In the halcyon days of 2010, passage of the Dodd-Frank Act seemed to reassure the Democrats and independents who voted Barack Obama into office that concrete steps had been taken to safeguard the market against the flagrant chicanery that led to The Great Recession. The “Too Big To Fail” stress test provision in particular was to be the balm to still-lingering economic uncertainty that troubled the lower classes. The reforms typified the Obama approach: capitulatory and decidedly tepid. Dodd-Frank never quite worked out as promised, but as neoliberal policy it performed its function of maintaining Wall Street’s primacy with minor modifications.
Also typical of Obama’s half-measures to serious structural problems: The protracted struggle for moderate change against intransigent foes seems like a cosmic joke now that Donald Trump is taking a scythe to every piece of paper the last president signed off on. The coke-addled psychopaths at the stock exchange welcomed Trump’s proclamation that Dodd-Frank will be dismantled. The act’s provisions have placed such an undue burden on the financial sector that commercial lending is at a 70-year-high. It must be a coincidence that it rose steadily starting in 2010. It will also be a coincidence that the president unfettered the wealthy to plunder what little the rest of us are holding on to the next time the economic comes shuddering to a halt.
(Year Zero/Day Fifteen)