Economy 4.0

The Post-Thanksgiving Rush

David Brancaccio Nov 24, 2010

You are thinking door-buster sales on Thanksgiving Friday. Perhaps you are following predictions about same-store sales. In parts of our nation’s capital, the day after Thanksgiving is focused elsewhere. Friday is the deadline for people to send the government there opinion on several parts of the massive financial reform law.

It is pretty subtle stuff, guaranteed not to have been subject of conversation around the holiday table. Here is just one example: going forward, many derivatives contracts will have to go through so-called “clearinghouses” that will carefully record the transactions and try to make sure the parties in the deal are in a position to make good on their
financial promises. Big financial players will run those clearinghouses and one of the areas where time is running out for comments to the government is how much clout any single outfit can have in the clearing process. Power in financial markets is money and while mere mortals may pay no heed, the titans of finance (and their lobbyists) are watching this.

On the subject of the legions of lobbyists swarming over the implementation of financial reform, here is my nomination for Economy 4.0/Rules of the Road quotation of the week, from a lawyer cited in a Washington Post story by Amanda Becker:

“In a way, during the run-up to the legislation… there was a limit to how much people could really influence the statute. The implementation phase is really industry’s opportunity to influence what the final product looks like.”

In other words, now, when the actual rules are being worked out is more important to a lobbyist than the crafting of the original legislation.

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