ignored by those calling the shots.

The Elizabeth Warren thing is huge. If Obama fucks that up, it's a pretty big black eye not only because she would be amazing, but because it shows the worst elements of his Administration really are calling all the shots. Warren's nomination would at least be a glimmer of hope that the Larry Summers and Tim Geithner Experience might finally be coming to an end, Jared Bernstein could be let out of his cage and the chance of better economic policy might be in sight.

This is a fork in the road for the Administration's economic policy, hopefully they make the right call.

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