Once again, it seems a major piece of federal legislation is being driven by lobbyists and the election calendar. Yes, I know that Chris Dodd isn’t running for reelection. But there is an election coming in November, in which many of his Democratic colleagues will be running for reelection, and knowing politicians, you can bet they don’t want to go into the so-called election season with either financial reform or healthcare reform hanging over their heads. Or even fresh in the electorate’s mindset, for that matter.
Dodd, chairman of the Senate banking committee, plans to introduce a bill Monday on financial reform, with or without Republican support, which means without. That will set up another big, party-line fight. And given how tight the balance of power is in the Senate, that means Congress is running the very serious risk of getting nothing done (which certainly would suit some parties just fine.)
The worst thing would be a bill that is so watered down in order to reach a bipartisan agreement that it’s effectively useless. In that case, you’d have to wonder who benefits the most. Do I really need to answer that question for you?
From the FT:
In a setback for Democrats’ hopes of signing both healthcare reform and an overhaul of financial regulation into law within weeks, the Republican members of the banking committee wrote to Mr Dodd on Friday evening. They expressed “concern that your proposed timetable will not allow members sufficient time to fully understand the details of your new legislative proposals.”
They of course have a point, but not having read a bill has never stopped a Congressman from voting on it, if it pleased their moneyed interests. The Journal wrote this week, and I agree with them, that no bill is better than a bad bill, and I fear that a bill rushed by the election season and heavily influenced by lobbyists is likely to be a bad bill.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not worried about a bad bill hurting business for the banks. Those are some sharp little folks running those banks, and they’ll figure out a way around those rules in about six seconds flat. No what worries me is that the bill won’t do enough to protect us from them.
Every major financial reform of the past decade-plus has proven in the breach to have been a major debacle, realizing that was a multi-trillion dollar lesson for this country, and I can’t see why all of them shouldn’t be scuttled. And another thing, why do we even have a Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission if it’s not going to present its finding until almost a year after the reform bill’s already signed into law? What’s the point of that? What exactly is going on here?