Not content with having forced through health reforms against extreme and vitriolic political obstinacy, Barack Obama is turning his attentions to the much-needed reform of the banking sector.
It is a much repeated phrase in America, that “Main Street must never again be so reliant on Wall Street”, and it is the hypocrisy and self-indulgent ideology of bankers that will now come under genuine, tangible scrutiny for the very first time since the global economy crashed almost 2 years ago, as a result of the fraud charges brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Goldman Sachs.
In a few days time, Barack Obama will debate his banking reforms with The Senate in another round of hand-wringing, shaking of heads and venomous attacks on this “Communist” by Republicans and, even, some Democrats. It is no surprise that the timing of the charge of fraud being brought by the US SEC against Goldman Sachs is so aptly timed, and it is for this reason that I state that this will be the first tangible scrutinisation of the industry since the crash.
Up until now, Governments the world over have quite rightly focused their minds on saving the banking sector, utilising public sector funds in which to do so, thereby ensuring ordinary tax payers are not left totally bereft due to the actions of a small number of self-centred imbeciles. Only now, given that the global economy has stabilised, and investigators have had time to build water-tight cases, is the time right to bring lawsuits against those who brought the crash to bear.
In my opinion, it would be the wrong thing to do if banks and bankers had demonstrated some sort of remorse or indeed willingness to change their worst practices. However, the fact that Goldman Sachs have a huge $20bn war chest to dish out in bonuses this year speaks absolute volumes. They haven’t changed. They will never change. Unless they are forced to change through structural, regulatory and litigious force.
And that’s why this legal action brought against Goldman Sachs, and all the subsequent legal actions that will be brought against a variety of the worst offenders, is a hugely unfortunate necessity if the global banking system is ever to be rebalanced in favour of the ordinary man on the street. It is hugely unfortunate that this is necessary, because I believe that this legal action will be the spark that ignites a double-dip recession.
With the threat of legal action against fraudulent collusive practices between and within the murky worlds of hedge funds, investment banks and market analysts, the banks will once again close up shop, strangling the liquidity necessary to stimulate and fuel business in every corner of the globe. This will lead to another bout of job cuts, misery, and bankruptcies, as well as create a catalyst for further lurches towards extremist and non-mainstream political parties.
However, it is a legal action that, despite the short- to medium-term pain, is absolutely necessary in the longer-term. Just as America will have to go through huge amounts of pain to restructure it’s health system, the World will have to suffer yet more pain while the global banking system finally gets the attention it has deserved ever since bringing the economy close to total collapse.
Barack Obama is making very tough choices, and shying away from not one single battle.
He is the President that America needs, and he is the American President that the World needs.
All power to him. I believe his legacy will be unparalleled.