What’s your short list of actionable complaints?
After reading this article from the New York Times about what Volcker says still needs to be done about the financial system (the title of his speech was “Three Years Later: Unfinished Business in Financial Reform”), I’m wondering if he wants to join the #OWS Alternative Banking working group. He’s got his own “short list of actionable complaints” list, not that different from mine:
- make capital requirements for banks tough and enforceable,
- make derivatives more standardized and transparent,
- ensure auditors are truly independent by rotating them periodically,
- end too big to fail,
- create and enforce reserve requirements and capital requirements for money market funds, and
- get rid of Fannie and Freddie, or at least make a plan to.
He also pointed to the weakness of the ratings agencies as one of the big reasons for the credit crisis, so I assume that “making the ratings agencies accountable” may be on the list too, at least in the top 10.
I was interviewed last night about being on the Alternative Banking working group for #OWS (I will link to the article if and when it comes out), and I mentioned this speech as well as the general fact that many of these problems named above are really non-partisan, especially “Too Big to Fail”. This column from the New York Times, written by former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson points this out as well.
That makes me encouraged and depressed at the same time. Encouraged because there really does seem to be a consensus about what’s terribly wrong with at least some of the most obvious issues, but depressed because in spite of this we haven’t solved any of them. To make this vague sense of depression precise, just take a look at what has happened to the original “Volcker Rule”: it has expanded by a factor of 100, from 3 to 300 pages, making it impossibly difficult to understand or probably to follow (unless you have fancy lawyers who do nothing else besides find loopholes). It’s reminiscent of our tax code. Speaking of which, here’s yet another “short list of actionable complaints” to fix that.
I’m enjoying how many people are now coming up with personal short lists of actionable complaints (even if it’s in response to complete stalemate of the political process). It’s a way of claiming and maintaining our freedom and agency. It isn’t as easy at is seems, because you have to sort out the important from the annoying, and the actionable from the existential. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to write your own short list, and feel free to post it here.