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.