Will Obama push finance reform through after health care?
Health care reform may be in the political spotlight right now, but there’s a crisis of another color that hasn’t disappeared. It bears the color of money, a color that many believe President Obama has fed Wall Street but kept from the common man. One year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Washington Post reports that the president is pushing his plan to reform the way America regulates its financial system. If things change, who will end up marking “pay day” in their ledger?
Is there an exit strategy?
That’s the major question on the table here. Is it the Obama administration’s indefinite plan to funnel taxpayer money into sagging banks, or will there be a path banks can take to heal themselves? Government spending is at its largest percentage of our national economy (26 percent) than it has been since World War II, state the New York Times. The U.S. Government is also our “biggest lender, insurer, automaker and guarantor against risk for investors large and small.” How long can that continue in a nation that supposedly thrives on competitive balance, where private enterprises have a chance to make hay in a fully capitalist system?
It was a depression
And Obama’s Wall Street plan kept us from total collapse. But we’re in holding pattern time now; the taxpayers must not be the main reason banks keep their doors open. If a recent AP-GfK poll (see http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090914/ap_on_bi_ge/us_meltdown_ap_poll_3) is indicative of the temperature, “seven out of 10 Americans lack confidence the federal government has taken safeguards to prevent another financial industry meltdown,” and 80 percent see our economy as “poor” at this very moment. Politico speculates that financial legislation could be buried by the health care reform debate and opposition by big business groups that have benefitted from the current artificial stimulus. When will relief reach the common man? Is President Obama’s Wall Street plan even geared to perform such a task?
Mr. Obama, Wall Street must change its business practices
A pay day for Wall Street has kept banks going, but the systems which led to the financial meltdown are largely still in place. Sure Wall Street has recovered “more quickly than expected,” writes the Los Angeles Times at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-wall-street14-2009sep14,0,318685,full.story. That’s because their greed-centered profit devices still exist, which are designed to help them in the short run without a thought to defending against future tailspins. Obama and the Wall Street pay day simply gave it a jump start. The engine is still corrupt as it currently stands.
Health care: essential reform that may be all we get
President Obama and Congress may not have the energy (and the public may be completely distracted from) the financial regulation issue. A Washington Post-ABC News poll indicates that the president’s recent health care speech before the joint session of Congress has calmed some of the opposition to his reform plans. The Joe Wilson “You lie” dog-and-pony show may prove to be a last gasp in the fringe right wing’s ability to seriously challenge Obama’s plan. Yet some Democrats continue to give that story life by voting on whether Wilson should make a more formal apology on the House floor. America needs a strong push that takes the health care reform issue to a needed conclusion so that Obama can hit Wall Street and make financial reform an equally important part of the agenda. Both issues are essential to the financial well-being of the American people, even if the health care debate is more “sexy.” Honestly, when columnists like Maureen Dowd write that “For two centuries, the South has feared a takeover by blacks or the feds. In Obama, they have both,” how can news about the financial regulatory crisis compete?
People love to foam at the mouth over matters like racism, whether they are real or invented. Financial stuff simply isn’t going to garner the same audience, largely because most American public schools do not provide students with proper financial education. Get kids up to speed on how the economy works and we’d all be looking at a serious pay day then!