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President Shames Banks and Bailouts

President Barack Obama was recently very direct and on target when making his case for financial reform, close to where the economic crash all began—near Wall Street at the Cooper Union, in lower Manhattan. He, rightfully, blamed the fiscal meltdown, only two years ago, on bankers’ “failure of responsibility.” ”The only people who ought to fear the kind of oversight and transparency that we’re proposing are those whose conduct will fail this scrutiny,” Obama said before prominent players in the world of money.

The federal government’s accusation of fraud against Goldman Sachs hung heavily over the recent proceedings, as did some other instances of questionable behavior on the part of financial giants. ”The banks are their own worst enemy,” said the consumer program director for the US Public Interest Research Group (a watchdog organization), Ed Mierzwinski, ”they’ve gotten hooked on greed.”

Of course, financial reform is battling ultra-conservative forces who believe we should all just move on, and not pay any attention to the private sector’s business. And, as was the case in the battle over health care reform, the conservative strategy seems to be to delay any changes—insisting the recent legislative progress be bypassed to start all over again.

”The system as it stands is what led to a series of massive, costly taxpayer bailouts,” said President Obama, “and it’s only with reform that we can avoid a similar outcome in the future.”

The regulatory system, which has sat idle for too long, did nothing but help spawn the worst economic downfall this country has ever seen since the Great Depression.

The three main agencies which oversee consumer finances, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board, left citizens in the dark while banks rolled around in money.

The time for repairs is now; of this, the President is well aware. The battle may be a tough one, but steps must be taken in order to better stabilize our economy and prevent big banks and money moguls from taking any more than they already have. This is one history our country cannot afford to repeat.