It is never a bad time to check in on how Wall Street is quietly working to undermine any attempt to slightly dampen the possibility that Wall Street could devastate the American economy, again.
Today's New York Times story on the bite-by-bite erosion of Wall Street regulation by Congress (aided by a massive team of Wall Street lobbyists) is exactly the sort of important and eye-glazing news that will be ignored upon publication, and then—when Wall Street does in fact bring our nation's economy crashing down again—the public will all howl in unison, "Why didn't the media write about any of this??"
Lobbying expenditures by every specific industry group declined in 2014, except for the finance, insurance and real estate sector. That sector increased its spending by 2.5 percent.
As of Nov. 16, Wall Street banks and other financial interests had spent $1.2 billion on campaign contributions and lobbying combined, a total that was on track to beat spending in 2010, when Dodd-Frank was being considered in Congress, according to Americans for Financial Reform.
Because Americans only tend to pay close attention to financial regulation rules that are perceived to be arcane during or in the immediate aftermath of a financial crisis, all the financial industry really has to do is delay and stall and mumble platitudes until the brief period of public interest subsides, and then get to work quietly undermining any and all regulations that they think might hurt their short-term profits. (They are currently working to roll back regulations that might save you, the taxpayer, from bailing them out next time their shitty derivatives business goes south.)
The only realistic way to combat this dynamic is to stay vigilant, write your elected officials, work for campaign finance reform, and occasionally burn down some mansions—unoccupied second homes only, please—to keep em on their toes.
[Who is the man in the picture? It is Jeb Hensarling, chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Know your enemy. Photo via AP]