WHAT does it take to sustain political consensus for reigning in the mighty financial industry, or to translate that political consensus into real action? You certainly can't count on the financial industry to take the lessons of its own spectacular malfeasance to heart, and you can't count on voters to understand or long remember what that malfeasance was all about. . . . .
In America, voters have a choice between the governing Democrats, whose financial-reform bill is seen by many as too soft on the industry, and the opposition Republicans, who would like to be even softer on the industry, given the chance. That doesn't provide much of an outlet for the substantial portion of right-wing voters who want to burn the banks to the ground. In the Netherlands, in contrast, you've got a whole bunch of parties, including one that is happy to provide an outlet for voters looking to burn just about anything to the ground: Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV). The PVV is sort of part of the governing coalition, but they merely "support" it rather than really being part of it, which means they get to drop out and oppose government policy whenever they think it can win them a few votes from their omnidirectionally furious constituents. And that creates possibilities for creative anti-bank alliances between the powerless left and the irresponsible right.
From a blog post at The Economist, comparing financial reform in a two-party state with financial reform in a multi-party state: