Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Obama's response to the Wall Street crisis

I do want to say something about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's response to the Wall Street crisis. This is from The New York Times:

Mr. Obama sought Monday to attribute the financial upheaval to lax regulation during the Bush years, and in turn to link Mr. McCain to that approach.

“I certainly don’t fault Senator McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to,” Mr. Obama told several hundred people who gathered for an outdoor rally in Grand Junction, Colo.

Mr. Obama set out his general approach to financial regulation in March, calling for regulating investment banks, mortgage brokers and hedge funds much as commercial banks are. And he would streamline the overlapping regulatory agencies and create a commission to monitor threats to the financial system and report to the White House and Congress.

On Wall Street’s Republican-friendly turf, Mr. Obama has outraised Mr. McCain. He has received $9.9 million from individuals associated with the securities and investment industry, $3 million more than Mr. McCain, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group. His advisers include Wall Street heavyweights, including Robert E. Rubin, the former treasury secretary who is now a senior adviser at Citigroup, another firm being buffeted by the financial crisis.

A couple of points here. First, Wall Street is starting to give more to Barack Obama than John McCain. My thinking here is that Wall Street is betting that Obama will be elected president, and the campaign contributions are a means for the Street to ask Obama to go easy on the increased federal regulations. I don't know what a President Obama will do with increasing federal regulations and oversight into the financial markets, but it certainly seems to be a better approach than the disastrous eight years of Bush deregulation, or McCain's call for a "9/11 style" economic commission that will do nothing.

And this financial crisis, caused by the subprime mortgage collapse, is just getting worst. American International Group is now on the verge of collapse. And even though the Federal Reserve is refusing to bail out AIG, and AIG bankruptcy is going to send an even greater shock wave through Wall Street, potentially sending even more banks and investment firms into their own financial crisis, and possibly their bankruptcies. I'm thinking that in 2009, the American taxpayer will be picking up the tab on this financial mess, regardless of who is elected in the White House. So the question now is, do you want the taxpayer to pick up the tab on a financial industry that will continue to remain deregulated, and Wall Street greedy business as usual, under a McCain administration? Or do you want the taxpayer to pick up the tab on a financial industry that will have stronger federal regulations and oversight under an Obama administration?

The choice is yours.

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