It's a bit dated but I'd recommend Kevin Phillips' "Wealth and Democracy: A History of the American Rich." It was published in 2002 so most of the Bush era is missing.
Kevin Phillips is one of those who have done a 180. Once a Nixon speechwriter, he is today one of the most articulated chroniclers of our new Gilded Age. Wealth and Democracy is packed with hard data. The pivot we made in the 1980s clearly shows up.
"The Predatory State" is another recommended title. It's by James Kenneth Galbraith.
And if you can handle drier economic works anything by Emmanuel Sáez, an economist at Berkeley.
Here's a link to his collected works: http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/
He maintains a database (updated through August 2009) on income inequality in the US.
I had to take a shower after writing that post. I don't hate many people but I hate Harold Ford. Not sure if he brings out the worst in me or the best. I rarely let my emotions control my writing but when it comes to Harold I just want to tear him apart. I can feel my blood pressure rise, it's uncanny really.
is this, right now there exist multiple regulatory agencies, eight I think, and so financial services have been able to pick which regulator suits them best (to be read least).
So it's likely that Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) will be rolled into one of these if it's not created as a separate entity. None of these other agencies has prevented a crisis heretofore because their mission is broader. Only an agency with laser-like focus on consumer protection will protect consumers because otherwise it's just going to subsumed by more powerful interests within that department.
The whole point of the CFPA is that those other agencies tend to abandon their consumer protection imperatives because those are not central to their larger and often competing responsibility.
The Federal Reserve has a lot of consumer protection power, but very little of its was exercised in the run-up to the crisis because the Federal Reserve isn't interested in consumer protection. Same deal with the Federal Trade Commission. Strengthening one of these agencies isn't the solution. It's creating a stand-alone one with specific oversight protection and only one client, consumers. Otherwise, consumers are just going to drown out by more powerful competing interests.
Neither incompetent nor corrupt, at least not in the common definition of those terms. More politically naive but perhaps a by product of his own style of and preference for consensus building. He definitely likes to bridge differences but I don't he gets that when it comes to the GOP and even some members of his own party, there are irreconcible differences.
If these were normal times, then his style of leadership might work but these aren't normal times. To argue with the GOP is to argue with an inmovable object.
By his own admission, he's not an ideologue. But that is, I think, what is needed.