In theory, financial reform should dismantle the same deregulated system that produced toxic credit-default swaps and toxic credit cards. But on every aspect of financial reform except perhaps for basic consumer protection, the necessary structural reforms won't be passed in 2010. If the greatest financial-market meltdown in history couldn't spur deep, structural reform, what will?
The battle-within-a-battle for consumer protection offers some clues. A new federal regulator dedicated solely to keeping unfair and deceptive financial products out of Americans' hands was what the advocacy community wanted and, more or less, got. What advocates didn't get has filled the pages of this special report.