Because the Republicans have paid no cost for opposing this president, they may be tempted to stand athwart any financial reform bill that comes up for a vote, no matter how sensible some of its ideas may be. That would be misguided. The public may not like the solutions the Democrats have put forward to address America's problems, but that does not mean it suddenly has fallen in love with Vikram Pandit, Jamie Dimon, and Lloyd Blankfein.
When Joe Six Pack reads the paper, he learns about a group of insiders at one end of the DC-NYC megalopolis bailing out insiders at the other end. He has little affection for both. If the GOP is serious about becoming the party of the people, serious about shifting power from Washington and New York, serious about unleashing competition and favoring the innovator over the incumbent, why not back free-market measures against an entrenched financial elite?
Big banks are bad for free markets. Far from being engines of free enterprise, they are conducive to what might be called “crony capitalism,” “corporatism,” or, in Jonah Goldberg’s provocative phrase, “liberal fascism.” There is a free-market case for breaking up large financial institutions: that our big banks are the product, not of economics, but of politics.