The real scandal isn't the Street's unlawful acts (i.e., Securities and Exchange Commission vs. Goldman Sachs) but legal acts that have reaped the Street a bonanza and nearly sunk the rest of us.
It's good we finally have an SEC on which three out of five commissioners are willing to enforce laws already on the books. Hopefully other enforcement agencies (CFTC, FDIC, and the Fed) will follow suit. But we also need to make illegal the recklessness that's now legal.
The Dodd bill now being considered in the Senate is a step in the right direction. Yet despite the hype, it's a very modest step. It leaves out three of the most important things necessary to prevent a repeat of the Wall Street meltdown:
- Require that trading of all derivatives be done on open exchanges where parties have to disclose what they're buying and selling and have enough capital to pay up if their bets go wrong. The exception in the current bill for so-called "unique" derivatives opens up a loophole big enough for bankers to drive their Ferrari's through.
Wall Street doesn't want these three major reforms because they'd cut deeply into profits, and it's using its formidable lobbying clout with both parties to prevent these reforms from even from surfacing. It's time for Main Street -- Tea Partiers, Coffee partiers, and beer drinkers -- to be heard.
Cross-posted from RobertReich.org
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