Financial reform has seized Congress’ attention now that the political bloodbath over health care reform has finally sputtered to a temporary cease-fire. Unfortunately, most media analysis has focused on the political horse race instead of the substance. One can find endless coverage of the degree to which financial reform may be a solution to Democrats’ post-health-care-reform political woes, but very little analysis of the actual reform proposals. Since we are tinkering with the very heart of the American economic engine, this shallow focus seems very unwise. Similarly, to evaluate reforms purely by whether they are popular to a public largely uninformed as to either the specific proposals or their effects is very dangerous policymaking.
Thus, the real problem here is not that the debate is being blocked by recalcitrant Republicans, but no debate is being offered in the first place. Either Democratic Congressional leadership is once again playing hide-the-ball by refusing to reveal the details of reform until after the vote has been won, or the media is failing to actually analyze and present the policy. Either way, we’re on a very risky road.