Sunday, June 27, 2010

Financial Reform Moves Forward.

Financial reform legislation passed a crucial hurdle this week, after the House and Senate conferees agreed on a reconciled bill.  Maybe it's fun to argue about who won and who lost, and whether the bill goes too far or doesn't go far enough.  Maybe it's also appropriate to look for people to blame for whatever failings people might find in the bill.  But to me those kinds of arguments seem a little beside the point.   Legislation takes the form it does because it emerges out of a messy and nasty process called the United States Congress.  Congress includes a wide range of views, and all of its members get to vote.  Critics of whatever legislation Congress passes never seem to feel the need to explain how they would have gotten a better bill through the Congress.

From what I understand of this bill (basically what I read in the papers), we will now start to regulate some things that were not regulated before.  But the scope of those regulations will not be known for some time, since regulation has just been empowered but not drafted.  The bill will also consolidate consumer protections in a single agency.  Will it prevent another financial crisis?  Nobody knows.  Will it at least attempt to curb some of the excesses that led to the last financial crisis?  Well, that was the whole point of the effort, wasn't it?  I think we should applaud the effort, and look forward to this Congress chalking up another significant achievement.  We can always tinker with these reforms further down the line.

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