In his address to Wall Street, President Obama channeled the public's anger, admonishing it for "reckless" behavior with taxpayer money. "Those on Wall Street
cannot resume taking risks without regard for consequences," he said. But columnists say the president's words are not enough.
- First, Someone Needs to Slap The Grin Off Wall Street's Face, Eugene Robinson snarls at The Washington Post. The Dow may be rising, but, "the stock market rally is cold comfort to a worker who just got a pink slip." Robinson says the regulations aren't enough to keep the "Masters of the Universe" from taking stupid risks with taxpayer money.
- Enforce the Rules Already on the Books, says Jonathan Weil at Bloomberg. "Taxpayers have not earned a 17 percent return on their investment in companies that have accepted federal bailout money." Weil says banks will never police themselves, but argues that before setting up new regulations, the government should enforce the ones already on the books. He says the president can, "restore long-term confidence in the financial system is enforce the rules and laws already on the books. A year after Lehman's collapse, it remains common knowledge that the asset values of dozens if not hundreds of publicly traded financial companies remain grossly inflated."
- Regulate the Hell Out of Them, Nomi Prins says at Mother Jones. "Simply funding the banking system without reforming it is an expensive and dangerous game. Obama is capable of truly fixing things--by dividing up the Wall Street mega-banks with a new Glass Steagall Act, thereby enabling the success of more extensive regulatory reforms."
- Don't Forget About the Unemployed, Bob Herbert writes at The New York Times. "Fifteen million Americans are locked in the nightmare of unemployment, nearly 10 percent of the work force." Herbert says the relief on Wall Street is "understandable," but for millions of working class and poor Americans, the economy is still a waking nightmare. "It's eerie to me how little attention this crisis is receiving. The poor seem to be completely out of the picture."
- Grade the Banks Like We Grade Colleges, William McGurn suggests at The Wall Street Journal. "Forcing these firms to compete for customers the way the college guides do would give us better ratings--and fewer investors lulled into the complacency that comes from thinking Uncle Sam has done the due diligence. At least when it comes to ratings, the Groves of Academe have a thing or two to teach our captains of finance about competition."