Obama on Financial Reform


President Obama’s big speech on financial reform is here. After hearing it, I don’t feel so bad about being unable to make the subject fascinating. If even Obama can’t make it sound interesting, what chance do I have? Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

First, the bill being considered in the Senate would create what we did not have before: a way to protect the financial system, the broader economy, and American taxpayers in the event that a large financial firm begins to fail….Second, reform would bring new transparency to many financial markets….Third, this plan would enact the strongest consumer financial protections ever.

So: resolution authority, derivatives clearing, and the CFPA. All good stuff. Important stuff. Better than nothing. But in the great battle between those who want to bust up the big banks and those (like me) who want to implement serious, wide ranging limits on leverage — well, guess what? We’re both losers. Structurally, Wall Street just isn’t going to change much after all this stuff is passed.

WE DON'T KNOW

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