The Obama administration’s proposals for US financial regulation are pretty good, as far as they go. The problem is they do not go far enough.
Great care and intelligence went into the plan announced last week. It makes no stupid suggestions; recall Sarbanes-Oxley, a recent instance of unguided regulatory backlash, and you see this is no small achievement. But the plan’s comprehensiveness is a bit of an illusion. It ignores many issues, and has more loose ends and suggestions for further review than actual innovations.
Also, as in other areas, the White House is unwilling to confront the political barriers to fuller reform. You can call this pragmatism, or you can call it timidity. A crisis of this order demands big new ideas, and the leadership to push them through. In finance, if not now, when?
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