Now that Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has assured that there will be at least one Republican vote in the Senate for the conference committee report on the financial regulatory reform bill—the measure’s final Congressional test—it will be harder for Republican legislators to claim the proposal offers more evidence of the forward march of socialism in America.
But only a little harder.
Republican senators remain pretty much united in opposition to the financial regulatory reform legislation, which has passed the House in final form but still needs an OK from the upper chamber of Congress.
Why are so many GOP senators so very determined to block the bill, which cannot be debated unless sixty senators senators support a cloture vote?
What’s the problem?
Republicans say that it is not that they oppose regulating Wall Street and big banks. Rather, the argument goes, they are afraid of big government—of the "socialist" sort that might actually try to accomplish something useful, as opposed to big government of the Dick Cheney bloated defense budgets and needless wars sort.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says his caucus is fighting "to prevent the Democrats from doing from the financial services industry what they just did to the health care of this country.”
Once again, the conservative chirp goes, a modest measure must be blocked because it would put the country on the slippery slope to socialism.
South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint, the Senate watchdog for against all things social, is denouncing the bill as a "massive, ill-advised piece of legislation" that would make it harder for kids to get braces. Seriously.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann summed things up when she outlined the "case"—all right, maybe the better word is "rant"—for opposing basic consumer protections and a few minor moves aimed to avoiding more meltdowns.
“This is breathtaking in the level of power that government will have over our lives when it comes to credit,” Bachmann said of the reform bill. “It gives government the authority to decide, for instance, how much a bank teller in Peoria, Illinois, will be making going forward because a pay czar will decide what anyone in banking will be able to make.”
Never mind that socialists fought against czars.
It still sounds Soviety.
And never mind that DeMint and Bachmann are wrong, Kids will still be able to get braces, banks in Peoria will still pay tellers less than they should and the reform legislation makes no mention of czars. Indeed, to the extent that there is attention to what banks and brokers pay employees, the focus is on the CEOs that earn $1,000 an hour, not tellers who are hoping to get to $10 an hour.
McConnell, DeMint and their fellow partisans need not worry.
Legislation that does neither breaks up "too big to fail" Wall Street banks or restore the safeguards established after the Great Depression separating Main Street banks from big Wall Street firms does not even meet the standard of effective regulation.