Financial reform hits double deep freeze

February 10, 2010

Even before the U.S. capital was buried under three feet of snow in a matter of days, Washington was frozen solid. Democratic bumbling and Republican obstructionism had sapped legislative momentum from key reforms in finance as well as healthcare and energy. That gridlocked state of affairs is unlikely to change even after Snowmageddon blows into history and the federal government reopens its shuttered offices.

Of course, even if Congress had some desire to make progress on those critical issues, Mother Nature would not have cooperated this week. A former city mayor was dead-on when he declared Washington not a snow town. Commuter trains into the city aren’t running, the Metro subway system offers only limited service, airports are closed and Amtrak closed its rail link to Wall Street (the Acela Express).

Even Pennsylvania Avenue, the main thoroughfare between the White House and Capitol Hill, is barely passable. As a result, federal agencies and departments have been shut all week, a bill that will run to about half a billion dollars in lost productivity and opportunity costs, according to government estimates. Both the House of Representatives and Senate have canceled all votes until after next week’s recess.

Of course, it’s an ill Snowpocalypse (residents’ other storm nickname of choice) that doesn’t blow someone a bit of good.

Toyota caught a break when a congressional hearing to investigate its car recall was postponed for two weeks. And lawmakers skeptical of climate change guffawed when the Obama administration chose the middle of this Arctic blast as the best time to announce a new agency to study global warming. Then there are the jokes. What’s Washington’s snow removal plan called? Spring.

But the snow will eventually melt, and there will be a general thawing out. If only the same warming could be confidently predicted for relations between Democrats and Republicans in this heated election year. As long as both sides keep things icy inside Congress, it really won’t matter much what the weather outside is doing.


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Maybe not doing anything is the best thing they can do for the U.S. Massachusetts certainly thought so.

Posted by dyllman | Report as abusive

The turn we need is not right or left, but towards accountability; we need no more Wall Street spin, or republican myth making, about supply-side, trickle down economics, which was no more than a massive expansion of private, as well as public, debt. Obama is guilty of perpetuating W’s policies bailing out Wall Street, and continuing the bi-partisan “happy conspiracy” of inadequate financial regulation, thereby giving Wall Street a license to steal. Consider Obama’s closest economic advisors, Geithner and Summers, Wall Street sycophants the both of them. Only recently has Obama become more critical, and finally begun listening to reason from Paul Volker, vanquisher of inflation, and one of the most respected central bankers of all time.

Wise voters are looking for a Teddy Roosevelt “Square Deal”, not the Faustian bargain with Wall Street, Democrats from financial corridor states struck like Dodd, Schumer, Lieberman, Kerry, Biden, and Frank. So far the wise have been bitterly disappointed by obstruction of even meek democratic reforms by Republicans like Shelby, Gregg, or Corker, who are oblivious to their own state’s interests, and the national good. Certainly the Fed deserves blame, but no one drove Wall Street’s masters of the lemming universe off the financial cliff; it was entirely self inflicted.

Posted by loguealator | Report as abusive

The US Senate must go … or it must be demoted like the British did with the house of Lords. It’s nothing more then a graveyard for progress; where the old white guy from a state of 1/2 million people tells the young white guy representing a district of 6 million people, to turn his music down.

Posted by JulsMan | Report as abusive

James, there is more to figures of speech than metaphors and similes. DC sproignned the sprung ? The Ice Age swooshes into NY ? The US is snowed under with bureaucracy ? Palin performs pretty petty postures in the puffy pasture ?

Stopping by woods on a snowy evening. Robert Foster, 1923.

Posted by Ghandiolfini | Report as abusive

No amount of freeze nor warm spring will change the Right’s strategy: to churn fear-inspiring drama, nor Obama’s strategy: to accommodate.

Obama would like to show the nation how well fair democratic process works in the long run. But the Right is, after all, a religious company which is not interested in democratic process (its goal, the Kingdom of Heaven, is not a democracy) and the Democrats are fundamentally confused by this.

As the nation’s leader it is Obama’s job to promote the common good. Accommodating is a strategy that just don’t cut it.

– All the fiery and unabridged opinions on Left Blog

Posted by reverse_cloud | Report as abusive