Senate approves large-scale financial industry overhaul

A wide-ranging overhaul of the way the federal government regulates the financial industry passed the U.S. Senate yesterday, which means that the measure is one step closer to becoming a settled law.

Many provisions of the bill were hotly debated until mere hours before its passage, and some critics still maintain that it subjects many segments of the finance industry to overbearing scrutiny and overreaching regulation. However, the bill’s proponents say that it is a long-overdue revamping of a threadbare regulatory system that allowed the country’s biggest banks to drag the entire economy into a damaging recession.

Some of the most liberal members of the Senate, in fact, insisted that the bill did not go far enough in curbing the excesses that have left countless Americans in deeply in debt and in need of credit consolidation.

Experts say that the down economy offered a valuable lesson to many Americans, who until the recession had tended to spend well beyond their means and accrue large amounts of debt. These practices set them up for serious financial difficulties in the future.