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One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a former editor, who told me how to handle topics that were likely to annoy the powerful. “Don’t nibble at their toes,” he told me. “Go for their throat.” That’s why I’m renaming the financial reform bill, known as Dodd-Frank, to what it really is: the Toe-Nibbling Act of 2010.
The reason is that, with a rare exception or two, this 2,000-page bill nibbles at the toes of the problems that brought us the worldwide financial meltdown. It doesn’t go for the throat — its sponsors just pretend that it does.
Yes, Dodd-Frank may be, as President Obama calls it, “the toughest financial reform since the ones we created in the aftermath of the Great Depression.” If that’s the case, the bill shows how narrow our ambitions have become, and how little history we know.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”