On Thursday, President Obama called for the nation’s economic elite to end resistance to his plan for new financial regulations. In a scene reminiscent of his community organizer days, Obama told the Wall Street cognoscenti, “I’m here because I believe that these reforms are, in the end, not only in the best interest of the country, but in the best interest of the financial sector.”

There is no more pathetic display than a desperate parent pleading with a spoiled, petulant child. In those cases, stern and uncompromising authority is the best course of action. Yet it is this meek tone Obama chose to take with the leaders of Wall Street; his protestations regarding Wall Street excesses were far too mild given the economic collapse they engendered.

Perhaps Obama adopted a relatively soft touch because he was dealing with generous Presidential campaign donors. Others may say that the President’s approach was sensible, given his sagging poll numbers and the expenditure of political capital in the pursuit of health care reform.

This is erroneous. Financial reform must be pursued with the same vigorous devotion that secured the passage of health care reform. The economic crisis, combined with the nonsensical bonuses paid to top executives and the allegedly fraudulent (and undeniably sleazy) behavior of Goldman Sachs, has proven that Wall Street needs some exceptionally tough love, which must be administered without regard to the hurt feelings of predatory millionaires.

Comments