In fact, everybody wants reform. Obama does,and the Conservative Canadian government sees it the means to deal with financial problems. Much-beleagered Goldman Sachs is on board as well: “We believe that sensible and significant reforms that do not impair entrepreneurship or innovation, but make markets more efficient and safer, are in everyone’s best interest,” write CEO Lloyd Blankfein and company President Gary Cohn.
But the real question is – what do they mean by ‘reform’ i.e. what form will it take? And what do they want left out?
An article from Rob Weissman at Public Citizen helps in understanding the approach taken by governments and the financial industry in attempting deal with financial problems and attempting to build the regulatory system.
Weissman suggests that Wall Street wants to: “Confine the debate to technical issues and traditional regulatory questions. Prevent consideration of industry structure and incentives. Protect the ability of firms to undertake high-stakes gambling.”
What needs to happen that isn’t happening? According to Weissman:
1. A strong and independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency
2. Break Up the Banks
3. Clamp Down on Out-of-Control Pay
4. End the Casino Economy
5. No Global Deregulation
So when you hear government calling for regulatory reform, we all should be asking ‘what kind and in whose interest?’