The problem is that regulation alone will not change the bad behavior that occasionally breaks out into the open on Wall Street and often leads to disasters on Main Street.
Perhaps trying to burnish his legacy on financial reform, President Obama has recently trumpeted his signature steps to transform Wall Street in the years since the financial crisis that confronted him as he began his term eight years ago.
But there are reasons to doubt that his efforts will have the profound effect he hopes they will.
After a March 7 meeting at the White House with the top Wall Street regulators, including Janet L. Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, Mr. Obama praised the Dodd-Frank reform law, the Volcker Rule that seeks to prevent proprietary trading and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is intended to make the world as safe from bad mortgages as it is from bad toasters.
“I want to emphasize this because it is popular in the media, in political discourse — both on the left and the right — to…
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