Wall Street Reform: Obama gets it right... almost

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  1. GA Anderson profile image89
    GA Andersonposted 4 years ago

    First and foremost; for you folks that like to comment on Political topics like this,  I highly recommend a book by Suzanne McGee called Chasing Goldman-Sachs - You don't have to be a Wall Streeter to understand it.

    There is a lot more to the Wall Street meltdown story than you will find in a quick Google search.

    Moving on... Pres. Obama's 2009 proclamation that he was going to reform Wall Street. Most folks familiar with this effort think Dodd-Frank, but I think the most basic, and hence fundamental change was the proposed Volcker Rule, which struggled into existence as an amendment to Dodd-Frank.

    Its essence was to prohibit commercial banks, (the ones that accept deposits) from engaging in investment bank, (the ones that get their money from investors - not depositors), activities. (anyone remember Glass-Steagle?) One specific prohibition disallowed commercial banks from engaging in proprietary trading practices. (creating their own debt products - like those toxic CDIs and CDOs and other mortgage collateral packages)

    I think Mr. Obama got it right - he nailed Wall Street's share of the blame to the foreheads of its owners - the bankers.

    But, gee willikers, guess what... the Volcker Rule still has not been implemented!* Over 4 years later! The government was finally forced, (by a law suit), to set a final, final implementation date of April 1, 2014!

    *neither have some inportant functions of Dodd-Frank

    His regulatory agencies have to own a big part of the delay responsibility. And his legislature has to own the blame for the final watered-down version of the rule, and of course there were/are the lobbyists and special interest efforts, but...

    The road to hell is said to be paved with good intentions, and Pres. Obama's were obviously good, (and I agree with them), but why did he allow his initiative to founder around until what could have compared to a glass of robust Merlot now looks more like a paper cup of Koolaid?

    ps. interested folks really should read the book. It is an easy to understand overview and and (I think) unbiased summary of the root causes of the meltdown.


    1. rhamson profile image75
      rhamsonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      The meltdown was inevitable as banks were creating debt and trading it like it was liquidity. A large part of our assets (US) are debt based and the banks were hungry to cash in on the hoopla. Another interesting book to read as it relates to the worldwide meltdown is "Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis". It speaks to the rest of the worlds trading especially in Ireland, Greece and especially Iceland where the markets were traded by former fishermen. Suspending the Glass/Steagall banking act as a result of the 1929 stock market crash was the beginning of the feeding frenzy that took place soon afterwards. Why is it that our greed overrides our knowledge of history and we keep repeating it? The wisdom of Glass/Steagall proved to be a very valuable safeguard against the same thing repeating itself. The cost of the US government continuing to buy toxic assets is hardly mentioned as a continuing addition to the National Debt because of the veil that still hides what these assets are really worth.

      1. GA Anderson profile image89
        GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks for the book referral. I will add it to my "Wanted" list.

        The toxic asset purchase point would be good fodder for another thread since it seems the FED may have purchased Toxic Assets as late as... now? No End To The Fed's Asset Purchasing Til 2014...Maybe"

        But to the point... Are the administration's reform efforts doomed to be no more than PR band-aids?


        [edit] To clarify... I do blame Pres. Obama for not pushing his reform package hard enough - it was the right and necessary thing to do. Imagine what he could have accomplished with an effort similar to what he gave Obamacare... But the nuts and bolts blame, I think, lies with the legislators compromised by their lack or integrity. They are the ones obstructing and watering down the reforms.

        1. rhamson profile image75
          rhamsonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          It is hard to place the blame on either Obama and the democrats or the republicans for not instituting the reforms that Obama proposed. The donation trough was pretty equally distributed to both parties and as the old saying goes don't bite the hand that feeds you. As of recently the trend is more towards the republicans as shown in the graph below.

          http://www.opensecrets.org/news/assets_ … 10251.html

          Money is the lubrication that makes the whole political system in America work. And nothing is decided until that is worked out.

          1. GA Anderson profile image89
            GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            Makes sense that as the "Free Market" proponents, the Republican increase in donations took off around 2009-2010, right after Pres. Obama announced his reform plans - Wall Street was/is trying to buy allies.

            But... this was still before the Dems lost control of the House, and the big majority lead they had in the Senate, hence my criticism of the Administration for not pushing reform hard enough when it would have been easiest to attain. This criticism by no means diminishes the Republican culpability

            Is the reality that government cannot effectively control Wall Street? Is it like the computer virus problem - for every safeguard and firewall anti-virus coders create, hackers create a work-around or code breaker?


            1. rhamson profile image75
              rhamsonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              I don't know if it is a matter of control as complicity seems to be the indicator. What with the Citizens United edict and the unaccountable donation system that has been put in place there is a true possibility of a hostile takeover of the government by the corporations and billionaires who organize. Maybe a bit dramatic but there are many underhanded things happening with regards to the combination of gerrymandering the vote and PAC's that are unprecedented in recent history. As long as we the electorate wrestle with each other with the moral issues (Gay Marriage, Abortion, Etc.....) the running and positioning of the government is in their hands.


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