It seems at times that Americans have the collective memory of a gnat. We can remember how to work our iPods and how to start our cars, but not much else. Just a few months ago, health-care reform was dead. The Democrats went out of their way to try and appease Senator Susan Collins (Republican — Maine). The Democrats danced and tried to sing in tune in order to woo Susan Collins. (Was she the football of bipartisanship or was she Lucy?) I know the Democrats are Charlie Brown in this analogy. Every time the Dems got close to some sort of agreement on health care reform, Susan Collins would say she was not satisfied (and pull the football away so that the Dems would land flat on our backs) . This went on for weeks. The Dems finally wised up and passed Healthcare Reform without Senator Collins.
Now we have financial reform. Wall Street is showing very nice and healthy profits with the money that we’ve infused into these huge corporations. As far as I can tell, nothing has changed. The conditions that caused the meltdown have not been fixed. There are still subprime mortgages. There are still mortgage derivatives. There are still mortgage-based credit default swaps and credit debt obligations (CDOs). All the ingredients are still there to make wildly insane profits based on unsustainable formulas. So to remedy the problem on Wall Street, Senator Chris Dodd has introduced a bill which has been passed by the Senate Finance Committee. The vote, of course, was extremely partisan. The Republicans are saying exactly the same thing about this bill that they said about health-care reform. They’re stating that reform is needed. They’re stating that they support reform but oppose this bill. A letter from the Senate Republicans has been drafted to the Democratic Senate leadership. 40 Republican senators have signed the letter… but not Susan Collins. She is the lone holdout. She stated that she wants reform and is still open to negotiation. Does this sound familiar?
The Republicans are not pleased that they lost the last battle. I suspect that they will dig in and stand up against anything that the Dems propose for financial reform. They will attack Democrats on multiple different levels. They will claim that the bill supports the big banks. They will claim that there is too much regulation in the bill which will stifle innovation, profits and job growth. We’ve heard all this before. We do need better and smarter regulation. We do need appropriate regulation in order to prevent another meltdown. I think when we look back from 1945 through 1980, we have to ask ourselves why weren’t there meltdowns during this time period? The answer is simple. Regulations separated banks from other types of financial institutions. Regulations dictated that financial institutions had to have a certain amount of capital to balance out their debt obligations. Finally, during this time period, we never had banks that were “too big to fail.”
Democrats need to look to the past in order to give Americans a better future. We need not change anything to please Susan Collins. She has proven before that the cost of her vote is too high. The Dems need to let the dream of kicking that football go. Democrats need to do what’s right for the American people. That is all that I ask.