Regulations

Obama's No Roosevelt

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt wasn't afraid to make Wall Street angry as he radically reformed the financial system. According to a smart piece by The New York Times' Joe Nocera, Barack Obama is no Roosevelt. While on the surface, Obama's financial overhaul looks revolutionary and covers an impressive amount of real estate, from derivatives to insurance companies, the reforms are actually banal. Banks that are "too big to fail" will be regulated more, but their right to exist was not challenged. Plain vanilla derivatives will be traded on an exchange, but the "bespoke derivatives" that ruined the economy will simply be put into a clearinghouse where their price and trading activity can be seen. The new bank supervisor position simply combines two smaller agencies. At core, Nocera argues, "once the financial crisis is over, it will, in all likelihood, be back to business as usual."