Reining in Wall Street and Goldman Sachs


First it was stopping the abuses and discrimination by health insurance companies, now it is:

“President Obama means business.

He’s committed his administration to reining in Wall Street and creating the strongest consumer protections in history.”

So now we will rein in Wall Street or at least get average Americans to demand it because these days we love to hate Wall Street (not that we need them for our credit cards, mortgages, IRAs, pensions, and 401(k) plans).  I heard Sen Dodd say at his hearing on financial reform that millions of Americans saw their retirement savings wiped out, in some cases in minutes as a result of the financial crisis.  Imagine that, in minutes.  In addition to financial reform it seems to me we need to do more on investment education, promoting diversification and planning for retirement.

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The news headlines about Goldman Sachs would make you think they were ripping off grandma instead of making a non public sale to equally sophisticated investors (or they thought they were). In addition, Goldman was aware of this investigation over two years ago and yet the announcement by the SEC was a surprise to everyone…and apparently well timed.  Go figure.

We hate everyone these days including the “wealthy.”  We seem to forget that these are the people who built America, greed, scandals, union busting, worker abuse and all the rest.

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Working people may do the labor but those robber barons, industrialists, bankers, thinkers and assorted strange people…and yes Wall Streeters are the ones who made things happen. They are the ones who establish foundations and universities, start new businesses, stimulate innovation, give to charities, build libraries, museums and art venues. It would be nice if it were all done in the most ethical way, but we are human and we don’t always act that way.  This is not an excuse for bad behavior or justification that the results always justify the means, but reality is that all Americans have benefited from the actions of the movers and shakers and the wealthy.  For the average person to do well, we need Wall Street to do well.  If you don’t believe that you are either greatly uninformed or a fool (or perhaps a politician).

Hate them if you will, rein them in, but we better be sure the good we all receive is not destroyed in the process.

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