Earlier today, a proposal offered by the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, proposed a version of the Volcker Law. First suggested by a Federal Reserve Chairman, Paul Volcker, the idea is to prevent big bank’s speculative proprietary derivatives and stock investments by as soon as this June, 2012. This move was in accordance with the Frank-Dodd Act, which required the regulators to release a proposal on the subject, with the Securities and Exchange Commission formally presenting the suggestion tomorrow. With Occupy Wall Street moving across the North East and significant legislation finally making its voice heard, is this a change to business as usual or just another stunt.
As often is the case, it happens to be a little bit of both. This does happen to be a powerful legislation in the works, one which could potentially costs banks billions of dollars and enforce a certain, wide variety of trades for a period of at least two months. Contrary to what many Occupy Wall Street protestors may be thinking, though, this is not in response to the recent commotions, but is still part of a predetermined strategy hammered out nearly two years ago. Yet one major change made since last weeks changes the time period to which interest groups may respond to the proposal from only approximately 60 days to 90 days. Small changes like these may seem insignificant, however they signify a larger movement. It hardly seems heavy handed when you invite input for as long as possible.
It is not necessarily the idea of discussion, and perhaps compromise, that bothers: it is more the roles each seem to be playing. It is no secret that wealthier institutions and those who control the reigns, are hardly loved: moves like this are necessary before anything serious does occur and an all out backlash occurs. And with elections coming up, it would be absurd to imagine the Obama administration not trying to gain some extra points by pressuring the release of these documents sooner.
Still, proposals like these give me hope. You can doubt the motives, but the outcome could truly make a change to business as usual. The real measure of success, however, is how much of it’s original proposal will remain after 90 days.