Thursday night's passage of Wall Street reform is an event to be celebrated, but several key issues remain in play as the House and Senate iron out differences between their respective versions of the legislation.
For four decades Wall Street had its way with American government. The big Wall Street banks and their economic apologists dominated the main stream of economic thought. Last night their domination came to a screeching halt.
Would we today have laws on drug safety, auto safety, campaign finance ceilings without Sherri Finkbein, GM's detective tailing Ralph Nader, Watergate and Goldman Sachs? Are scandals to Congress what oxygen is to life?
Inside this closed culture, the ideals of the free market are repeatedly espoused, but not upheld. Derivatives, the exotic contraptions that enrich the banking business, have flourished in the shadows, not in the open marketplace.