A Rumble with Wall Street ... That's a Fight We Should Welcome

News & Politics

It does not matter whether President Obama's pronouncement on financial reform this week was prompted by Tuesday's election disaster in Massachusetts or was a long-building unleashing of his inner populist. What matters is the potential for real White House leadership on changes that must happen if we are to have a stable, growing economy on Main Street. This is the fight for which we have to bandage our wounds and pick ourselves up to win.

All you have to do is look at the Wall Street reaction to Obama's short speech to get a sense of what's at stake. The reaction, on business news sites such as CNBC, borders on hysterical. "His ideas to put a straightjacket [sic] on the banks and the key to funders of business in this country will once again be a growth killer," harrumphs Chip Hanlon, president of Delta Global Advisors in Huntington Beach, Calif. and the proprietor of the right-wing website RedCounty.com.

What growth is he talking about killing? Surely not lending to Main Street businesses and consumers, which shrank by $500 billion last year, according to Federal Reserve Board — enough, by the way, to offset all of the federal spending budgeted in the 2009 Recovery Act over 10 years.

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