As originally proposed by Paul Volcker, then chairman of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, the rule was aimed in part at preventing federally backed banks from making risky trades that could ultimately cost taxpayers. But in its current form, the Volcker rule is long, dense and — critics fear — full of language thataffords banks a lot of wiggle room.
"It's a daunting document to look at," said Alexis Goldstein, a former financial sector employee who joined the Occupy protests a few weeks ago.
Yet Goldstein, 30, and a small party of fellow Occupiers are doing just that. The group, known as Occupy the SEC, has been reading through the Volcker rule line by line, flagging passages that seem to enable banks to skirt around regulatory intentions.
I suspect quite a bit of special-interest-driven legislation counter to society's interests moves through Congress for no other reason than that it never gets read in its entirety. What if we had a distributed network of citizen reviewers to go through all of it line-by-line, fact-check, and annotate it?