Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Financial Reform Update

Cloture vote at 2 p.m. today, which would start the 30-hour clock, and put the final vote on financial reform at 8 p.m. tomorrow. Yes, I think Reid has the votes on cloture. I know Dorgan, Levin, and Cantwell have suggested that they won’t vote for cloture unless they get a vote on their respective amendments, but when it comes down to it, I don’t think they’ll have the stomach to vote against cloture on Wall Street reform. (Or, more accurately, I don’t think they’ll have the stomach to be the deciding vote against cloture on Wall Street reform.) I think Reid is calling their bluff. We’ll know at 2 p.m. today though.

Dodd offered a compromise at the last minute on Blanche Lincoln’s disastrous Sec. 716, which would require regulators to study whether banks should be forced to spin-off their swaps desks, and then essentially make a recommendation to the Treasury Secretary. The banks are not at all happy with Dodd’s compromise though. Personally, I think they’re being ridiculous — this is the legislative equivalent of striking the language entirely.

The Republicans will probably offer a second-order amendment to Dodd’s compromise, which will weaken it even further, and that will probably be enough to get some Republicans on board. I know some so-called “reformers” will probably portray this as a huge loss for progressives. It’s really not. It doesn’t make the bill “less progressive,” it makes the bill “less ridiculous.”

As to all the Merkley-Levin nonsense, I’m obviously not upset that it failed. It was a bad amendment, and Wall Street would have eviscerated it without even breaking a sweat. (And memo to Merkey’s office: if you think you were just respecting the principle of “international comity,” then you got rolled by the banks’ lobbyists. You were not.)

It’ll be interesting to see if Merkley and Levin try to bring up their amendment post-cloture. To do so — that is, to prove the germaneness of their amendment — they would essentially have to admit that there’s already a Volcker Rule in the Dodd bill, which is something they’ve gone to great lengths to obscure to the press.

15 comments:

spud tooley said...

this is a very complex topic - for me, anyway - which i've been trying to find some reasonable analysis and presentation of. i'm especially interested in the volcker rule, because i have not found a version with any teeth in the dodd bill. my readings of the federal reserve and of johnson's '13 bankers' make it clear - again, to me - that a few things are needed: a) limits on bank size, b) real separation of investment banking vs commercial banking, and c) a real derivatives market with end of day sweeps.

i'd be interested in your thoughts - if you can point me to other links here in eoc, that would be appreciated.

i am a very educated and intelligent man, so the technical depth of things won't deter me. however, i have grown very cynical in the last few of my fifty years, and almost wonder if there's any way to find objective, reasoned analyses of any of the country's serious issues. i put financial reform and campaign finance reform as the top two items in any issues list; without these, everything else is - again, to me - pissing in the wind. i am not a tea-partier, primarily because i believe most of their solutions are extremely short-sighted and self-serving, two characteristics which appear to me to be at the root of a lot of our ills.

i just found your blog yesterday. i'm looking forward to reading your future posts.

thanks.

mike rucker
fairburn, ga

JCH said...

Other than locking in inefficiency, how does limiting bank size accomplish anything discernible? IMO, final answer - it doesn't.

Maybe two years of study would prove me wrong, but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

again, if you cheap D3 Goldask me * pissing within the wind. that's not me any tea-partier, mainly because i really believe the majority of their options are extremely short-sighted in addition to self-serving, a pair of qualities which
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