One of the many reasons I am depressed September 10, 2009 at 10:43 am
I believe the brain trust behind the Obama White House has made a huge tactical error.
As Rahm Emmanuel likes to say, one should “never waste a crisis” — and the White House has done just that…
There was widespread popular support for a full reform of finance. What the White House should have pursued was: 1) Reinstatement of Glass Steagall; 2) Repeal the Commodity Futures Modernization Act; 3) Overturning SEC Bear Stearn exemption allowing 5 biggest firms to leverage up far beyond 12 to one; 4) Regulating the non bank sub-prime lenders; 5) Continuing high risk trades to be compensated regardless of profitibility; 6) Mandating (and enforcing) lending standards, etc…
Instead, we have a White House that appears adrift, and the most importantly, may very well have missed the best chance to clean up Wall Street in five generations.
I agree with the conclusion: and it is deeply depressing for those of us who have devoted a lot of energy to arguing for reform.
Ritholtz’s prescription isn’t quite mine: I am less convinced about the benefits of a Glass-Steagall style split, not least because many European banks managed to be universal without being dangerous; rather I would prefer to see action to split up too big to fail institutions, combined with increased regulatory capital requirements that really constrain leverage for all systemically important risk takers. But the details don’t really matter: doing something does.