A hat tip to blogger Jill Klausen, because without her Twitter post, I wouldn't have seen this timeline (from PBS's Frontline) of the slow but successful decommissioning of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, enacted to prevent rampant speculation by separating commercial and investment banking functions. In short, the act prevents banks from playing shell games with commercial bank funds to place bets on speculative investments. If the banks crap out on those investments, the eventual ramifications could spell a spectacular collapse on both sides.
It took over 20 years and $300 million in lobbying efforts for bankers to get back to the shell games. The results speak for themselves.
PBS Frontline: The Long Demise of Glass-Steagall