Even as the Obamaites finally get around to proposing a measure to break up the big banks and erode the notion of financial institutions being too big to fail, we have the New York Times telling us that Congress does not have the "appetite"--that's the word they use--to tackle even modest financial reforms.
The "appetite" is missing. In the real world of appetites, food companies are recalling unsafe products every day because the food we eat is subjected to federal inspections. Not so for financial products.
The reason? Politics of course, but also the jillions that the financial services industry has "invested" in bill killing, compromise-making, and just plain corrupting the legislative process.
This past week, the Roosevelt Institute sponsored a conference over at the Time Warner Center called Make Markets Be Markets (Makemarketsbemarkets.org) , published a book of essays and heard from a who's who in the world of influential economists and analysts who gave high powered presentations, one after another, each more lucid than the next.
There was enough brainpower in the room to save the economy but, alas, no one seems to be listening. Some business media was there collecting sound bites but the urgency of the warnings did not transcend the limits of the bubble of financial journalism.
For a long time, I whined about being ignored in not getting heard on the economic collapse, which of course, I am, but here were people with Nobel Prizes and PhDs and track records of making millions also being dissed and pissed.
Setting the stage was Joe Stiglitz who won a Nobel Prize for his work, and who left the World Bank with disgust over what they do. Stiglitz should be in Obama's cabinet. Instead he is one of its critics.
The presentations started off with Simon Johnson, the former chief economist the IMF taking about the DOOM CYCLE--how we are just going around in cycles without really addressing the system nature of the crisis. He writes in the NY Times and on BaselineScenario.com which you should read every day. He calls the cycle "unsustainable and crazy" and says that "the destructive power of the down-cycle will overwhelm the restorative ability of government like it did in 1929-31."