In the '80's and '90's some of us despaired over how Democrats might re-build a working majority. I, for one, said that the New Deal had run its course and that we had failed to devise principles, policies and programs to carry its ideas forward.
I'm here to tell you that I was wrong. At least partly.
If you have been watching or reading the news, you know that we are in a financial crisis or meltdown (a term originated to refer to what happens when a nuclear reactor goes haywire). And a large part of the blame for what has happened lies on the failure to regulate financial markets. In one instance--that of so-called credit default swaps--the government is actually forbidden to regulate, thanks to a law sponsored by John McCain's good friend and financial adviser, Phil Gramm. The statute in question was passed in late 2002, in the dead of night, as lawmakers were leaving town for the Christmas recess.
So it turns out that one of the important tasks ahead of us is to rebuild the New Deal, at least those parts of it that protected us from unbridled greed and the mass stupidity that it brings. Bring back and SEC that actually regulates the offer and sale of securities. Strengthen regulation of the banking industry. Revive an anti-trust policy that assures real competition. Create new regulatory agencies to deal with financial devices that get around the old restrictions. Put some teeth into enforcement of the tax code against abusive tax shelters.
Oh, and while we're at it, lets rebuild America's roads, bridges and railways and modernize the electrical grid and telecommunications network.