Taking a break from pointing out how Obamacare is the success that's still not appreciated by too many, and exposing the consequences of the Tea Party economic Jihad of Brownback in Kansas, Dr. Krugman takes a swing at the status of Dodd-Frank financial reforms. His conclusion is some good things are happening, and the way to tell is by the screams of pain from the usual suspects. His conclusion is this:
Did reform go far enough? No. In particular, while banks are being forced to hold more capital, a key force for stability, they really should be holding much more. But Wall Street and its allies wouldn’t be screaming so loudly, and spending so much money in an effort to gut the law, if it weren’t an important step in the right direction. For all its limitations, financial reform is a success story.emphasis added
It's tempting to dismiss Dodd-Frank as too limited in scope, too hobbled by compromises, to call it a success - but that's a mistake progressives make too often. It's a step in the right direction - and we haven't been headed in that direction for a long time. We need to build momentum.
Conservatives always demand more - but they don't trash their own victories. They build on them and keep pushing. We need to do the same. Keep messaging it's just a starting point - we can do better, and keep pushing TO do better. There's a constant pushback against it from the right; less then enthusiastic support from our side only makes their job easier.
We can keep the momentum building by focusing on other things that need to get done. The student loan reform issue is one that a lot of people can get behind. If we're going to demand academic investments by people in exchange for a future in the economy, we can't at the same time support policies that price that academic investment out of reach.
We can build on the "too big to fail" issue by demanding the government start enforcing anti-trust laws again. The threat to the internet from giant telecom companies, the suffocating grip of cable monopolies - these are things that ordinary Americans can understand and demand be changed.
We can use the successes of Dodd-Frank to date to argue for more of the same. It's all about establishing forward momentum and taking the initiative away from the other side for a change.
Read Krugman's column, and reflect on where we can go from where we are now.
UPDATE: Initial comments in response to this post are, to put it mildly, disheartening. If I may summarize, snark in hand...
PROGRESSIVES OVERWHELMINGLY AGREE: DODD-FRANK TOTAL FAILURELook, Dodd-Frank isn't what many hoped it would be. (Neither is Obamacare.) So what? You have two choices at this point.
Great opportunity lost - game over for real reform. Wall Street rejoices as Lefties abandon field. Congressional Democrats conclude no point in further financial reform, cite lack of enthusiasm from base. All hope lost for Main Street - Warren declares intention to "Go Galt". Mitt Romney says "I told you it was a mistake." Nattering Nabobs of Negativity Rule the Day. "Krugman is delusional" says disappointed former fan.
You can bitch and moan about how bad it turned out, you can trash it from now till the cows come home, you can join the right wing attacking it from the other side and help build up their narrative of Liberals screwing up again, you can hold onto your narrative of being victimized yet again, you can disengage in righteous indignation…
You can gut it up, take the successes to date, and build on them. You wanted an instant fix? You wanted the world to see how right you were and give you everything you wanted all at once? Sorry, the world doesn't work that way. It takes time to turn things around. We're living in a conservative dystopia because they spent years working to bring it about, one small victory at a time. A bill passed here, a court decision there, a regulation rewritten… They kept going, playing the long game.
Well, it's not over. It's never over - unless we give up. We have a little bit of forward momentum here. Look, Krugman says Dodd-Frank doesn't go far enough - but what it does do is having an effect. So instead of using all that energy to piss on it, how about you take it and do something positive with it?
I swear, there are people here who wouldn't know what to do with themselves without despair and anger. Yup, a great opportunity was wasted - a huge disruption that could have been used to reshape everything was allowed to pass. Well guess what - there are more of them headed our way (be careful what you wish for!) and if we spend all of our time regretting the one we missed, the next ones are going to wash us away.