Washington Babylon — June 29, 2010, 9:09 am

Nibbling at Reform

From Allen Sloan:

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.

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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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