Not that easy. Matt also disagrees with Ezra's contention that the politics will line up on the side of the reformers. If you've been following the debate in the House, you'll see complete opposition from Republicans, as well as the banks and the regulators -- the GOP literally want to change nothing. The Senate has different politics that arguably make for a stronger bill -- the House Financial Services Committee is home to a lot of new Dems and freshmen who are there mainly for the fundraising, while the smaller Senate Banking Committee, though it has its moderates, has more willingness to make serious changes and more skeptical of the Fed -- but even in the upper chamber Republicans are still uncommitted to much of the broad regulatory reform agenda, and Chris Dodd's bill is harsher on regulators than the House version, so there could be more pushback from them. They've already started their by-now ritual calls for more "time" to "talk" about issues that have been under discussion for months.
Ezra is right that, unlike health care reform, where Republicans have made it their mission to try and kill the bill outright, regulatory reform is not something they feel they can oppose directly as a package -- the question is what the final product looks like. Whether it passes with or without the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, for instance, which Republicans are set on destroying, or whether derivatives reform or capital requirements are meaningful -- look for a forthcoming story on that front in the next issue of the Prospect. But even if there is consensus on restrictions on the Fed, regulatory reform will be incomplete without other, more controversial measures. Because financial regulatory reform has so many moving parts, reformers will have to keep a very close eye on each section to make sure reform actually means something. Even worse, if the final bill turns out to be weakened to the point where progressives want to kill it and start again -- not an impossible outcome -- it will be challenging for them to fight against what Republicans and conservative Dems call "reform."
-- Tim Fernholz
You need to be logged in to comment.
(If there's one thing we know about comment trolls, it's that they're lazy)