Who's Killing Financial Reform?

Sen. Chris Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chair, scolded Wall Street representatives at a hearing Thursday for sending “an army of lobbyists whose only mission is to kill the commonsense financial reforms” needed by the public.

“The fact is,” Dodd said, “I am frustrated, and so are the American people.” He charged that Wall Street’s intransigence was the reason for Congress’ failure to pass any bill to regulate the Street. “The refusal of large financial firms to work constructively with Congress on this effort borders on insulting to the American people who have lost so much in this crisis.”

In other words, it isn’t Congress’s fault. It isn’t the Senate Banking Committee’s fault. It certainly isn’t Dodd’s fault. The reason more than a year has passed since the biggest bailout in the history of the world and nothing has been done to prevent a repeat performance -- even as the biggest banks are doling out more than $30 billion of bonuses, even as Goldman Sachs is awarding its big traders $16 billion in bonuses (more than the $13 billion Goldman collected from taxpayers via the bailout of AIG), even as AIG itself is handing out bonuses -- the reason is … what, exactly, Senator? Because the Street has sent an army of lobbyists to Capitol Hill?

Call me old fashioned, but I thought Congress was in charge of passing legislation, not Wall Street.

Dodd left out the most telling detail, of course. Wall Street is where the campaign money is. Dodd of all people knows that. He’s been on the receiving end of lots of it over the years.

More after the jump.

--Robert Reich

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