In the debate between those who believe in essentially unregulated markets and others who hold that reasonable regulation diminishes market excesses without inhibiting their basic function, the subprime situation unfortunately provides ammunition for the latter view.
I was watching, for about 45 minutes or so, from about 8:15, the House – Senate conference committee on Financial Regulations bill negotiations on C-span 2. Lively, yet somewhat confusing is about the best way to put it. I, usually fairly adept at following such negotiations, where bills are negotiated and put together for final vote before being brought before the president to sign, am having some major issues with exactly pinning down what the hell is happening. I for one am thinking this is happening for two reasons. One I jumped in and started watching mid way through the proceedings and two, things really are a hairy mess on the floor of the Dirksen building tonight.
The Kanjorski amendment passed the conference vote, which strengthens the hand of regulators to break up big banks when things get bad. The Volcker rule looks to be here to stay, passing before I turned on C-Span2.
The Volcker rule, or the senate variation of it, the Merkley – Levin Amendment was weakened somewhat though, I am guessing that Sen. Dodd saw too much resistance, one presumes. Dodd’s latest twist on the Volcker rule is that, rather than stopping banks from investing in hedge funds completely, now says that up to 3% of a banks “tangible common equity” would be able to be invested in hedge funds and the like.
It has yet to pass, even though more than two hours have passed since I started watching this. But they needed a recess, as did I. They are now discussing it with Sen. Jack Reed and Sen. Chuck Schumer taking the lead for the moment on the floor of the conference.
Three percent is exactly three percent too much for my liking, but if that is the best we can get now, then that is the best we can do.
Addendum: added at 11:57 pm 6/24. I was incorrect about the Kanjorski amendment, or perhaps there were several amendments with his name on them. I just watched a kanjorski amendment get defeated in conference.
In other political news, there is some good news out there for those who want to see, EFCA, aka card check pass. Sen. Tom Harkin yesterday hinted that card check could be moved in congress after the elections in November, in a lame duck session of congress.
The bill clearly wont be the most robust bill that some unions and pro-union people want, but the card check is far from dead. He spoke on the Bill Press radio program and said that the bill is “Far from dead” and spoke about the bill publicly last week in a speech to UAW workers.
Good news, any news that makes it possible for people working to make for themselves a better life by unionizing is good news.
Viddy of the day:
A quick aside. I am out of work again. I was laid off two days ago.
Being out of work sucks. I listen to the talk of Republicans like the ones here mentioned on Rachel Maddow today, and makes me really just want to punch these idiots in the face. I am a man who takes pride in working, and it hurts and bothers me to not have a job. I want to work. I don’t need to be insulted by these buffoons. These assholes can kiss my ass, every single last one of them.
It’s gonna be a long night, and I am going to watch what I can when I can of the Senate conference committee. There are other things going on in the world besides politics, and I won’t hog the television.
Lincoln’s appeal to “the better angels of our nature” failed to avert a fratricidal war. But the compassionate wisdom of Lincoln’s first and second inaugurals bequeathed to the Union, cemented with blood, a moral heritage which, when drawn upon in times of stress and strife, is sure to find specific ways and means to surmount difficulties that may appear to be insurmountable.
Justice Felix Frankfurter
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