Washington’s passage of financial regulation last week served as a perfect reminder of so much that is wrong with DC.
Despite moderate legislation (I would say “watered down”), financial regulation only passed along essentially party lines. With elections having become endless year-round campaigns, we are left with a process where all legislation is examined only for political gain/loss and not policy implications. All of us, democrats and republicans alike, lose as a result.
Here in the 2nd District we have a front row seat to this disappointment. When Wall Street needed help, Congresswoman Schmidt was there to vote in favor of their bailout. However when the time came to vote to pass some basic, common-sense measures to ensure that taxpayers were not once again holding the bag for Wall Street’s excessive risktaking, Congresswoman Schmidt voted no. She has chosen to side with the interests of Wall Street bankers over those of her constituents.
All of this goes back to a climate in Washington that values winning elections and the preservation of power above all else. Preying on this, special interest groups are all too eager to step into the void with large checks to help their handpicked candidates win elections. So it is no surprise that groups like Wall Street get to write their own legislation and get hundreds of billion dollars in help when they need it. They have purchased the best representatives that money can buy.
Back to the financial regulation legislation– I don’t believe the present version of the bills go far enough. Sen. Sherrod Brown has proposed an amendment, Brown-Kaufman, which would be an excellent step to cap the size and leverage of the biggest banks. If we wish to ensure we don’t have a repeat of 2008′s disastrous events we must make “too big to fail, too big to exist.” So far this amendment has faced massive opposition from the army of lobbyists in Washington and their allies in Congress.
This is a great article on what’s going on behind the scenes of financial regulation. Great read.