Ten Lessons from the Financial Reform Bill

  1. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a bill to get cloture in the Senate.
  2. Nevertheless, when something is important enough, the Senate can overcome its paralysis and pass legislation.
  3. BUT the legislation will be greatly weakened in the process.
  4. Bismarck didn’t go far enough when he said that people who like law and sausages shouldn’t watch either one being made.  At least there are health and safety rules for sausages.  Legislation is pure unrestrained butchery.
  5. A President can accomplish incredibly important reforms even without high approval ratings.  Sadly, these important accomplishments may not help the approval ratings.
  6. So we might actually get climate legislation this year.  Really.
  7. But if we do, it will involve heroic effort.
  8. All of which means the resulting legislation won’t be what we were hoping for.  Not even close.
  9. All of which means, for different but overlapping reasons, environmentalists and economists will both have lots of valid complaints.  You can be sure that these will be voiced loudly on both side.
  10. All of which means that we might — just might — MAKE SOME PROGRESS.  (Although not as much as need.)

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