There are more than 15 million people unemployed and almost 2 million people set to lose their homes to foreclosure this year. But there is good news: the Wall Street banks are as profitable as ever and set to give out record bonuses this year. The taxpayer bailouts worked.
Congress is now debating a financial reform bill that is supposed to prevent this sort of disaster from ever happening again. Leaders in Congress are promising us tough measures that will put an end to “too big to fail” institutions and the other implicit and explicit subsidies that allow the Wall Street crew to get incredibly wealthy at our expense.
It’s still an open question as to whether this reform effort will just be a pointless source of greenhouse gas emissions. If the goal were to fix the financial system, then the process would not be difficult. But the halls of Congress are infested with financial industry lobbyists. As a result, the bills being put forward are written like the adjustable rate subprime mortgages that helped get us into this mess. The wording often leads to bills that do the exact opposite of the stated meaning.
For example, the wording of a section of the House Financial Services committee bill that was intended to regulate derivatives trading included an “end user” exemption. This exemption would have given Enron a green light to carry on its shady dealings in over-the-counter transactions out of sight of any regulators.
[Read more at Alternet]