politico.com — Banks or families? For almost a year, the big banks and the American Bankers Association have presented that choice to Congress. Lobbyists argue that meaningful consumer protection will jeopardize the safety and soundness of banks, telling lawmakers that they must decide between the two. While American families have made clear that they overwhelmingly support the reforms that a new consumer financial protection agency will produce — like clear, understandable terms and conditions for consumer credit products and accountability for the big banks — the lobbyists have made equally clear their plan to kill the agency.
What secrets are hidden in the Federal Reserve's trillion-dollar shadow? Economic recovery depends on confidence, and confidence requires knowledge. But senators like Chris Dodd and Judd Gregg don't want us to have that knowledge. They don't even want it themselves. more »
nytimes.com — The only question is whether we’re going to regulate bankers so that they don’t abuse the privilege of government backing. And it’s that regulation — not future bailouts — that reform opponents are trying to block. So it’s the punks versus the plutocrats — those who want to rein in runaway banks, and bankers who want the freedom to put the economy at risk, freedom enhanced by the knowledge that taxpayers will bail them out in a crisis. Whatever they say, the fact is that people like Sen. Richard Shelby are on the side of the plutocrats; the American people should be on the side of the punks, who are trying to protect their interests.
prospect.org — Apologies are cheap. But the banks fear genuine financial reform would cost them a bundle. So even as Wall Street sheds crocodile tears about the terrible things it's done, it is throwing money at Capitol Hill to thwart reforms that would prevent it from continuing to do terrible things. The political payoffs seem to be working. Proposed legislation from Treasury and the House has loopholes big enough to allow bankers to drive their Ferraris through them. Before you wallow in hopeless cynicism, though, it's worth noting that we already have a law against this. It's called the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. It just needs to be enforced.
Just when you thought you'd had enough of Goldman Sachs running things -- and running them into the ground -- along comes Meg Whitman. Most Californians know she's using her fortune to run for governor. They probably don't know that she was once on the board of Goldman Sachs, and most likely still would be if she hadn't been cited for a practice one law firm describes as "essentially ... an illegal bribe ... to corporate leaders." Then came the Congressional investigation, and the investor lawsuit, and ... well, it was probably best to just leave the board. more »
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner delivered a populist stemwinder of a speech the other day, bringing his rhetorical A-game with comments like these: "Listen less to those whose judgments brought us this crisis. more »
The coalition of six Democratic senators who urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to back student loan industry profits two weeks ago has splintered in a strong sign of a coming victory for students. more »
nytimes.com — If President Obama draws no other lesson from health care reform, it is that his early and forceful personal engagement on big issues is indispensable. Mr. Obama’s victory celebration had barely ended before people were asking, “Now what?” First and foremost is the economy, specifically the creation of jobs. He will also have to take the lead in improving the financial regulatory bills moving through Congress. President Obama has promised to reform the country’s education system, and to address climate change and oil dependency by transforming the way Americans produce and use energy. These are lofty objectives, and Mr. Obama may not reach them all. But the health care victory shows that big goals can be achieved — with Mr. Obama’s personal intervention and sustained leadership.
prospect.org — If Democrats want to replicate their health-care success, the best strategy for strong reform is to bring a tough bill to the floor and dare Republicans to filibuster it. I find it hard to believe that moderate Republicans will join their party to oppose a package of essentially commonsense regulations in the name of partisanship. On financial reform — to say nothing of the rest of their agenda — Democrats must act together, with discipline and confidence, as they did over the weekend. After watching the Republican reaction to health care's passage, it is time to cast aside any illusions that another path to success exists.
Score one for Wall Street. The student loan industry has convinced Senator Blanche Lincoln to vote against the healthcare reconciliation bill on the grounds that it contains "matters unrelated to healthcare" -- code for student loan reform, as David Dayen notes. more »