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David Sirota

David Sirota

Posted: May 22, 2010 02:15 PM

On Wall Street "Reform," Remember Spinal Tap's Lesson: the Volume May Go to 11, but That Can't Hide Bad Music

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After the Senate passage of the Wall Street "reform" bill, the political hype industry has amped itself up to 11.

Under the headline "A Progressive Agenda to Remake Washington," the New York Times makes a desperate lunge for links from the Democratic blogosphere, gushing that "With the Senate's passage of financial regulation, Congress and the White House have completed 16 months of activity that rival any other since the New Deal in scope or ambition."

The hagiography echoes the Obama campaign press release that just hit everyone's email box -- the one that declares the passage of this bill "proved again that the strongest special interests, who for so long have called the shots in Washington, can be beat."

"When the lobbyists pushed for loopholes and exemptions just before a final vote, you did not relent -- and we fought them off," thunders the Organizing for America agitprop.

The problem with 11, of course, is that volume cannot hide piss poor quality. Spinal Tap's songs, no matter how loudly played, were quite awful (hello, Cleveland!). And Wall Street "reform" legislation, no matter how much the Democratic Party, the servile Washington press corps and the Democratic-aligned "progressive" media screams the contrary, is the offensive punchline to a bad joke.

Here's the real story from Slate's Daniel Gross -- the story that no amount of speaker-blowing noise can hide:

Some of Wall Street's most absurd prerogatives and loopholes are left untouched. This bill doesn't address carried interest, the absurd state of affairs under which private equity and hedge funds get to pay capital-gains tax rates on profits they make managing money for other people...The bill that's emerging doesn't tax trading, doesn't force the industry to fund its own recklessness in advance, preserves vital tax breaks, and puts consumer protection under the auspices of the Federal Reserve, a generally conservative institution.

This is the truth beneath the volume -- the terrible power chords and missed drum beats below the propaganda's aural onslaught. Give the band credit, of course -- they're straining to put on an entertaining show. Senators like Jon Tester, after voting against amendments that would have capped banks size, are now bellowing into the microphone that they supposedly ended "too big to fail." And much of the Democratic activist crowd, ear drums long ago completely blown out, will hold up flickering lighters and cheer them on.

But remember what Spinal Tap taught us: Just because the music is played at 11, doesn't mean it's good -- nor does it mean it's even music. It's the same axiom when it comes to legislative "reform" -- the volume of the celebration doesn't mean it's good, nor does it mean it's even "reform." In fact, it quite often means exactly the opposite -- volume is used to obscure, rather than amplify, a subpar product.

 
 
 

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