The fact that we’re having a debate about financial regulation hints at the outcome: little to none. Regulation stands a chance only when a lot of people see the need (this is why President Nixon — Nixon — oversaw creation of the Environmental Protection Agency). I don’t think we’re going to see a popular groundswell in this particular instance.

Yes, a lot of people are losing their homes. Yes, investment banks and mortgage brokers were greedy and foolish in the risks they took. But most Americans know the financial system isn’t entirely to blame. They know they’ve been all too willing to live beyond their means — and they’re not blind to the consequences. Still, any regulation that curbs our ability to have more than we can afford — credit scores be damned — doesn’t stand a chance.