Given how extreme the failure of Wall Street was that caused the 2008 crisis, the financial reform bill passed by Congress last year, Dodd-Frank, is pretty weak tea. It's riddled with giant loopholes, defers many of the biggest decisions to the same regulatory agencies who failed us in the first place, and, most significantly, allows the banks that needed a $4.6 trillion bailout because they were "too big to fail" to become even bigger. Dodd-Frank was largely an exercise in passing a bill for the sake of appearing to have done something. Unfortunately, Congress seem to have fooled a lot of people out there, especially those who work for popular newspapers, into believing that they have fixed the problems.Read Full Article
Back in 2009, one of the first things Congress did to actually start dealing with the causes of the economic crisis was to give the Justice Department more power to detect and prosecute fraud in the financial markets. As part of that bill, the "Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act," they created a bipartisan commission "to examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States" and laid out 22 specific areas of financial activity for them to investigate. Today, more than 20 months after the bill was signed into law, the commission has released their report.Read Full Article
The votes have really been rolling in on the financial reform bill in the Senate. So far, there have been 20 roll call votes on the bill -- 4 on ending the initial Republican filibuster of beginning the debate and 16 since on amendments. Of those 16 amendment votes, 9 have been approved and added to the bill. Additionally, six amendments have been adopted without roll calls by voice votes.
Click through to get all the info on the latest amendments adopted and what we can expect to be up for votes next.Read Full Article
One of the best ways for a corporation to affect government policy is to hire lobbyists with personal connections to the people they will be lobbying. Not surprisingly, this is one of the technique the big financial companies have been using to fight financial reform legislation. Last year, 71% of the lobbyists hired by the six biggest bank-holding companies were former government officials, the Sunlight Foundation's Paul Blumenthal reports.Read Full Article
A couple weeks ago, as Congress was debating whether or not to reauthorize the "Buy America Bonds" program that was created in the stimulus bill to help struggling state and local government borrow money more cheaply and create new jobs, Goldman Sachs ran an ad in the print edition of Politico pushing for the reauthorization to pass. That got some members of Congress thinking -- just how much taxpayer money are the big bailout banks keeping as profit from selling the bonds?Read Full Article