The financial panic of 2008 has exposed a lot of issues related to the operation of the financial system, its role in the national economy, and some broader questions of fairness, ethics, and political morality. The financial reform bill in the Senate doesn’t tackle all of those issues, but in terms of the issues it does tackle — the risk that we’ll have a new panic requiring new bailouts — it does a pretty good job. And banks don’t like that. They want to run buck wild, hope for the best, and know the bailouts will come if necessary. The right, implausibly, is trying to simultaneously do the banks’ bidding by blocking reform legislation while simultaneously insisting that it’s secretly the Obama administration that’s doing the banks’ bidding.
This argument, absurd on its face, has gained some traction because of persistent leftwing criticisms of the measures as too timid. Consider the measures timid if you like, but it’s important to stay clear on the fact that the banksters and their lobbyists don’t like them:
As the Senate dives into the details of far-reaching legislation to overhaul financial regulations this week, lobbyists who represent some of the nation’s biggest banks are feeling on edge.
They were counting on Senate committee hearings and backroom negotiations among key lawmakers to remove or soften what the financial industry considers most objectionable in the bill. That hasn’t happened. And now, as early as Tuesday, the Senate will begin to consider populist amendments that spell even more heartburn for the banks.
So by all means push for good amendments to the bill and push against efforts to add loopholes. But spare a moment to recall that things are headed in the right direction.