Picking Over the Financial Reform Corpse


Matt Taibbi has written an autopsy report on the lack of real financial reform and how it happened. In Wall Street's Big Win, Taibbi first sums up what happened in the last decade:

The huge profits that Wall Street earned in the past decade were driven in large part by a single, far-reaching scheme, one in which bankers, home lenders and other players exploited loopholes in the system to magically transform subprime home borrowers into AAA investments, sell them off to unsuspecting pension funds and foreign trade unions and other suckers, then multiply their score by leveraging their phony-baloney deals over and over. It was pure ­financial alchemy – turning ­manure into gold, then spinning it Rumpelstiltskin-style into vast profits using complex, mostly unregulated new instruments that almost no one outside of a few experts in the field really understood. With the government borrowing mountains of Chinese and Saudi cash to fight two crazy wars, and the domestic manufacturing base mostly vanished overseas, this massive fraud for all intents and purposes was the American economy in the 2000s; we were a nation subsisting on an elaborate check-­bouncing scheme.

Many of us contend the dot con bust, 9/11 fueled, offshore outsourcing 2001 recession never really recovered. It was masked by the glorified ponzi scheme described above.

Taibb's piece then goes through the never ending back door lobbyists stabs, naming names and shows how the Obama administration and Democrats gutted financial reform per the demands of their lobbyist masters. The GOP gutting financial reform is a foregone conclusion.

In the end, since nothing was done, one might place bets on when, not if, the next financial crisis is going to happen.

Without the Volcker rule and the ­Lincoln rule, the final version of finance reform is like treating the opportunistic symptoms of AIDS without taking on the virus itself. In a sense, the failure of Congress to treat the disease is a tacit admission that it has no strategy for our economy going forward that doesn't involve continually inflating and reinflating speculative bubbles. Which sucks, because what happened to our economy over the past three years, and is still happening to it now, was not an accident or an oversight, but a sweeping crime wave unleashed by a financial industry gone completely over to the dark side. The bill Congress just passed doesn't go after the criminals where they live, or even make what they're doing a crime; all it does is put a baseball bat under the bed and add an extra lock or two on the doors. It's a hack job, a C-minus effort. See you at the next financial crisis.

Jeff Merkely is still fighting, writing letters trying to get regulators to interpret their much eviscerated amendment as strongly as possible.

Maplight has a study, breaking down campaign contributions by corporate lobbyists, special interests....to financial reform votes.

Remember how Warren Buffet defended derivatives? His company Berkshire Hathaway just lost, a -40% drop in Q2 profits due to derivatives contracts.

In the latest, we have a demand for a Congressional probe that Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac pushed home owners into HAMP simply to obtain government subsidies.

The top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee called on Friday for an investigation into charges that mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae pushed borrowers into a mortgage aid program so it could receive incentive payments from the U.S. government.

Spencer Bachus, the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, asked panel chairman Barney Frank to hold a hearing to investigate allegations made in a lawsuit filed in June by former Fannie Mae consultant Caroline Herron.

The Center for Public Integrity, a government watchdog group, disclosed the lawsuit on Friday. In it, Herron said she was fired in January after she raised questions about delays and missteps in President Barack Obama's $50 billion Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

Elizabeth Warren, while extremely popular to head the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, is clearly being thwarted by Democrats and the Obama administration. In the latest we have Senator Chris Dodd claiming:

Senator Christopher Dodd warned that a decision to nominate Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren to head a new consumer agency could produce a protracted confirmation fight.

“What you don’t need to have is an eight-month battle for who the director or the head or chairperson of this new consumer financial protection bureau will be,” Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat and chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff,” to be broadcast today.

While Warren is a “good candidate,” some senators have suggested they won’t vote for her, said Dodd, who helped write the legislation that creates the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection at the Federal Reserve to police banks for credit- card and mortgage lending abuses.

Our economy is a crime scene and while we can dig into the forensics, gather evidence, actually obtaining justice for the American people and the nation looks increasingly as a bleak long lost American pipe dream.