As policymakers continue to spar over how much the nation's big banks should be reined in, many people have lost faith in the idea that it will ever happen, a new poll suggests.
More than half -- 57 percent, to be exact -- of those recently polled by American Banker said Dodd-Frank financial regulatory act has not given regulators the "power" to let too-big-to-fail banks, well, fail. The poll implies that the publics believe banks are here to stay precisely because new rules put into place since the financial crisis are not tough enough to allow major banks to collapse without risking macroeconomic catastrophe.
This informal poll also somehwt reflects what some top policymakers have said -- mainly that many banks remain so gargantuan and so entrenched that the country has an interest in protecting them, for better or worse.
Take, for example, a March report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas that argued many banks are not only still operating at a too-big-to-fail level but eroding public confidence in capitalism as it's practiced in America.
"[V]irtually nobody has been punished or held accountable for their roles in the financial crisis," the report reads in part. "TBTF undermines equal treatment, reinforcing the perception of a system tilted in favor of the rich and powerful."
At around the same time, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in an address at George Washington University that "there is something fundamentally wrong with a system in which some companies are... too big to fail."
Wall Street has done its part to make sure Washington waters down financial reform as much as possible, enacting a major pushback against the regulatory package. Indeed, in one 12-month period, lobbyists from Goldman Sachs alone were showing up on Capitol Hill an average of once every four days -- and the actual implementation is running conspicuously behind schedule, with regulators missing more than a hundred deadlines for putting rules on the books thus far.