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Reinventing George Bailey

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“The Volcker rule” has haunted the debate about the financial crisis since the argument began, more like a dimly-remembered promise than a recipe for avoiding another calamity. What was it we were supposed to do? Former Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul Volcker, now 83, led the effort that in the early 1980s battled spiraling inflation to a standstill. His present-day counterpart, Ben Bernanke, performed as great a public service in the autumn three years ago when he flooded the markets with $600 billion in new reserves, lending freely to banks and other financial institutions against all manner of otherwise illiquid