Just a reminder: this Friday, November 5th, 2010, is the last day to submit comments on the Volcker Rule. Here is the website for this, "Public Input for the Study Regarding the Implementation of the Prohibitions on Proprietary Trading and Certain Relationships With Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds."
The rule-making and comment period is going to represent the best form of democracy we'll have in this process. Granted, banks have expensive lawyers on retainer to submit comments for them. But everyone out there, including those in my audience with expertise and the ability to write something like this, can do so. And their comments will at least get a shot at being as influential as a senior lobbyist.
Right now there's little attention paid to this part of the process. But it is the most important. If siloing out the riskiest parts of the financial sector from the insurance mechanism and the crucial intermediary functions that the financial sector provides is important to you, make the time to write and submit a comment. Here is Simon Johnson discussing this.
At the recent conference held by the Roosevelt Institute, The Future of Financial Reform: Will It Work? How Will We Know?, we included a chapter from Senators Jeff Merkley and Carl Levin, Making the Dodd-Frank Act Restrictions On Proprietary Trading & Conflicts of Interest Work (pdf), which is all about the Volcker Rule and how we can tell if the implementation has been successful.
Here is Ty Gellasch and Andrew Green, from Senator Levin and Merkley's offices respectively, presenting this chapter at the conference:
I encourage you to check it out to remind yourself that the stakes are very high. You may not have a lobbying staff, you may not get your calls returned from Senators within minutes, you may not be running attack ads through slush funds connecting a dozen front groups. But you can have your voice heard right here in this comment period.
Mike Konczal is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.