I was on a Capitol Hill panel yesterday morning, organized by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, with Jim Carr and Mike Lux; Nancy Cleeland was the moderator. We had a wide-ranging discussion about the origins of our current economic crisis (the banks, their regulators, their lack of regulation), progress to date with financial sector reform (not much), and what should be the legislative agenda (a long list, ranging from protecting individuals to better safeguarding the system; if you can get any sensible measure past the lobbies, take it).
I was particularly struck by one point made by Mike Lux. Sometimes it seems the administration talks in terms of having limited political capital and of needing to decide where to spend it – perhaps, for example, it has all been stored up to address health care. Mike’s model is somewhat different – once you defeat one powerful industrial lobby, it becomes easier to defeat others; success can snowball. Drawing on the experience of FDR, in particular, Mike stressed that early success (e.g., initial recovery measures that were opposed by industry) laid the political foundations and generated the kind of public support necessary for further achievement (e.g., the introduction of social security).
What does that mean in today’s context? Continue reading “Snowball: Strategies For Banking Reform”