Like the Roosevelt administration before it, the Obama administration’s response to the crisis entailed much more than just the use of fiscal and monetary tools. It included an impressive array of initiatives targeted at specific sectors, from housing and motor vehicles to financial services. Few if any of these, however, began to approach, in ambition or achievement, the initiatives launched under the New Deal.In particular, the Obama administration’s attempts to provide distressed homeowners with mortgage relief were a pale imitation of what was achieved by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation of the 1930s. Changes in the nature of housing finance in the intervening period made it more difficult to restructure mortgages without imposing large losses on either the banks or taxpayers, something that was both a political and an economic nonstarter. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 did not begin to rise to the ambition of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. By more successfully deploying their monetary and fiscal tools, policy makers this time prevented the worst. And by preventing the worst, they allowed the vested interests that benefited from the prevailing financial system to regroup. They relieved the pressure for root-and-branch reform.

via How the Wall Street weasels won: Elizabeth Warren, Paul Krugman and the 1 percent’s desperate battle to save themselves – Salon.com.

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