It's always so much easier to cut deals in the backroom, isn't it? That way politicians don't have to be held accountable for their actions. The bank lobby is clearly frightened of the democratic process... and it should be.
J.P. Morgan's Chief Economist James Glassman recently indulged in a vaguely worded assault on financial reform, arguing that Congress is about to ruin the economy by cracking down on Wall Street. Don't believe a word of it.
Those terrifying months in late 2008 convinced me that the federal government needed to play a far more active role in policing the activities of the major financial players in our economy. This finance reform bill will do that.
When push came to shove in late 2008, the banks' ultimate power was not that they were secretly controlling the levers of power, but that their place at the center of the financial system enabled them to hold the real economy hostage.
Here's the greatest benefit this new test offers to voters. It lets us say to politicians, once and for all, on one of the most crucial issues of our day, those words every citizen longs to say to a long-winded public servant: Put up or shut up.
In their current form, derivatives are basically government insurance for banks where taxpayers pay the claims. And politicians like Gregg and Nelson are fighting to keep the crooked $600 trillion derivatives market unreformed.