Time to Raise Up Our Voices
As we continue to debate major shifts from deregulation toregulation in areas like Wall Street, mining industry and oil industry reforms,I thought it might be a good time to:
- have an uncomfortable flashback to September, 2008 (articles like this one from MSNBC entitled “30 Years of Deregulation Ends in Sudden Death” might jog your memory.)
- reflect on the many innocent lives lost in mining “accidents” over the years
- try to put our heads around the environmental and economic damage now being inflicted thanks to the BP oil disaster (not to mention the lives lost.)
It frustrates me when I see commentators on financial programsor talking heads trying to paint the Obama Administration/the Fed’s as being overzealousin going after Wall Street with ethics and criminal probes or pushing forgreater oversight and regulation. How dare the government hold these bigcorporations accountable when it’s been working so well without penalties andregulation for so long, right? Just look at some of these patterns/charges/cases pending. Itbaffles the mind that some would defend such behavior. It is also shockingthat the government had a role in promoting this irresponsibility over theyears. So much for protecting the American people and our environment.
Just check out these headlines.
(From CNBC )
(From Business Week)
Off Shore Drilling
(From NY Times)
When I read these articles from The Hill and The BuffaloNews I was reminded of how lobbying and greed led to this lack of regulation/enforcement and how desperately we need to change the system. The authors makea strong case for regulation.
(from The Hill article)
Too many taxpayers bought the Republican mantra that regulation isexcessively costly for both business and government. Congress repealedbanking regulations, then Wall Street gambling imploded the U.S.economy. Now, after that painful fact, Congress is trying tore-regulate banking.
It is so much cheaper to regulate andenforce than to pay for clean ups. Just like banking, that’s true forindustry, which has repeatedly shown it can’t or won’t regulate itself.And clearly the free market fails to regulate business behavior, orRepublican Rubio wouldn’t need to propose taxpayers bear costs of acorporate-caused catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
(from the Buffalo News article)
Most people know the outlines of this problem. Lenders were offering mortgages to prospective home-buyers who couldn’t really afford the costs. Simultaneously, big financial institutions were dealing in financial instruments known as derivatives, whose structure purposely masked their level of risk. Investors who bought them didn’t know what they were getting.
Those factors, and others, caused the national financial infrastructure to seize, triggering massive job losses and drying up tax revenues to state and local governments. Without the prompt action of the Bush and Obama administrations, what became the Great Recession could have been another Great Depression.
Americans get it. They know what happened and they know Congress needs to act to prevent it from happening again, at least as much as possible. But the financial industry is lobbying mightily against new oversight and Republicans are once again digging in their heels, preferring to oppose anything the Obama administration proposes than to contribute to his success, even when that is the same as the nation’s success.
...But the main goal has to be to prevent another financial calamity such as the one that continues to drag on the state and national economies. If lawmakers need to be aware of New York’s reliance on Wall Street revenues, they also have to keep in mind that the state has paid a heavy price for the economic meltdown. Albany has fared worse than most states as the recession has deprived the state and its municipalities and school districts of the money they need to operate.
There appears to be some hope that at least some Republicans in the Senate will acknowledge that need for new regulations on the financial industry, so that the inevitable filibuster doesn’t prevent what Americans understand is needed. Too much time has already passed since this crisis gripped the nation. Congress needs to get busy.
If it is not already too late, I hope and pray that thistime, with all this evidence piled up against deregulation, the specialinterests and big corporations won’t win again. This time we need to make ourvoices heard-too much is at stake.