Rolling Stone examines the legislative process that produced the financial reform that the Obama administration is so proud of.
“The bill Congress just passed doesn't go after the criminals where they live, or even make what they're doing a crime; all it does is put a baseball bat under the bed and add an extra lock or two on the doors. It's a hack job, a C-minus effort. See you at the next financial crisis.”It’s not a C-minus effort. Congress didn’t pass meaningful reform because they weren’t trying to pass meaningful reform. They were trying to pass some bullshit that looked like reform to a public that doesn’t really understand what’s going on and is barely paying attention anyway. They accomplished what they set out to do.
The law does exactly what it is designed to do: It causes no serious threat to the profits of our representatives' biggest financial sponsors, and it gave Democrats something, anything, they can take back to the voters and say, "Look, we reined in Wall Street, we passed financial reform!" In that regard, it's no different than George Bush's Medicare "reform" -- it improves nothing, but allows for lots of self-congratulation.
Of course, it also gives Republicans something they can point to were they to argue that "Democrat" leadership is ineffective. And they'd be right. But, for Republicans, even this Band-Aid on a bullet wound is too much fettering of financial markets. Rather than argue -- correctly -- that this law will do nothing to prevent future financial meltdowns that taxpayers will have to clean up, the GOP will argue that this Marxist-style takeover of our uniquely American free-enterprise system must be repealed, along with healthcare reform, Social Security and, perhaps, the right to vote and own property.
I had a post label that I used for so many Bush-era efforts, "It Just Looks Like Results," that I used when describing the many, many photo-ops and half-assed efforts that replaced actual governing in this country from 2001-2008. Looks like it's time to dust off that label, because the change we were promised during the campaign just ain't coming. Sure, the Obama administration is light years better than the alternative that Republicans half-heartedly threw out there ("OK, the election is unwinnable but, hey, we gotta run somebody, and we're not about to waste a real candidate" [think Bob Dole in 1996 and Lynn Swann's running for the PA governor's seat in 2006]), but the real power in this country doesn't change every four years or even every eight years. It's an entrenched aristocracy whose only interest is maintaining its wealth and power. And it never faces re-election. If Obama were the threat to the status quo that he appeared to be during the campaign, he never would have gotten out of the primaries. Ask Hillary Clinton and John Edwards how the media covered their candidacy.
If you still think real change is possible working within the system, click the link above and see what the system did to the financial reform bill.