“Watching D.C. conventional wisdom change is like watching a house getting built. One day it’s a pile of bricks and lumber strewn all over the ground, the next it’s a completed building.
“There have been a lot of arguments lately that the battle to reform Wall Street has been won. Housewright Ben White of Politico does his best to turn it into an established fact with a piece last week titled “How Washington beat Wall Street,” which claims that “Washington went to war against big Wall Street … And Washington won in a blowout.” In White’s narrative, Wall Street has been reduced to a shell of its former glory, the result of “a strong reform bill” and the “mistake after mistake” that Wall Street made in pushing back on reform.
“Let’s split White’s argument into two parts. The first is whether the rule-writing process for Dodd-Frank went well or was a failure. Here we can be optimistic. Certainly White’s point that Wall Street has been unsuccessful in repealing any part of the law, for now, is true. They waged a scorched-earth campaign against credit-card fee regulations, which failed. Efforts to pull back on derivatives have stalled in the Senate. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau retains its original structure. Even the Volcker Rule wasn’t a disaster. Not everything was successful. The courts, in particular, have been tossing grenades at rules without rhyme or reason. But Dodd-Frank remains largely intact. “
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