The Second Act

The financial system is the second part of the great reforms that President Barack Obama is seeking to achieve. The backlash from those who have opposed health care reform continues, and the attitude of those who lead it goes beyond any political logic. Trying to reverse a reform that more than half of Americans see as necessary and that for a good number of them is a solution to their health problems is an irresponsible attitude that borders on stupidity.

Now comes the reform to the financial system. Unlike health, it has no immediate effect or direct impact on ordinary Americans, for whom health is something more concrete and routine than the fluctuations of the stock market, financiers’ fraud and mismanagement of money, or the collapse of the financial system. For Americans, the U.S. financial crisis is the result of the inability of those organizations responsible for overseeing the proper functioning of financial institutions that allowed a group of white-collar criminals to pocket millions of dollars at the expense of their savings, their homes and the nation’s debt. In this context, the rescue that the country was forced to make to a handful of the largest financial institutions was viewed with little sympathy, because the consequences will be equally paid by all of us. What’s more, they noted with astonishment how senior officials in the rescued institutions were granted million dollar bonuses, with the same rescue packages they received from the government.

The reaction to this absurdity provided an opportunity for Obama to launch a reform initiative that is meant to regulate the self-indulgent conduct prevailing in the financial sector. As expected, he was accused of meddling in matters that relate only to the private sector, and of course, the Republican Party again brought up the claim that there is a socialist president in the White House. What for some is a government intrusion into the privacy of financial institutions, for others is an absolute necessity.

However, what they do not understand is why the president insists on keeping the two characters, who in the recent past have had a close relationship with the financial sector, in charge of economic affairs, when the financial problem still does not appear to be fixed. It is not enough to tell the public that those responsible for government economic policy should be the ones with the most knowledge about the intricacies of Wall Street. In their eyes, both Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, as well as the chief economic adviser to the White House, Larry Sommers, have been excessively courteous to the financial institutions, which, incidentally, were responsible for U.S. economic collapse.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply