9/26/2012 3:19 PM ET|
How Obama failed to rein in Wall St.
Commentary: The financial sector is more influential and dangerous than ever, thanks to the president's poor choices and advisers.
If you plan to vote for President Barack Obama this fall, you have plenty of reasons: foreign policy strides, a health care overhaul, the auto industry rescue and women's rights, to name a few.
Others of a different political persuasion may not agree. They might argue the president's efforts in these areas were misguided and wrongheaded. But there's no denying the Obama administration actually did something to address each of these issues.
You don't need to ask the fact checkers, though, to know the president has done very little to rein in Wall Street. If anything, he made a bad situation worse.
Of course, that hasn't stopped the Obama campaign from claiming financial reform as one of the major accomplishments of the president's four years in office.
Asked about that claim, the president's re-election team cites some effective-sounding legislation: The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and, as part of that law, the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The CFPB may turn out to be a worthy foil to big finance, but at just a year old, the bureau doesn't have the track record to make a fair judgment.
Unlike the CFPB, it's not too early to say Dodd-Frank has turned out to be a tangled mess.
In the more than two years since it was signed into law, there have been 237 rule-making deadlines. Of those, 145 rules remained overdue as of Sept. 4, and only 33% of the law's requirements of the law have been implemented, according to law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Sure, obstructionists in Congress who have held up funding and rule-making are partly to blame. But the administration should have seen this coming.
Instead of returning to the 37-page simplicity of the Glass-Steagall Act, Democratic lawmakers pushed through an 849-page measure aimed at regulating every business, every transaction on Wall Street.
Dodd-Frank has served only to fatten law firms and compliance consultants. It has created almost no effective safeguards against modern risk, such as the trading of "hedges" of the sort that cost JPMorgan Chase (JPM) more than $5 billion in losses and put taxpayers and depositors at risk.
Nor does the law offer any sort of preventative medicine against companies such as Jon Corzine's MF Global, which filed for bankruptcy 11 months ago after losing $2 billion in customer cash.
In short, Wall Street regulation has left us essentially as vulnerable as we were under any previous administration. The only difference is that the too-big-to-fail banks are bigger and more concentrated than ever.
Two institutions alone, JPMorgan and Bank of America (BAC), have swallowed four huge financial companies: Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch.
The only institution capable of limiting Wall Street's influence is the federal government. But the Obama administration has embraced bankers or bank-friendly officials in government.
They include William Daley, the president's chief of staff, who joined from JPMorgan. One of his first statements was to say that when it comes to pushing for jail time for Wall Street CEOs, "politicians should not get involved."
Obama also hired Lawrence Summers, whose record in the Clinton years included killing derivatives regulation, lowering capital-gains taxes and repealing Glass-Steagall.
Of course, one of Obama's first appointments was Timothy Geithner, the Treasury secretary, who had a record of spending far more time dining with Wall Street CEOs than the customers of their banks.
With a team like that, it's no wonder Obama blew a once-in-a-generation chance at strengthening the financial system.
With the pain of a stock-market plunge, double-digit unemployment and lost wealth still fresh in the American consciousness, Obama pursued his social and political agenda -- health care, Iraq, an economic stimulus bill -- and left finance to the finance guys.
Had he pushed harder to save borrowers who lost their homes to the banks -- there have been 3.4 million completed foreclosures and an additional 1.49 million in the process -- Obama might have not only won more votes, but also helped the economy.
So, if you're going to vote for Obama, don't do it because he cleaned up Wall Street. If anything, it's more influential and more dangerous than ever before.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
The "Too Big To Fail (or Jail)" banks are about to destroy the entire financial world.
The big banks should be broken up, derivatives should be banned, and Glass-Steagall should be re-instituted, which requires separation of investment banks and commercial banks which accept federally guaranteed deposits.
This president has presided over the worst economic recovery ever. If he gets re-elected it will prove how stupid the majority of voters are. Under his leadership, there are fewer people in the middle class, more people in poverty, more people on food stamps and Medicaid, and a wider gap between rich and poor than when he started 4 years ago. And he wants to finish the job. What does he mean by "finish the job"?
Nobody, including Obama, wants to fix the ills in the banking system.
They are all insiders in this game, and the green tide that finds it's way into their pockets, has infected their brains with greed fever.
It's only the rest of us, the masses, who are being royally used.
If you plan to vote for this fall, you have plenty of reasons: foreign policy strides, a health care overhaul, the auto industry rescue and women's rights, to name a few."
LOL....these are the exact reasons why Obama has failed!
Foreign policy - middle east is worse off and they hate us more than they did Bush (Polls prove this)
Health Care - will be the death of this country...it will financially sink this country and people will be pi$$ed about the HC they receive
Auto Industry - GM is not saved..infact the tax payers now owe billions of $$ becuae of it...
Womens rights = taxpayer paying for birth control now??WTF???
The Fed and Ben are putting the country on the way to bankrutcy with near free money for the banks and the tax payers are going to pay for this. Wall street is on a run with the Fed printing money and we will pay for this. What a country!!!!
Foreign policy strides? Dead American ambassador and 3 dead seals. Breached american embassies. Apology for being an american. I think Obama should add a new federal holiday, National hug a Muslim day.
Women rights. Oh yes free contraceptives for all.
Healthcare overhaul. Another program most do not want and another program the country can't afford.
He addressed every one of them with something boneheaded. What a incompetent fool. No wonder libtards love him.
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