As I've written previously, The Nation is a community defined by spirited--often fractious--debate. But when it comes to what we'retaking away from the Democratic loss in Massachusetts, it's safe to say there is a consensus of sorts emerging: moving forward, Democrats need to show they are on the side of working people every step of the way.
As I’ve written previously, The Nation is a community defined byspirited–often fractious–debate. But when it comes to what we’retaking away from the Democratic loss in Massachusetts, it’s safe to saythere is a consensus of sorts emerging: moving forward, Democrats need to show they are on the side of working people every step of the way. (Read Greider, Nichols, and me.)
The Obama Administration’s proposed bank tax was a start, though it should be larger and also extend to a windfall tax on excessive bonuses. But raising $117 billion from the Too Big To Fail financial institutions which brought us this economic meltdown is a good and smart step down the populist path Democrats should have stayed true to post-2008.
And today, a bolder proposal from the Administration–much overdue–to limit the size of banks and their ability to take people’s deposits and engage in casino-like investment banking. The New York Timesreports that the regulation targets the Big Five–Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs. There are indications this is a move towards restoring the kind of protective firewalls enacted through Glass-Steagall following the Great Depression.
The Administration will have to prove that it is truly ready to fight for these reforms–not go all timid on us as it did with the public option and financial reform to this point. And other critical financial reforms must also be pushed–reforms that will not only resonate with voters but also prevent a repeat of this economic crash–beginning with a robust Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
By all accounts the CFPA is on the chopping block in the Senate financial reform bill. As I draft this, the Chamber of Commerce is on the Hill with its army of lobbyists, convincing so-called "moderates" that the American people don’t need an agency devoted to protecting us from complex, toxic financial instruments; that somehow the regulators and the TBTF institutions (which are now even bigger than they were pre-meltdown) have learned the lessons they need to learn, all is healed, all will be well.