It turns out that Americans — at least 80% of them — have been paying attention:

“Americans harbor doubts that a financial-regulation bill about to be passed by Congress will do what President Barack Obama says it will: help avoid another crisis and make their finances safer.

Almost four out of five Americans surveyed in a Bloomberg National Poll this month say they have just a little or no confidence that the measure being championed by congressional Democrats will prevent or significantly soften a future crisis. More than three-quarters say they don’t have much or any confidence the proposal will make their savings and financial assets more secure.

A plurality — 47 percent — says the bill will do more to protect the financial industry than consumers; 38 percent say consumers would benefit more.”

This is politically troubling for the two dominant parties: It is bad for Democrats, who are seen as bumbling and incompetent. Despite having bigger majorities in both Houses than George W. Bush did, they were unable to pass substantial legislation without having it substantially watered down by lobbyists. But it may be worse for the GOP, who are seen as married to an intellectually bankrupt ideology, steadfast opponents of all reform, and way too cozy with Wall Street.

The unsurprising datapoint in the Bloomberg poll is that Americans favor stronger regulation by a 3-to-1 margin.

“While skeptical about the bill’s benefits, Americans don’t want a return to the days before the financial markets suffered their biggest turmoil since the Great Depression: A plurality of respondents says they have become more supportive in recent months of tougher regulations. By a three-to-one margin, Americans have grown more favorable to stronger regulation rather than less. Even Republicans have become more inclined to stricter oversight.”

The only ones surprised by that are the dolts in Congress. If ever there was a window for a third party, it would be now . . .


Wall Street Fix Seen Ineffectual by Four out of Five in U.S.
Rich Miller
Bloomberg, July 14 2010

Category: Bailouts, Politics, Regulation

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

38 Responses to “Four out of Five See Financial Reforms as Ineffectual”

  1. Mike in Nola says:

    But politics costs lots of money. And guess who has it all?

  2. krice2001 says:

    As always Barry, I like what you say. A 3rd party make things interesting but we’re not even hearing about one. I don’t think the tea party counts as one. One of the problems with 3rd parties is that they usually siphon off enough votes from one of the other major parties to throw the election to other major party – an unintended consequience.

    It’s clear the frustration of the public is high – though that’s to be expected during such a large economic crisis. One wonders whether an improved economy might make everyone quickly forget what they were so angry about. I think we’ve seen that before.

    Anyway… polls show Republicans standing to gain ground in the House and Senate in the mid-terms- yet their approval numbers are even lower than the Democrats. People clearly don’t know where to turn so they’re looking for some change, again ,though it’s not with apparently much faith. Maybe people are paying attention and realize they’re probably screwed either way.

    Though the tea party has taken all the attention of late, there is seemingly just as much anger on the left. No one is particularly happy right now. How much of that is “just” anxiousness that occurs during severe economic times and how much is actual long lasting energy remains to be seen. So far the monied interests have easily overwhelmed the frustration of the populace.

  3. Don’t minority partied always gain during mid terms?

    What might be interesting would be to compare the 2010 GOP gains vs prior mid terms.

    That might where we can get some insight into a 3rd party.

  4. wally says:

    “…they were unable to pass substantial legislation without having it substantially watered down by lobbyists”

    Unable? No: unwilling. That’s even worse.

  5. wally says:

    To be less picky and more to the point: the evidence seems to be mounting at this point that what we are now in is indeed a recovery, but a choppy and tenuous one. We may or may not have much of a second half slowdown.
    Underpinning that is the fact that we enter the recovery and the next cycle without having fixed much. When things get a bit stronger they are likely to zoom to excess once again.
    We are likely to boom and bust again, it seems to me.

  6. dead hobo says:

    Look at it from the other side. 4 out of 5, and maybe more, financial executives see financial reform as a masterful success. Their way of life is secure and positioned to remain prosperous. Only the lowest part of the food chain in their industry needs to reorient themselves. For the rest, bonus pay is secure. It’s a good life.

  7. sal says:

    This discrepancy between public opinion and legislation that can pass the Senate is hardly surprising. About 20 states (40 senators) make up about 75% of the voting population (according to Wikipedia). Other than Texas (about 8% of the total), most of these 20 states are representated by Democratic senators which are voting as a bloc. The result is that to get the required 60 votes requires the agreement of some fraction of the remaining 25% (i.e. the 1 non-supporter in the 3 to 1).

    Given these numbers, it amazing the Senate can accomplish anything at all when over 50% of the senators represent less than a quarter of the population — further aggravated by the 60 vote minimum for cloture.

  8. lalaland says:

    So the same people who think Africa is a country and can’t find Europe on a map are experts on regulatory reform? please…

  9. b_thunder says:

    BR wrote:
    “It is bad for Democrats, who are seen as bumbling and incompetent. Despite having bigger majorities in both Houses than George W. Bush did, they were unable to pass substantial legislation without having it substantially watered down by lobbyists.”

    Yes, lobbyists played their role. But I question whether or not the Democratic Wing of THE PARTY **really** wanted to pass anything more restrictive than what they have, and if blaming it all on lobbyists is just an excuse. Are you convinced that Dodd, Frank, and especially “lawmakers” like Schumer were pushing for anything close in its impact to the original Glass-Steagall? Well, I’m convinced in the exact opposite.

    I suppose there was a time when they could enact any kind of garbage into a law, call it a great victory of “the people,” pound themselves on the chest during the campaign and get reelected. Thankfully people have become more educated (in large part thanks to the people like Barry and their blogs!) and those people can now “smell a rat” when there is one. Two years ago people “smelled a rat” with TARP, AIG, and “the subprime is contained” stuff, and they send the GOP wing of The Party packing. This year even more people smell the rat – the Democratic wing will be sent packing. Every November the banking sector whores (from both Dem and GOP wings of The Party) must be sent back to their whorehouse on 200 West St (used to be 85 Broad)

  10. dead hobo says:

    wally Says:
    July 14th, 2010 at 8:46 am

    To be less picky and more to the point: the evidence seems to be mounting at this point that what we are now in is indeed a recovery, but a choppy and tenuous one. We may or may not have much of a second half slowdown.

    Wally, please don’t take this personally but nobody gives a crap about the economy providing the stock market remains properly supported. The stock market IS the economy. Everything else is just something the hand wringers whine about. If you plan your trips properly, you don’t have to see ‘regular people’ in their native habitat.

    The headlines usually do a good enough job telling you if a story has relevance to your life so you can avoid reading about people unlike yourself. CNBC spends a lot of time on happy talk news so you can hear the proper perspective on many subjects. I suspect we will see weeks of uplifting stories of rising profits and expectations being beaten and smashed to bits. Huzzah!

    Our government servants are doing a fine job in supporting the financial industry and those who make a living by being a part of it. Just look at how many world governments are helping their largest and most influential banks avoid the need to worry about a few bad loans to foreign counties. Aren’t they just truly amazing for helping out like this? You have to love them for it.

    Ordinary people are smart. They’ll figure out how to get jobs when they’re ready to get back to work.

  11. call me ahab says:

    But it may be worse for the GOP, who are seen as married to an intellectually bankrupt ideology, steadfast opponents of all reform, and way too cozy with Wall Street.

    and what are the options for the electorate? How to vote their disapproval for the party in power-

    vote for them again?

    If ever there was a window for a third party, it would be now . . .

    As a start- maybe it would be desirable for debates to include all parties- not just the TWO parties- so people could see what’s being offered for ideas

  12. d4winds says:

    WS was rescued from its imminent–& certain–BK to return quickly to its former bonus-ridden “glory”. No harm no foul. To reform a system one must first have evidence of the need. Erase the evidence & you have erased the need; kill the urgency & you have killed the potential for consensus to by-pass the political influence of raw $.

  13. wally says:

    dead hobo,
    No sunshine where you live this morning?

  14. [...] see financial reform as “ineffectual.”  (Big Picture also Atlantic Business, Daily [...]

  15. withere says:

    Third party? Run, Barry, Run…

  16. ” If ever there was a window for a third party, it would be now . . . ” –BR, above

    “…The joke is on the people, you and me! Most reading this far knew the tradition and wonder what the point is. We know how the process goes, we know it’s changed some, but it is how we democratically elect our President and Vice President. We know because it is a part of our life experience, it is how we’ve done it since we can remember and it just is how it is. The joke is as we read about states and parties we forget the key factor, it is ONLY the two major parties that get to play in the primary game! The states are the State Republican or Democratic Party overseen carefully by the Republican and Democratic National Committee. It went nearly unnoticed this year when the DNC penalized Florida for moving its primary forward without proper permission, unnoticed in the sense that the primaries we are riveted on are controlled by just two-parties. The same way these two major political powers slowly usurped power and control in Congress, through history and tradition, they have completely usurped all control in the way we the people elect the President and Vice President.

    It’s a joke because the powers running the parties know there isn’t a chance for any third-party, Independent or independent voice even within their party to win. As many who have read my articles in the past are aware, an oligarchy is control of the many by the few. Our nation was never meant to elect the President and Vice President in this manner yet without so much as a Constitutional amendment the people have allowed just two political parties to dominate and thereby have helped secure their oligarchy rule, usurped power without even a question from voters. Why? Because that’s the way we do it, that’s the democratic history of our country and voters don’t know deep, foundational history well enough to demand an end to it…”

    to say little of

  17. DeDude says:

    The “winner-take-all” way we are electing our representatives and senators, pretty much ensures that we will have a two party system. If we want a more representative system we have to change the constitution.

    If people vote for the GOP in hopes of getting more effective financial reform they are pretty stupid. After the new GOP senator from MA demanded that the taxpayers (TARP) rather than Wall Street payed for this reform it should not be a secret in what direction they were pulling. Not that it will prevent the GOPsters from yelling how they want more effective reform as soon as this is passed and the risk of being taken on their words is gone – hope the Dems will take them up on it and call their bluff.

  18. beaufou says:

    With corporations being able to directly support their candidates nowadays, a third party would be a miracle.
    What we will most likely see, as I have seen in France in the last few elections, people don’t bother to vote anymore.
    It is wrong, I admit, but nobody believes in the political ladder, try to climb it and you quickly find out you are some kind of an extremist.

    “Ordinary people are smart. They’ll figure out how to get jobs when they’re ready to get back to work.”
    That’s after they stop smoking dope and are ready for the drug tests.

    oh, it’s july 14th, Django time.

  19. BDW says:

    Way to third party success: Open single primaries where candidates from all parties compete directly for two spots. (30% rule could happen with a runoff) We may see November elections with two dems or two reps, but we’d also see the occasional independent. It would greatly weaken the need for a great deal of americans to choose a “party” just to be able to vote in primaries and would greatly weaken those parties.

    Second suggestion: All party conventions the week after the 4th of July. All primaries the tuesday after Labor day, campaigns (publicly financed) limited to 6 weeks before November election.

  20. gordo365 says:

    First – health care reform that doesn’t reform healthcare. Next – wall street regulatory reform that doesn’t tighten wall street regulations.

    What next? Repeal don’t ask don’t tell in a way that requires service personnel to stay in the closet?

    Immigration reform that doesn’t reduce illegal immigration or change status of those already here?

    I’m an Obama supporter – but that “hopey changey” thing isn’t working so well…

  21. Brett Tibbitts says:

    OK, now you really have me confused Barry.

    I am having trouble rectifying this entry with your entry yesterday entitled “Deficit Chicken Hawks and Ronald Reagan”. In the latter you lambast conservatives as being like King David laying a statue in his bed to deceive Saul’s servants. They have covered themselves in the cloak of deficit reduction when they really just want their own kind of spending.

    This is where it is wrong to be looking through the lens of a two party system. A new party is trying to birth itself. The genesis began when the Republicans were thrown out in 2006 for woeful spending.

    Now, the Democrats may well be on their way (or partially out) for their woeful spending….only the object of their spending is different, but it is just as great.

    So now we enter a stage where all incumbents are in trouble – as they rightly should be. So perhaps you should be looking more for true signs of change instead of continuing to look through the lense of the current two party system. Their is true revulsion of both parties as they both equally got us into this mess. But birthing processes in politics are long and painful.

  22. DeDude says:

    gordo365; Obama and the country has basically become hostages to the right wing. With the GOPsters making filibusters the norm against any and all legislation, nothing can pass without the consent of the right wing minority. I do think that the filibuster serve a very important purpose in our democracy (preventing a “51% dictatorship”). But the way its been used by the GOPsters is a perversion that has instead instituted a 41% dictatorship. As pointed out by “sal”, the Senators that vote against everything are often from very small states so they probably represent much less than 40% of the population, yet they can block the will of the majority.

    So the choice is between accepting something that is better than nothing or accepting nothing being changed. I agree that both health care and regulatory reform was much less than it should have been, but it was better than not doing anything. Unfortunately is looks like the disappointment about the lack of real change is making a lot of idiots conclude that they should give even more power to the party of NO, so expect even more paralysis in the political system (time to read up on the old Weimar republic, since we are preparing to repeat history).

  23. S Brennan says:

    Dunno Barry,

    Doesn’t corporations/industry groups constitute a third party?

  24. S Brennan says:

    Oh C’mon DeDude,

    “Obama and the country has basically become hostages to the right wing.” is crap.

    Absolute Crap.

    Obama supported TARP before he took office, Obama supported FISA before he took office, Obama supported tax cuts as stimulus before he took office, Obama supported escalating the AF-Pak War before he took office, Obama alone supports keeping Guantanamo open…Obama supported Bernanke before he took office, Obama supported Paulson/Giethner before he took office, Obama supported Rubin/Summers before he took office…and the list goes on.

    Obama was put in front of a crowd with a large megaphone by the elite, who sought to stifle what should have been a wave of reform. Obama’s job is done once he delivers Social Security to the maw of Wall Street.

    “Obama and the country has basically become hostages to the right wing.” is crap.

  25. BDW says:

    Obama ran for president to the right of Hillary who dove head long to the center. I told my wife in Jan ’08 that it was insane that Obama was considered a wild liberal compared to Hilary when none of their positions were anything but bland republican light.

    Right now Dems are compromising with themselves hoping to gain Rep votes that are never going to exist. So they’ve watered down bills in hopes of getting a super majority that the Constitution never desired and the GOP will never give. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The enemy of the Dems right now (jobs bill, energy bill, immigration reform, real health care, REAL finance reform) is stalemate and indecision.

    The GOP has no brains….the Dems have no balls.

  26. chuckmycheese says:

    “But it may be worse for the GOP, who are seen as married to an intellectually bankrupt ideology, steadfast opponents of all reform, and way too cozy with Wall Street.”

    Uhhh…did’t Dems get more money from Goldman Sachs……geez, how about Fannie and Freddie donations
    yeah….and the Dems, when they are in the manority, go with the hard right agenda
    classic….bankrupt ideology….the western europeans, whom dems just love, are waking up to the fact that their craddle to grave welfare system is a joke…..

  27. [...] line with this morning’s early post (Four out of Five Americans See Financial Reforms as Ineffectual), I discovered, quite by accident, a horrifying little article in the July 12 Time magazine (seen [...]

  28. DeDude says:

    @ S Brennan;

    I agree that Obama is a centrist (like Bill Clinton) and he supports a lot of things that I disagree with. However, that does not change the fact that “Obama and the country has basically become hostages to the right wing”. Every attempt at legislative action ends with a compromise that is being pulled out to the right by the GOPsters – because they use filibuster threats on almost every single bill. Action on credit card abuse has its implementation delayed (demanded by GOPsters) so that the banksters can adjust and rape the consumers one last time before things are frozen. Health care reform ends up with no public options and further to the right than Bob Dole’s old proposal, because the GOPsters block any and all action with a filibuster and allow their little pin-up boy from Connecticut to dictate its text. The recent financial reform gets through only after the new GOPster from MA ensures that the cost is born by taxpayers (TARP funds), rather than by the banksters. So the only crap I see in this debate is the suggestion that pointing out how Obama and the country has become hostages to the right wing should be crap.

  29. DeDude says:

    “The GOP has no brains….the Dems have no balls”

    Now that really is crap. How is the Dems going to force anything through the 40 fillibusters on the GOPster side? Call in the military and arrest them? What exactly is that “ballsy” act that Dems could take to get things changed?

    No their only choice is either to do nothing and get blamed for that, or to do what ever little they can by giving enough to the right wing that they can overcome a filibuster.

  30. DeDude says:

    Fox loves to sell the idea that both parties are equally bad and corrupt (and, therefore, vink, vink you might as well vote for the party that lower your taxes). Now THAT is the real crap and I am amazed of how many idiots are buying into that. Yes both parties have some serious problems, but to say they are the same is moronic. Read their proposals or listen to their statements on C-SPAN, there are big differences and clearly one party who is there exclusively to serve the top 1%.

  31. DeDude says:


    You seem to presume that the more money a candidate receive from a company the more (s)he will be the servant of that company. Have you ever considered the possibility that the candidates a company would try to bribe is the candidate that is not serving the company for free. If a horny woman says come take me, who is going to take out a hundred bucks to pay for her?

  32. VennData says:

    None of those Americans could tell you anything about what’s in financial reform, what’s been tabled, what deals have been done/saved for later or anything else about the inner workings of the Congress they happily re-elect at and over 90% rate and claim to despise.

  33. willid3 says:

    the problem is that we have politicians, instead of statesman. but in reality that isn’t new. more the rule than the exception. the last great economic debacle only was addressed because the lords of finance of the time were foolish enough to think that nobody was listening to them when they got pulled into hearings by a former prosecutor who had done enough research going into to know what questions to ask, and what the answers would be. Had that not happened (and it doesn’t seem to be happening this time. mainly cause we don’t have some one to play the part of the prosecutor, and because the lords of finance have learned how to dodge questions artfully, and say nothing, or at least nothing incriminating). the other part that forced the issue, was that the population was desperate for it to be fixed, and were threatening to change from capitalism and even democracy if it wasn’t fixed. and while I think that may still happen as people today tend be less patient than then, offset by the fact we have a better safety net than then (when there was none). today we have both parties trying to sell their dogma. one only really works for the top 1%. the other is more beholden to the bottom 10%. the middle is on its own. and today is really easy to sell a line to people, mainly cause PR has gotten so good, and because those selling figured out that it works better if you publish it with the right name .
    but for most of the time that the US has existed, what we have today, isn’t quite as bad then. but its a pale imitation of what came out of the great depression.

  34. BDW says:


    Senate rules are created by the majority party and can be changed with a simple majority vote. All it takes for the “nuclear option” is the balls by Reid (a conservative democrat saying Obama doesn’t have balls two days after Obama campaigns for him) to change the rules.

    The Senate had the votes for the public option….had the votes for the full Volker (sp?) and Consumer board…….had the votes for a $1.1 trillion stimulus without a ton of tax breaks (3/7 of stimulus is tax cuts, but somehow Obama has raised taxes), but decided that “bipartisanship” was more important. That is a clear lack of balls.

  35. philipat says:

    It’s called the “Tea Party” and it’s patron saint Sarah Palin?

    Hmm, not sure I’d go with that one. It’s important for a leader to have a triple-digit IQ as we discovered with “W”?

  36. DeDude says:

    If you take away the filibuster you have completely changed our democracy. That is why it is called the nuclear option (it is incredibly destructive). In particular given the partisanship of current times you would end up with a 51% dictatorship over a 49% minority (whether that is Dems or GOPsters) with few other options for influence than armed rebellion.

    Considering that the GOPsters talked about using the nuclear option against a democratic party that didn’t even filibuster half as much as the GOPsters do now, you may say that we have come to the point where that option is acceptable. You can look at the current CA budget situation and see what happened when a hardened minority can do nothing else but block the majority – and I agree that then you have to discuss the lesser evil.

    Personally I think that the voters need a chance to speak and the GOP has to seriously consider how and where they want our democracy to go. Remember that the counter actions of the GOP to a nuclear attack from the Dems are not without consequence.

    I personally think that a small tactical nuke of limiting the filibuster to “large” bills and then use a lot more small “incremental” bills to bring on change, would be the preferred route if the GOPsters continue blocking all legislation after they have gained a number of senate seats in November.

  37. [...] Update II: Mish on why the Democrat’s remodeling of how you bank was such a stunning success.  The same thing, put another way. [...]

  38. [...] in America today is that many of the lies from our leaders and media no longer seem to be working. Four out of five people view the current proposed financial reform as ineffectual. Many in Congress who voted for [...]