Purportedly, President Obama may attempt to shift the focus of the G20 summit from banking improprieties to a rebalancing of trade. While a restructuring of trade is important, Obama is out-of-step with the American public if he diverts attention from the need to cap bank bonuses, heighten scrutiny of hedge funds, and corral the shadow banking system. Recent reports of a power regrowth in the investment banking sector lend support to this concern.
Did Wall Street quake when President Obama recently addressed its elites on the one year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse? Hardly. If anything, some on Wall Street were heartened by discrete assurances that reforms would not go deeply into the evolved architecture of capitalism.
In September, 1901, Vice-President Teddy Roosevelt uttered his memorable adage, “speak softly but carry a big stick.” Shortly thereafter, President McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist, making TR at age 42 America’s 26th president. As president he failed to speak softly at times but did carry an executive bludgeon. His legacy still shines because he swatted at the insolence of his own party as well as Democratic interests. Our current president would do well to consider Teddy Roosevelt’s example in matters of economic justice.
President Obama’s national health care agenda is big, bad, and bold. It is also better in various important respects than what we have currently. However, it is fatally flawed. The seriousness of the flaws outweighs the plan’s efficacies and virtues. As a result, the U.S. Congress should reject this legislation and address the fact that the nation consumes too much expensive but ineffectual health care.
President Obama's financial regulatory reforms will bring positive, meaningful changes to the way Wall Street does business. For this he should be commended. Nevertheless, the reforms fail to do enough, are not suitably instrumented, and sidestep systemic change. The reforms serve to affirm Wall Street's position, increasing the odds that Wall Street's grip over America will continue. This means more elitism and less true justice. The wealth and power gap between working Americans and the privileged elites of Manhattan Island will remain unjustifiably wide.