President Barack Obama promised voters he would deliver major reforms in four areas: Health care, financial regulation, energy and immigration reform.
He's now two for four. He signed a health care overhaul on March 23. And Wednesday, after 18 months of difficult negotiation, the president finally signed a package designed to update regulation of the financial system.
As Christina Romer, head of the Council of Economic Advisers, put it: After surviving a near-death experience with the Great Recession, prevention is essential. It's like a heart attack survivor making lifestyle changes to guard against a repeat.
At the birth of this bill, three approaches were on the table: demolish the regulatory structure dating from the 1930s Great Depression and build a new one; break apart large banks and curtail risky kinds of trading; or, build on existing regulations and give existing regulators additional oversight powers.
The Obama administration pushed the last option — and that's what Congress ultimately passed.
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