Not one of Obama's bright and shining moments, here. He's been very good in some ways, and very bad in others (particularly in personal liberties). Regardless, he's who we have, and is still far better than the alternative with which we were presented in the election.
I had really hoped, though, that he would be significantly better in corporate governance. Bush was a disaster, and perhaps he's better than Bush was, but he certainly hasn't been good.
And his current, "Yes, we emptied the treasury to save these companies once, and, by golly, we're not going to do it again," rings just a little bit hollow. He's right that we need regulation, and really, we need it sooner than 4 years from now, but he doesn't exactly have any credibility on the, "We won't do it again".
I'm fully in agreement with Robert Reich that we need to split up these too-big-to-fail companies as part of any regulation. And frankly, we need the regulation before these companies fall on their faces again. Given the state of the economy, they can't do well over any significant time frame.
What they're doing is just continuing the concentration of wealth at the top of the pyramid. My biggest hope with Obama surrounding the election, and the reason why I decided to vote for him as soon as he threw his hat in the ring, was that he would arrive with far fewer IOUs than any president in history.
And that might still have been true, but he certainly hasn't acted like it. Healthcare reform is showing some signs of bucking that trend, but a mandate without a public option would be the biggest possible way of continuing that trend. And he has shown at least some signs of finding that an acceptable end of the debate.
I sincerely hope not.
But to get back to the financial sector, and leave healthcare alone for the moment; think about this column from Robert Cringely. He's mostly an IT-industry commentator, but he had a really good thought here. Unfortunately, I wish the thought had come about early enough to be useful. It would have been a fantastic way of breaking the chain of concentration.
To be sure, it still would have concentrated things a little bit (since rich people have more expensive homes), but nothing like what ended up happening. (In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that my wife and I would have made out quite well on this idea, but the point is that it would have been far cheaper, and wouldn't have put all the money into the hands of the already-obscenely wealthy.)