Remarkably enough, bearing in mind the size of the bill (call it 2,300 pages) and the inordinate amount of time needed to pass it, the financial reform that the Senate sent to the president’s desk on Thursday is only one more marker on a long and winding road.
The bill leaves multiple regulators with wide discretion across a range of critical issues. The argument over precisely what the new rules will be is barely getting started. Some of the most important questions — such as the amount of capital financial firms will have to set aside — are scarcely even addressed. Again and again, the bill calls for studies to be undertaken. No matter how these open issues are resolved, unintended consequences will come thick and fast. The whole thing is unfinished work with a vengeance. Nonetheless, better this than nothing.