Senate Democrats are making the final push on financial reform this week, but will big banks really change the way they do business? Or will we still be pawns in a game rigged in their favor? I caught up with Elizabeth Warren to talk about the need to reform Wall Street culture, the pernicious influence of bank lobbies, and the debt-fueled threat to America’s middle class.
Lynn Parramore: Has the financial crisis changed the culture of Wall Street?
Elizabeth Warren: I would have expected the financial crisis to sweep through Wall Street like a hundred-year flood — wiping out old business practices and changing the ecology profoundly. So far, the financial services industry has seemed to treat the crisis like a little rainfall — inconvenient, but no significant changes needed. The real question moving forward is how the industry will respond to Wall Street reform and growing public anger. Will it react to all the new cops on the beat just by hiring more lobbyists? Will it continue to spend $1.4 million a day to beat back anything that could mean more accountability and oversight? Or will the financial services industry finally begin to rethink its business models, lobbying approach, and attitude toward the public?
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