Make or Break Time

Back in the Clinton era, Congress and regulators shredded many of the ground rules that had been keeping our financial system working safely since the Great Depression. The people making the big money (and creating the toxic assets) set themselves and their cronies up as the "experts" and told the rest of us not to worry our pretty little heads about it.

The crash of 2008 made it painfully clear it was time to stop letting Wall Street make up the rules. Last June, Congress passed, and President Obama signed into law, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In addition to creating the much-needed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the act contains reforms that can head off future crashes. But, to put that law into action, various agencies have to write ground-level regulations and definitions.

How these rules get written can make Dodd-Frank either an effective, strong law or -- if Wall Street’s swarm of lobbyists gets its way -- a washed-out shell. "The number of people that have come in requesting to be exempt from the law, or to have the law delayed, has literally shocked me," a Commodity Futures Trading Commission official told Bloomberg News.

If the love of money is the root of all evil, let's just say the devil is trying to get into the details.

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Sojourners Magazine January 2011
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