Step up for reform?

Why are Senate Republicans resisting Wall Street overhaul? In a word: politics

If the news about financial chicanery at Goldman Sachs has made you even angrier at Wall Street, you should be angry at Senate Republicans, as well.

Goldman Sachs first: The Securities and Exchange Commission has accused the company of creating toxic derivatives stuffed with subprime mortgages and selling them to investors, without telling them that the derivatives had been hand selected by a billionaire hedge-fund manager. He then shorted them—that is, he bet they would fail—and when that happened took a billion bucks in payoff.

This is a unique case, but there are many others just as sleazy, and now that the SEC finally has grown a spine, we can expect more lawsuits.

You’d think, with these kinds of scams happening and the near-meltdown of the world’s financial markets and the worst recession in 80 years as a result, members of Congress would work together to fix what is obviously a broken system. And that’s what the Democrats want to do. They’ve come up with a comprehensive financial-reform plan that will set the ship aright.

But Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, will have none of it. McConnell, who for purely political reasons has sought to defeat every one of President Obama’s domestic priorities, even went so far as to charge that the reform package would lead to further taxpayer bailouts, a claim so untrue that President Obama was led to say it was “cynical and deceptive” because McConnell “knows [the legislation] would do just the opposite.”

Let’s face it, the Wall Street fat cats can’t be trusted to look after anybody’s interests but their own. And the only institution that can make sure that they don’t gamble away the store is, like it or not, the government. Surely there are at least a few reasonable Republicans in the Senate who understand how important market reform is to the future health of the country. Let them come forward.