The White House Wants to Hear From Fools

The entire financial services industry got a regulatory nastygram from the administration at 2 p.m. today when President Obama unveiled his proposal for financial regulatory reform legislation, urging Congress to pass the package by year's end.

In the hot seat are the financial institutions that peddled risky loans, crummy credit card terms, over-the-counter derivatives, and those pesky credit default swaps -- products and practices that, in words Obama used earlier this year, triggered "a cascade of mistakes and missed opportunities" that resulted in economic crisis.

Today's message: Sorry, boys, regulation is back.

The proposal is about protecting consumers: watching our backs when we get mortgages, sign up for credit cards, and shop for insurance. It's also about protecting our way of life. Included in the proposal are sweeping regulatory changes for the institutions that exposed our economy to untold risks.

Legislation like this affects all of us. And right now, you have the opportunity to truly affect the outcome of the new world financial order.

The Motley Fool was selected by the White House to sit down with a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors on Tuesday to discuss the proposal. More on that -- and how you can be involved in our trip -- in a moment. But first, let's roll the tape.

White House to financial institutions: No more shenanigans!
Here's the upshot: The administration wants to create a single agency to set rules and regulations regarding transparency, accountability, and fairness in financial products to protect consumers.

In a video released this morning, Austan Goolsbee, senior economic advisor to the Prez, set the stage for the president's 2 p.m. briefing. It's all about consolidation -- moving consumer protection authority out of seven separate agencies and giving authority and accountability to a new consumer protection agency (the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, or CFPA).

The CFPA will also contain a Financial Services Oversight Council, whose responsibilities will include being a watchdog for institutions that have the power to bring down the entire system, identifying regulatory gaps, and keeping abreast of financial innovations.

In other words, the next "credit default swap" isn't going to slip by unnoticed. "Too big and failing" is not an option, and Daddy is going to take away your car keys and ground you before he'll ever bail you out of jail again. (You can read the official White Paper on Financial Regulatory Reform here.)

Uncle Sam needs Fools!
Shockingly (not!), the White House is getting a lot of pushback from financial institutions.

During a pre-announcement press conference call, Goolsbee revealed that the financial industry's block-and-tackle efforts make health-care lobbyists look amateurish by comparison.

Translation: We need you, dear voting public. "The president is looking to amp up the public pressure on what changes are needed," Goolsbee said. "It's really important that we keep the focus on what is in the public interest. Without that focus, this thing becomes just another bill that is down in the bowels of the banking and finance committees."

A call for questions/comments
In recognition of the engaged intelligence of the Motley Fool community, we have been selected by the White House to sit down with a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors on Tuesday to discuss the proposal.

This is Washington's way of saying that they value the community of investors that gathers here at Fool.com. We've got plenty of questions about the White House's financial reform plans, but as ambassadors of Fool.com, we want your voice to be heard.

This is your chance to speak to the people who are shaping the policies that will affect our portfolios for years to come. Tell us what issues you want to see addressed. Just use the "comments" section below to tell us what we should ask the White House.

The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors. Read about our disclosure policy here.


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:02 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    Universal single-payer healthcare is at the top of my list.

    As to regulation of the finance industry: I'm all for it. Currently it's only the consumer who is regulated. It's time to level the playing field.

    I would also like to express concern that President Obama's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize just reinforces the message that America has the best politicians that money can buy. The president should reject this and all future "prizes" which attempt to reward him for specific behaviors which may or may not be in the best interests of the Americans who voted him into office.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:08 PM, rookiex wrote:

    The most important issue is to eliminate the short term mentality of Wall Street and corporate America. To do this effectively, we must regulate compensation/incentive structures to prevent gargantuan financial rewards for short term improvements in financial metrics. We must instead implement an approach that permits significant compensation only for demonstrable, sustainable growth and profitability. If we continue to allow large incentives for short term improvements, we will continue to have “creative” ways of obtaining those short term improvements—all of which undermine our economic stability. I leave it to the experts to determine how best to do this, but failure to do so will surely result in another economic meltdown.

    Finally, we must ensure that no corporation is ever too big to fail. If it is too big to fail, it is too big—period. No more AIG-like bailouts, ever.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:18 PM, prose976 wrote:

    What a crock of cheese this is. The people of this country have been telling the Whitehouse and its band of foold, idiots, socialists, gangsters, thieves, lowlifes and Nobel Prize Winners (that is the biggest joke of all), what is important to us for years...and we've been louder than ever since Obama was intalled in the Oval Office. But I believe the Whitehouse just wants us to think that they really want to know what we want, by pulling these ridiculous publicity/feedback campaigns. It makes them look as though they are really making an effort ot "reach out" to the common folk, when they don't need to - we have been writing, faxing, demonstrating, blogging, etc. our true wishes for the course of our country for ages. But, we continue down a path of deteriorating morals, economy, rights, liberties, freedoms, and all the other wonderful building blocks that made this country the most beloved of all for a couple of decades at least. The Whitehouse and its "good-will" campaigns to make it appear as though it really has any intention of listening to the poeple is a farce and a disgrace to our the foundation of the United States of America.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:20 PM, prose976 wrote:

    correction: A couple of centuries

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:23 PM, mdtopper wrote:

    Unless we prevent Goldman Sachs from committing the types of atrocities outlined by Matt Taibi's in July 2009, we have no chance of changing anything.

    Greed may be good, but not when mixed with dishonesty.

    not afraid to sign my real name

    Martin Topper

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:24 PM, Hydpdx wrote:

    The financial industry is long overdue for a major regulatory overhaul. Among the things I'd like to see are:

    1. Employee pay needs to be based on company profit. If a company (like Merrill Lynch) does not make a profit in any given year, the bonuses should be zeroed out. This method has been successfully used by the tech industry to reward employees in line with company profits.

    2. Bonuses should be spread out over several years (5-7). This forces people to make good long-term decisions since they need to stick around long enough to reap the benefits.

    3. The amount of cash compensation should be restricted to be no more than 50% of base pay. The rest of the compensation should be in the form of company stock. Employees should only benefit if shareholders benefit as well.

    4. Hedge funds and other non-public firms too should be asked to adopt the above rules as well. Pre-IPO stock (or some equivalent of ownership stake) can be issued instead of common stock.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:29 PM, atxdavid wrote:

    My biggest concern is that we'll "throw out the baby with the bathwater".

    Sure, changes are needed. Sure, major flaws in the present system led to our current economic malaise. Sure we need to align incentives with desired outcomes.

    However, let's not discourage innovation. Credit Default Swaps aren't, in and of themselves, bad. On the contrary, they are a decent financial innovation that was badly misused. Let's focus on limiting the potential for misuse, and not on restricting innovation.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:32 PM, Hydpdx wrote:

    I agree with rookiex on the bailouts - "No more AIG-like bailouts, ever." That's the kind of stuff that encourages excessive risk taking, recklessness and stupidity. Didnt the Fed know before they bailed out AIG that it would be paying Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank $13b each? Someone clearly didnt do their homework or turned a blind eye or had a reason to do it (Hank Paulson...). Those were indirect bailouts to those firms. The Fed could've forced GS and DB to take pennies on the dollar and agree to massive regulatory/compensation changes BEFORE stepping in.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:33 PM, Varchild2008 wrote:

    we should REGULATE everyone on MOTLEY FOOL that thinks we should REGULATE everyone on MOTLEY FOOL and furthermore....

    Lets' REGULATE everyone on MOTLEY FOOL that thinks the STOCK MARKET should be entirely REGULATED along with the CONSUMERS and REGULATE the very ground we all walk on as well.

    heck... Can someone please REGULATE my keyboard?

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:36 PM, auragl wrote:

    Unbelievable. Who is too blame? Seems like the legislation starts at the top, and the blame starts with those that are forced into complying. Maybe we should have reconsidered the idea that everyone should own a house regardless of income or financial responsibility. Turns out that when we force institutions to make loans to unqualified people that the institutions end up with bad loans. Imagine that. So, we blame the institutions and pile on more regulations against them. And of course we don't learn our lesson. Now that we have done in the housing industry, we take dead aim on the automobile industry. Lets put out government incentive to entice people to buy cars that they otherwise wouldn't buy and many won't be able to afford. Will anyone be surprised whe the automobile loan industry starts seeing huge defaults on recently purchased cars? Surely no one is going to be surprised!

    Maybe we should pile the legislation on the government. They seem to be the problem, not the industry that is just responding to the legislsation. How can we develop regulations to curb those that are "protecting" us? Less government, not more government seems to be making more sense, but we can forget about that.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:37 PM, al1952 wrote:

    prose976, I echo every word of yours.

    Thank you for telling it like it is.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:39 PM, coconnor55 wrote:

    I'm leery of going into this too fast. As has been pointed out by many people, good intentions can have unintended consequences.

    That said, stronger shareholder control is essential, as already proposed in the Shareholder Bill of Rights.

    Benefits need to be tied to longer term, multi-year performance, even after you have left a company, so it's not possible to drive a company for short term gain, cash out, and let it fall apart under the next management.

    All investments and securities need to be understandable and the issuers need to be held accountable for managing same. CDOs became completely unmoored from anyone responsible for them.

    I think mark to market, including an agreed substitute valuation when a market temporarily becomes unstable, needs to be phased back in.

    Program-driven trading has gotten out of hand. I would suggest that some time delays be added into the process somehow. Miniscule but enough to reduce the lightning-fast impact program trading can have.

    "Too big to fail" and unregulated markets need to be addressed. All markets need to be transparent and public - no shadow markets.

    With 525 people in effective control of the US government (senators, representatives, judges, and the President), I'm amazed we can't agree on a simple tax structure, simple government, good environmental policies, healthy living, and world peace. :)

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:39 PM, allegra wrote:

    Agree with theHedgehog. Universal single payer is the most important. Saves enormous amounts of money, makes US businesses competitive, keeps us all healthy.

    Go Bernie Sanders. It's my secret dream that someone actually demands a vote on it on the floor and suddenly, everyone dares to vote "yes".

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:40 PM, arpie0 wrote:

    I agree with the above; anytime the gov't wants to "help" one should run not walk the other direction. Now they want to set up yet ANOTHER cmte. that will undoubtedly have a czar ( how many of those do we have now 18?) If you just changed one rule and that is no organization is EVER to big to fail that would solve a great deal of the problems. Obama doesn't have a clue as to how to "fix" these problems and this move is just another ,move to control another section of our country as he is trying to do with healthcare---it has nothing to do with protecting the citizen for whom he has nothing but contempt---otherwise why would he be spending millions---as in MILLIONS flying he and his family al over the world for these frivolous trips. Best thing the gov't can do is STAY OUT OF IT!! Best thing you can do is --STAY HOME.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:45 PM, kal347 wrote:

    It's not just about regulating Wall Street. It's about being more pro-business. There is a lack of commitment to free trade, too much desire to please unions, crazy ideas like a %35 tax on medical suppliers, the need for tort reform in all areas, and not creating tax plans that will inhibit research, business development, and consumer spending.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:46 PM, salsmanistan wrote:

    its hard to let the government know how we want them to address the problem when so few of us understand, (or can agree) on the causes. personally? i will not be looking forward to greatly enhanced regulations on businesses. whether they be corporate giants or not. publicly held companies should be held accountable by the shareholders and we should demand transparancy, but i will very much regret any government enforced size limits on a business provided it isnt a monopoly.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:50 PM, generoyb wrote:

    We have been assured and reassured that Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Christopher Cox were all we needed for adequate oversight. We have seen repeatedly what government oversight really means. Assurance of continuing campaign contributions and when it hits the fan, the taxpayer will come through once again.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:53 PM, dawgnine wrote:

    single payer save money? give me some of that BHO government koolaid

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:53 PM, kedo76 wrote:

    Regulation, shmegulation. All I want to know is why this fool got the Peace Prize. Is everything rigged these days?

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:54 PM, IIcx wrote:

    Top of mind thoughts in no particular order:

    1. Innovation - take a serious look at all the innovation that's "holed up" in government agencies and find a way to get it insightfully to market. This alone could balance the budget within 2 years assuming Congress doesn't spend us further into debt with unnecessary pork...

    2. Tax relief for business - keep industry in the USA but competing to keep industry here. Over taxing business will drive employment to other countries.

    3. Get the States to agree on a single set of curriculum standards for all disciplines and centralize them at the Federal level to make educational products easier to produce. Yes I know, we're a Republic, but why do we need 50 sets of educational standards to drive up the cost of educational products?

    4. Ban naked short selling - its unethical.

    5. Ban TV broadcasting from all government buildings. Please don't subject the nation to further humiliation with any more broadcast Congressional hearings. Or, if you have to hold one, please don't broadcast the foolishness.

    6. If you want to fix Heathcare, start by requiring arbitration in all health related contracts. The lawsuits are killing the system, not the Doctors.

    7. Nationalize Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae - they'll never be able to pay back the loans and the profit should be devoted to paying down the national debt.

    8. Don't introduce any more "programs" until the economy and dollar are sound again and the budget is balanced.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:54 PM, dancinglight wrote:

    1-There are already a number of laws in place that were ignored or conveniently dismissed by the government itself. How about the Feds just enforcing what is already there?

    2-They need to stop undermining the rule of law and allow businesses to fail rather than "partnering" with them. It is immoral for the Feds to "partner" with anything.

    3-Address the out of control national debt. That should be their first priority.

    4-Health care is a service not a right. The problems they are trying to fix were caused by the Feds in the first place.

    5-The Feds are demanding more transparency by business yet they themselves are shrouded in secrecy. Post the bills for the public to read before your vote. How about reading them yourselves Congress?

    6-Stop micromanaging everyone's life.

    7-Wall Street couldn't operate without the explicit permission of the Feds.

    8-You lose credibility when you appoint a tax cheating investment banker to the Treasury. He operates with the same mindset that helped create off the book securities, etc. Why should I believe anything he says?

    9-This dog and pony show of opinion round-ups is disingenuous. Like your socialist policies it is intended to make everyone feel better while accomplishing nothing.

    10-This is a nation of individuals so stop trying to make us into the citizenry of a third world nation with your anti-business policies, your crushing taxation, and your irresponsible spending.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 5:59 PM, topsecret09 wrote:
  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:01 PM, KAYESHINKER wrote:

    I thought the entire idea of being a good American was to carefully read all of the rules and regulations and then figure out a way to get around them. It doesn't matter what the rules are, but it does help if they are clear and precise since it makes it a lot easier to figure a way to avoid them.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:07 PM, anaptownguy wrote:

    I could not agree more with dancinglight. Government should not be considering more regulations until they get their own house in order. I am not holding my breath!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:07 PM, pacificdreamer wrote:

    I agree with rookiex and hydpdx. Also, any new regulatory authority should have a governing, or at least an advisory, board made up of non-industry professionals. GO FOOLS

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:08 PM, XMFRael wrote:

    "we have been writing, faxing, demonstrating, blogging, etc. our true wishes for the course of our country for ages." --

    that may be, prose... still, we finally have an opportunity to get your/our input into the white house... who knows if he'll really listen, but -- at the risk of being redundant -- what should we tell/ask the guy?

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:09 PM, LessGovernment wrote:

    I have a few suggestions.

    National debt ceiling - lower it each year by 5% and do not allow it to increase - ever. We currently do not have a debt ceiling. What we have is an authorization process to spen more.

    Socail Security - Either fund it or abolish it - and do so before creating another entitlement

    Medicare - Either fund it or abolish it - and do so before creating another entitlement.

    Health Care - Basicall, encourage competitiona dn tell the government to get out of the way.

    Encourage Competition among insurance companies at the Employer: Employees should be able to select any insurance carrier they want to use for their employer sponsored health care coverage. This will encourage more than a couple insurance companies to bid on the business resulting in increased competition among insurance carriers. The employer will no longer be allowed to make the decision as to which insurance company an employee can use. Welcome to the 21st century. Computers will make this easy to administer, so do it. An now, with the employer not being allowed to dictate which company is to be used, there will be more competition and more choices for the wide array of individual needs that are contained in the employee pool.

    Encourage Inter-State Competition among insurance companies: Companies and individuals should be free to contract with any insurance carrier in any state. States should no longer be allowed to keep this from happening.

    Encourage Competition among insurance companies for governmental agencies: Federal, state and local government health insurance benefits should be subject to a bid process with televised openings of bids. There should be absolutely no second looks or insider manipulation whatsoever. Government should not be allowed to self insure as this is never done adequately, the costs are hidden, and the unfunded costs simply flow to more debt. Force the government to use private sector insurance just as the private sector that is footing the bill has to use. Government employees do not create wealth, they consume it. So let's stop going down the road of having government employees being allowed to have benefits that are much better than those in the private sector which is footing the bill. Government, just like the private sector, should have to use private sector insurance companies for all benefits for their employees and officials. This will not only increase the pool size for private sector insurance carriers, but if the details of the coverage for these benefits are made public, as they should be, then the details and costs will then be available to the private sector creating even more competition.

    Encourage Competition among providers of health care services: No insurance policy for private sector or government should be allowed by law for primary healthcare that will cover more than 80% of costs incurred. This 20% cost sharing on all costs will encourage the patient to call around and get the best deal on all non-emergency care (annual checkups, physicals, preventive care, shots, examinations, and routine elective procedures). This 20% sharing of the cost and the resulting competition among service providers will do more to reign in costs than any government program will ever be able to do. For example, health care providers might spring up that specialize in only one or two procedures and do these and nothing else. Maybe a chain of clinics will be started that does nothing but physicals and through specializing in that one service, bring down the cost. With the cap at 80% of costs, premiums should also be lower since there is 20% less total exposure for the insurance company. Catastrophic health care coverage for the 20% of costs above a certain threshold will be voluntary, but if written, will not be allowed to have any limits on coverage.

    Afghanistan - get out. Pakistan - get in and save this counry. It's that damn simple.

    Financial Reforms - Bring back Glass Steagle. enough said. And while I am at it, "To Big to Fail" is in reality "Too Expensive to Save"

    It seems that too much of the money being borrowed from the Fed at the current Fed funds rate (0% to a whopping .25%) that is supposed to be made available in the form of loans to businesses to spur economic growth, is instead being used by the "too big to fail" to buy short term Treasuries yielding about 1%, meaning the banks are locking in a net yield averaging about .75%. Such borrowings to date are up about 250 billion dollars and that 250 billion dollars is therefore intentionally NOT being made available for business borrowings in a time of already tight credit. Why?

    While there may be a perverse logic to what the banks are doing, there is also a big downside risk. When the Fed has to raise interest rates, this artificial demand for Treasuries will be gone as banks will no longer be able to keep doing this. Said another way, when the Fed has to raise interest rates, Treasury rates will also have to rise. In essence, the Fed is now artificially capping interest rates on Treasuries by ballooning the balance sheet of the Fed (more risk) and allowing the member banks to use low interest Fed borrowings to buy Treasuries instead of making loans. Again, Why?.

    None of this helps in the recovery effort, and is in fact, just creating yet another bubble at the Fed. This is just more of the same from the money brokers that caused the problem in the first place. While this may be a very clever short term (sort of a teaser rate) way to finance our exploding deficits, like all balloons, this one too will eventually pop with massive unintended consequences.

    I said in the very beginning that saving irresponsible banks was the wrong thing to do and that doing so would only delay economic recovery. I have also steadfastly disagreed with my government’s policies of saving institutions that are deemed “to big to fail” because there is a very big price for doing so. That price is much larger deficits due to the inherent delay in recovery caused by following this “fix” methodology.

    Imagine where we would be now if near 0% loans had been made available to businesses (especially small businesses) that create jobs instead of providing "loans" to “too big to fail” institutions. The recession would have ended long ago, and by eliminating the recession, employment would not have dropped so far, and foreclosures would not have gotten so bad.

    When you dedicate yourself to saving bankrupt “to big to fail” institutions, what you are really doing is intentionally delaying recovery to allow the “to big to fail” the necessary time to earn their way out of the hole they so “professionally” dug for themselves. This means higher unemployment and tighter credit (the opposite of what needs to be done in a recession). The higher than necessary unemployment also leads to additional home foreclosures, accelerated drop in demand, and more pressure on the banks who respond with even tighter credit (credit cards, car loans, etc.) guaranteeing yet more demand destruction and unemployment which is also causing the deficits to go through the roof. This is because people that once paid taxes into the coffers of the government are now instead taking money out of those coffers in the form of food stamps, paid job training, extended unemployment benefits, and other safety net programs. Worse still, the unemployed are also no longer paying into the (long financially out of control) entitlements that are also now going bust much earlier than anticipated precisely due to the higher unemployment caused by saving the "too big to fail".

    To add another entitlement now that will only add to the deficits and raise taxes is just indicative of how STUPID Congress has become as the lack of leadership panders for votes.

    In summary, it is my opinion that "to big to fail” is in essence “to expensive to save”, and I now find myself sitting and watching in total disbelief as Congress is responding to the worst economic downturn in a century with tighter credit and higher taxes.

    Yeah. Tell Mr. Obama that for me, will you please?

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:11 PM, topsecret09 wrote:

    If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. Thomas Jefferson

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:14 PM, Bonefish100 wrote:

    Oh, good, another Czar on the horizon. I feel so much better.

    Just enforce the laws that are on the books already, for crying out loud!

    And the Nobel Peace Prize. You've got to be joking. If it is being awarded for placating and showing weakness to those cruel leaders who kill for no reason, who abuse women and children, and destroy whole countries, then they picked the right man.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:14 PM, flying32 wrote:

    You're serious, aren't you. The one problem which is endemic in our Country today is political corruption from the level of your local City Council to the Congress and White House yet you're excited about carrying on a meaningful dialogue with the very people who, because of their "oversight", caused this mess in the first place. Unbelievable!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:15 PM, BMFPitt wrote:

    Stop using my tax money to reward failure. Do not ever bail out a private company. Wind down all GSEs and remove all explicit and implicit backing of them. Let the zombies die. Let housing become affordable.

    Like any of that will actually happen...

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:15 PM, USNHR wrote:

    Limit all bills to address one issue and one issue only. Cut all the pork out.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:16 PM, timstroud wrote:

    NO MORE GOLDEN PARACHUTES!!!!! If an executive of a company performs so poorly that he/she is let go they, should get nothing upon their exit. It is unfair to the shareholders that someone responsible for the devaluation of their portfolio gets tens of millions if not hundreds when they are fired from the position.

    Bonus caps are also on the menu for extremely over compensated corporate executives also. I am all for bonuses being paid to those who make the company and shareholders alike, a profit. these bonuses should be performance based. In other words if your actions lead to a loss, then you get no bonus. It is as simple as that. My bonus is tied to my performance, the better I do for the company the bigger the bonus. Only mine is capped, at $250.00 a month.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:17 PM, nsmtexas wrote:

    The "little people", have been complaining to Washington for years about the unfair, one-sided practices of the financial institutions and it has fallen on deaf ears. So why did it take a major world-wide crisis before they woke up? Because they don't care what we think and are trying to make us believe that they really do. Then PROVE it and put the necessary tough regulations in place to protect the consumer and the financial viability of those institutions. Once that is done, perhaps I (and the not-as-gullible-as-you-think American public) will finally believe in the U.S. Government once again. Until then, pardon me if I am skeptical.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:21 PM, bearbitten wrote:

    Reinstate usury laws

    Eliminate any departments that duplicate the CFPA responsibilities

    Find a way to ensure the folks in the CFPA aren't vulnerable to accepting bribes or whatever to influence decisions, as it appears SEC folk did, in company with most reps and senators, judges, ...

    I agree with hydpdx and dancinglight

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:22 PM, twinclouds wrote:

    I never understand why some people in financial institution can command so much money. Doesn't mean they added no value but are these values justifies their compensation? I don't think so. Something has to be done.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:26 PM, blesto wrote:

    Mr.President,

    I believe you should have a nice long talk with Charlie Munger.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:30 PM, Afthought wrote:

    Greater regulation is not the answer. Enforcement of existing regulations through prosecution and imprisonment of violators would bring a higher degree of honesty to the financial world.

    Why isn't Paulson in jail?

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:32 PM, timstroud wrote:

    LessGovernment wrote:

    "Encourage Competition among insurance companies at the Employer: Employees should be able to select any insurance carrier they want to use for their employer sponsored health care coverage. This will encourage more than a couple insurance companies to bid on the business resulting in increased competition among insurance carriers. The employer will no longer be allowed to make the decision as to which insurance company an employee can use. Welcome to the 21st century. Computers will make this easy to administer, so do it. An now, with the employer not being allowed to dictate which company is to be used, there will be more competition and more choices for the wide array of individual needs that are contained in the employee pool."

    Thank you for that suggestion. I do not carry my employers insurance. I buy my own for the one choice they offer covers less and costs more. All I need is Now is an affordable dental policey and I am good. under my employers plan, I cannot get it seperate even though it is provided by a dfferant company than the medical. It's an all or nothing deal.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:34 PM, LessGovernment wrote:

    Following the last great depression, Congress met and discussed the root causes of what killed the economy way back there in 1929. The result of their findings was that reckless behavior and speculative buying on wall street created a bubble that was not supportable by balance sheet assets. Stocks, banks, and life savings crashed as a result.

    In 1933,

    to keep this problem from occurring again, Congress created some support for the bank depositor in the form of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) and also mandated through the Glass-Steagall Act that banks that were federally insured would not be allowed to engage in insurance and other high risk businesses. .

    In 1971,

    Congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act which permitted Political Action Committees to make larger contributions to Congressional candidates than what was allowed by law for individuals.

    In 1974,

    Congress passed legislation called ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) through which the taxpayer would guarantee retirement expenses for any defined benefit plan that went into default. With this legislation also came the mandate for Congressional oversight through sub agencies which was supposed to make certain businesses fully funded their plans. Neither happened.

    In 1977,

    The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was passed. This "socialist" approach to the mortgage industry was obviously dangerous, and accordingly, the alarm was sounded by New York times writer Steven A. Holmes in an article entitled Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending dated September 30, 1999 (Google it to read it).

    This act, as enforced and regulated, actually lowered the mortgage standards for the entire mortgage industry and helped create the atmosphere of lax enforcement that also allowed shoddy appraisal work, little or no verification of ability to repay the loan, sloppy ratings of collateralized debt instruments, and what later became known as "predatory lending".

    In 1997,

    Congressional oversight allowed Citi Bank to buy Travelers Insurance even though this transaction was in total violation of the Glass-Steagall Act passed by Congress in 1933. Thus the illegal birth of the era of "Financial Services" in which banking businesses insured by the government through the FDIC and other agencies were now to be allowed to get involved in the riskier aspects of financial services such as insurance and investment banking while still being federally insured.

    In 1997,

    Congress granted the illegal new business entity now called Citi-Group an exemption to the Glass-Steagall Act so it could operate in the temporary legal status of violating the Glass-Steagall Act but do so with permission from Congress.

    In 1999,

    the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act was passed basically repealing the Glass-Steagall Act altogether. This piece of legislation, not yet harmful enough, also reinforced the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 in a couple of significant and harmful ways. This was done by withholding Federal Reserve permits for a new branch or to form a new bank holding company if the entity applying for the permit did not rate "high" enough during the latest CRA compliance exam.

    In 2000,

    The Commodity Futures Modernization Act was passed with support from Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and mostly Republican support in congress. What this Act did that was so bad was simply to make most over-the-counter derivatives contracts outside the regulatory purview of all federal agencies, even the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

    With this new law on the books, the market for credit default swaps exploded from $632 billion outstanding in the first half of 2001, according to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, to $62 trillion in the second half of 2007. Mr Obama, are you listening?

    The reader should take note that Congress has at this point has:

    Removed the banking industry safeguards put in place following the great depression

    Forced banks to make what amounts to bad loans

    Forced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lower their credit standards

    Forced Fannie and Freddie to buy the bad loans banks and other loan originators were being forced to make under the Community Reinvestment Act

    Allowed Fannie and Freddie to securitize and sell to the world AAA rated securitized debt that used bad loans as collateral

    Forced (through CRA enforcement policies) the entire banking industry to become politically correct regardless of risk and potential cost

    Failed to regulate the banking industry adequately

    Placed regulation responsibility of international banks onto states for the insurance like activities of the banks (an impossibility)

    Failed to regulate and enforce ERISA law

    Failed to ensure pension plans were adequately funded as required by law

    Allowed government insured banks to get more and more involved in the riskier banking functions regardless of the risk being transferred to the taxpayer.

    In short, Congressional legislation and lack of oversight had at this point put the entire economy on a course to disaster, and surprise surprise, that is just what America got.

    Somewhere along the lines, members of Congress forgot why they are in Washington. I guess the money flowing from Fannie and Freddie and the PAC's is just too tempting to resist.

    And now Mr. Obama, you want to add another entitlement? Are you nuts? In the middle of the most horrible economic downturn in 100 years? You want to pursue a course of tighter credit and higher taxes? Did you learn this in Chicago?

    Well let's just look at how the other entitlements have been managed, shall we?

    When social security was first introduced, it was funded with a 1% tax on the first $3000 of wages, or $30 per year. How has that funding mechanism stood the test of time and plan expansion? Well, today, the bite from payroll taxes is 15.3% of the first $102,000 ignoring the taxes applied above that point which are still substantial, but for arguments sake, I am keeping this simple. Plan expansion has resulted in tax expansion to the point that $30 per year has morphed into $15,606 dollars per year for higher compensated workers, yet these plans are still under funded.

    It obviously makes no difference how much the government takes in payroll taxes, these plans will never be fully funded because the government has not been able to save one thin dime in our 233 year history. And with the government tax bite growing all the time, the taxpayer due to tax creep is now nearing the position, or is already in the position of not being able to save. This is the quandary we now face. The government won't save and the taxpayer can't save so we borrow the money we need to run our lives from countries around the world and commit yet more tax dollars to debt service making the matter worse. This is ridiculous.

    What is even more ridiculous is the president wants to add yet another entitlement, quickly, without due diligence. Why? What is your rush?

    Mr. Obama, please get over it. Fix the existing entitlements first, then cut taxes and get low interest rate loans to flow from the Fed to businesses instead of from the Fed to the banks and back to the Treasury, bypassing businesses in the process.

    Well, I guess I am about done.

    But one last thing. How about me coming to your house for a beer and some candid conversation. I'll even buy the beer.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:35 PM, RFRensing wrote:

    Too big to fail?

    How about the Federal Government and all of its agencies?

    It's long past time to rein iit in.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:38 PM, Gvtindenial wrote:

    I can just see it now...

    A group of Wall Street dudes comes in and tell Barney Frank that they have this great idea on how to get more people into homes. You see, you just lower the credit standards so that everyone can buy a home. Heck, they don't even have to have a job! Credit score? What's that? Who cares? Let's just get 'em into a home!

    Barney says 'Yeah, let's do it'

    Wall Street says 'Hey, we only have so much money, but if you allow us, we'll leverage ourselves 45 times and just create more and get even MORE people into homes!

    Barney says 'Yeah!' Let's do it!

    So, instead of looking at their own behavior, poor decisions, stupidity, immorality, etc., they turn the focus away from themselves and paint all bankers, lenders, Wall Street as the same institutions as they do the 'Pay Day lender' that the nice lady spoke of today at Obama's press conference that ripped her off.

    And, Obama railed against those 'terrible disclosures' that bankers foist on poor unsuspecting consumers. Hey, wait a minute, these are YOUR forms, not ours! These are created by bureaucrats like you, HUD, The Fed Reserve. Our industry has been saying they are too confusing for our customers for years and you have ignored us.

    So, what do you want to do now? You've created a new disclosure that is SO confusing, that it will even further frustrate the poor consumer.

    But, that is okay, because you'll just blame the bankers anyway.

    The bottom line is the Government IS the problem. They ignored wise counsel and let Wall Street go wild and we're all paying the price. Government is not the answer! They are the problem!

    Throw the bums out!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:41 PM, Fliujniligui wrote:

    I am a Canadian.

    For a reason, some hope is there for me that USA will stop being a problem for the planet, on the social environmental financial and political front, and that it will instead become a part of the solution. Since a portfolio is a secondary consideration when unwarranted wars, social unfairness, unrest, nuclear wars and so on are there, I view the new administration work and Obama integrity and willingness to go over lobbyism to sustainably restore its country to prosperity as very positive for my portfolio, since it will certainly help create a world where life is better and so where a portfolio is of any use.

    Yes, money is a byproduct of the value human create, nothing more. And the world, along with USA, seems to be on return to creating value and not seving the money as if it was our Ultimate Finality.

    The job won't be easy, but the results become possible now that the problems are recognized and a tangible will to fix things is emanating from a country that was and is still on a downward spiral.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:42 PM, Bob78164 wrote:

    I'd like the bill to address mandatory arbitration provisions in consumer finance contracts. I think that such provisions are very heavily weighted against consumers. First and foremost, arbitrators don't have to follow the law, and they are powerless to establish legal precedents that the entire industry has to follow.

    Arbitrators are paid by the parties, and aren't paid if the parties don't select them. That means that arbitrators have a systemic incentive to favor repeat players in the system, and that means the banks, not the consumer. Many institutions also place oppressive clauses in their arbitration provisions. The courts will eventually strike many of those provisions, but for many consumers, it's easier to simply roll over.

    The Federal Arbitration Act (which generally makes arbitration contracts enforceable even if they would not have been enforceable under state law) should be amended to exempt pre-dispute arbitration agreements in which one party is a consumer.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:44 PM, lorri1086 wrote:

    First of all we all know that the smartest folks in the country are NOT in Washington DC. I'd like to see a website devoted so that the people of the US can send in their ideas for fixing the problems. Then whichever branch their comments relate to can read them and hopefully get better ideas to get us out of the messes that had been established over many decades. It's the old addage that 4 eyes are better than 2. Also - to fix the debt probelm - lets's go to a flat tax! This really is the only fair way for US citizens to be taxed. I know that's not popular because the weathly have been using the loopholes to not pay as many taxes leaving it squarely on the backs of the middle class. Interest rates need to be regulated to prevent abuses like the payday/title loan repayment schedules - nothing short of legal loansharking! The banks are also paying back the Gov't on the back of the cardholders when they just arbitrarily raise the rates. Those kinds of moves will put the main taxpayers - the middle class in crisis and then a new phase of the recession will start.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:46 PM, KatieColvin wrote:

    I think ALL OF CONGRESS including the members of the Cabinet must be on Ambien CR and have been walking and talking in their sleep! You would think that Harvard graduates would know when they and everybody else in this boat is drowning! Now they expect the states to make up what they are taking away from Medicare in Medicaid! They haven't heard I guess that the States are broke. God help us all!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:46 PM, LessGovernment wrote:

    Gvtindenial,

    I could not agree more. One Term Allowed. Never vote for an incumbent.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:46 PM, JRC0207 wrote:

    I agree with a previous response that the White House doesn't really want to hear what everyone says, only when it agrees with what the WH wants. I'm very tired of our "rock and roll" president who's ego is growing everyday.

    I have a very simple message, get out of our lives, our businesses and particularly our pocketbooks (as well as those of our children and grandchildren).

    Yes, we need Laws to protect people from unscrupulous characters, but people have to watch out for themselves...it DOES NOT take a village!

    If the President wants a new watch dog agency, fine. But, fire two or three of those who are not doing their job today! There should be a Law that for every new agency the government creates they have to close two; and the new agency can have 50% of the staff of the two that are closed.

    As far as executive compensation, keep their noses out of it except where the government "owns" part of that executives company. Citi, GM, Chrysler, etc.....yes, the government is one of the major shareholders and they should play a role in setting compensation limits. But, Ford, JPMorgan, etc. who do not need government money keep out (yes, I know JPM took government funds after they told Jamie Dimon he had to take it). If they want to talk about regulating compensation start with the lawyers!

    Now Health Care....stay out...no public option. Allow the free market and interstate competition to flourish. Figure out a way to get everyone covered but use the free market, not a government agency. The government has proven time and again that they are unable to run any business effectively; all you have to do is to look at Medicare, VA, USPS...etc.

    Thanks for listening. By the way tell Obama and Nany Pelosi that the angry mob is getting angrier.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:47 PM, parcheymex wrote:

    1) Get rid of the SEC. I know we think everything that was done in the 1930s corrected all wrongs. It didn't work. The SEC is irretrievable. Just ask B. Madoff.

    2) Find somebody to be the sheriff of the new financial

    products protection office and have him talk to B. Madoff.

    3) No Congressman shall ever be on a Congressional committe whose wife is on the board of ANY major corporation (Phil Gramm).

    4) We, the shareholders vote annually via computer on board members, officers and chairman.

    5) We, the shareholders vote on compensation.

    6) Reinstate Glass-Steagell.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:49 PM, KJTemplin wrote:

    No matter what we say, the politics of regulatory reform, health care, the war, etc. will inject itself in the process (read nature of the beast) and result in something none of us would buy or approve of if we had a choice.

    So, having said that, I would suggest you pass along to the President's advisers these simple requirements.

    1) Rules based regulation only works until someone games the rules. Think principles based regulation.

    2) Accountability for all, not just those being regulated. The regulators need to be equally accountable.

    3) Regulations cost money - fund it (both direct and hidden costs) before you vote on it.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:50 PM, IIcx wrote:

    Thanks LessGovernment - I've never seen it put so concisely.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:50 PM, valuepenguin wrote:

    Who exactly needs to be protected, and from what or whom? You can't apply for a credit card or loan without seeing what the terms are, whether they are in fine print or not. Those who were "taken advantage of" were willing victims in 99% of the cases; that they now have buyers remorse should not be the concern of the US Gov't. Three cheers for those who recommended enforcing current laws/regulations before imposing new ones. Maybe it would be a good idea if we DON'T give investment banks (who appear to know what they are doing) an exemption from leverage restrictions in the future.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:52 PM, shotgun1942 wrote:

    I have no confidence in Mr Obama or his administration. I think that he is a "born again" Marxist dedicated to destroying this country.

    Hopefully some dedicated patriots will remember that they swore to defend this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

    2010 cannot come soon enough.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:54 PM, naivenerd wrote:

    Stop the Congressman who wants to let AGI off of the hook by renegotiating their loan.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:55 PM, rd80 wrote:

    While we're regulating the industry, don't let them forget to take a look at government and borrowers. Some specific examples:

    Sweetheart deals for members of congress like Friends of Angelo should be treated as criminal bribery for both sides.

    Government officials and members of congress need to be held accountable for comments they make about the markets in public. Examples - Chuck Schumer singling out IndyMac as a troubled bank and Barney Frank's famous "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are sound" statement.

    What role did the legislative, executive and judicial branch play in pushing banks to make loans to people who couldn't pay them back?

    What regulations weren't enforced? Before passing a bunch of new regs, lets see if maybe the laws we have are ok but the enforcement sucked.

    What about the borrowers? Lending institutions definitely failed in performing due diligence on the loans, but why shouldn't a borrower who knowingly lies on a loan application be charged with fraud?

    Revamping regulation of the industry to prevent future repeats is fine, but I don't see anyone in the government standing up and demanding a look into government's role in the mess and how those policies should be changed or proposing a look at what can be done to hold borrowers accountable for willfully misrepresenting facts on applications.

    It took all three to create the mess - an industry that was improperly regulated or watched, bad government policy and borrowers with no incentive to be honest in their financial dealings. Focusing on only one of the three puzzle pieces while ignoring the other two is certain to fail.

    Finally, I have to comment on this quote

    "In other words, the next "credit default swap" isn't going to slip by unnoticed."

    Horse hockey. Someone, somewhere will find a new way to game the system. The regulators won't see it, won't understand it or won't be able to do anything about it.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:57 PM, sociobel wrote:

    Give us a plausible, massive overhaul that puts such

    actions as have plagued our finances, for what looks

    like further than we will live to see corrected, into a

    matrix where overwhelming response of effective

    force is appllied. Don't tell me it can't be done!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:58 PM, AxIt wrote:

    Banks should go back to the job they have been created for: support the development of the private business by lending money at an interest.

    To this end, the capital that banks use in different ways, and specifically in any kind of pure financial operation (down to the "simple" investments in the stock market), may be regulated in some way.

    A simple rule: the overal capital invested in financial operations cannot exceed a fixed percentage of the capital invested in the real economy (lended to main street). Everything that exceeds this percentage has either to be kept in cash (dollars, no forex trading please) or reinvested in the real economy.

    May be too simple but that's just to give the idea.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:58 PM, dcalfee wrote:

    Healthcare: Eliminate all ties between employment and healthcare; Dramatically increase the number of healthcare professionals we graduate each year; Place an urgent care center at the front door of every emergency room.

    Financial: Transparency and fairness should be the

    primary goal of any regulation. The consumer needs protection he has not had.

    El Pavo Real

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 6:58 PM, beacon6 wrote:

    The first thing we need is to get statesmen, as opposed to politicians, back into Congress. Best way - term limits, just like the President has. Say 3 terms for Senators and 4 for Representatives. That way they can look out for the folks without worrying all the time about all the special interest lobbyists and their priorities. Dodd and Frank and their henchmen in Congress have dropped the ball. Perhaps then the overseers will practice true, politically blind oversight instead of looking at it in light of the latest political push, e.g., everyone has a "right" to own a house, even if they can't afford one. (That's what created the mess in the first place!) Their rights are stated clearly as "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Note it doesn't say anything about right to own a house, a car, medical insurance, etc. You have the right to work for it. Period.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:02 PM, gamala wrote:

    I agree with the Obama Plan for the new, comprehensive agency. However, any agency is only as effective as the monitoring and accountability that is placed in its authority. There must be consequences for breaking the rules and they must be harsh so that others do not break rules.

    That includes consequences for the financial institutions and consequences for any corrupt practices attributed to the oversight agency employees.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:03 PM, Moriati wrote:

    The profits made by Wall Street are obscene but, to correct this, surely what needs to be addressed is the "system" that creates conditions that allows rape and pillage to go unchecked. Applying regulations that require opaque derivatives to be clarified would be one step in the right direction. One might even suggest that buyers - e.g. banks - be required to understand what they are buying but how the hell you do that is beyond me!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:04 PM, guiniepig wrote:

    Get single payer, abolish private sector health insurance and let the CEOs and shareholders in these companies go to Antartica. Abolish the far right and give them Mexican or Bangladeshian citizenship and a one way ticket to their new home. The people that don't want to support the government can all move to Somalia.

    Break up all the too big to fail companys into little ones that won't be missed if they go under. Quit giving investers a smaller tax than people that work, I don't like paying 28% while Paris Hilton pays 15% and she makes 100 times what I do in a year. (Before deductions)

    Quit attacking the unions, without them we would have never got out of the robber baron age and the company towns that put workers in vertual slavery. The unions gave us a middle class in this country and the middle class made this the America of the 60s and 70s, Reagan started our fall by attacking the air traffic controllers union and then going after every one elses union. He went all in for the rich and increased taxes on the middle class. The Bushes, especially jr. carried this to where we are today, with the top 1% controlling more and more of the wealth and making the middle class compete for wages with the poorest people in the world. If a company goes overseas, ban them doing sales in the USA. No company paying starvation wages should be allowed in this country.

    This is what would make me happy, if you disagree, get a violin.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:05 PM, whatsafool wrote:

    I have 2 words to deliver to the Administration: Glass Steagall. This law, dismantled by Gramm and his ilk, protected Americans from economic collapse very nicely, thank you, for 50 or so years. Not familiar with it?

    How about this: banks should legally be ONLY lenders OR investment entities. No more blending. No more "too big to fail". No more free bail outs - ALL taxpayer bail out monies must be paid back, with interest, before any banking institution can legally pay any bonus to any executive or other staff. Pay us back *first*.

    And - Wall Street executives should never be tapped to design and oversee anything like TARP again. They are not the only people who understand national finance, but they are the very people who help create this crisis.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:05 PM, DDHv wrote:

    NO company should be big enough that its failure will damage the economy. Limit any to 10% of any market they are in, maximum!

    The genius of our constitution is: a federal government that is strong, but only allowed to work in a limited number of areas. All rights not explicitly granted to the federals are reserved to the states and the people! We should start using the constitution again instead of figuring out bypasses.

    The government should have easily understandable laws and regulations. Try this: have every law read and summarized by high school seniors - if they can't explain it adequately it is an automatic did-not-pass.

    Require every ballot, to be legal, to have an entry that is "None of the above." If this gets the most votes, the election must be rerun, and none of the candidates on the first ballot can run again.

    To summarize, responsibility requires that accountability and authority be in near balance.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:07 PM, whereaminow wrote:

    Just tell them to listen to Ron Paul. That would be a good enough start for me.

    If they laugh, tell them to go out and get a real job and stop sucking the life out of the taxpayers.

    David in Qatar

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:07 PM, Hydpdx wrote:

    Those who are concerned that pay/compensation reform in the financial industry could hurt innovation should take a look at the tech industry.

    The broad tech industry pays bonuses spread out over several years to encourage long term performance.

    The broad tech industry zeroed out or significantly cut bonuses in 2001 and 2008 based on company profits.

    A lot of the pay is in the form of company stock so that employees are rewarded when shareholders too are.

    But have these really hurt innovation? No. On the contrary, the tech industry has produced a long and consistent streak of extremely successful and REAL innovations.

    The financial industry too will only benefit from compensation reform.

    Less regulation is in general better but probably not in the face of some questionable practices that can have wide-ranging ramifications on the entire economy.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:07 PM, whereaminow wrote:

    Just tell them to listen to Ron Paul. That would be a good enough start for me.

    If they laugh, tell them to go out and get a real job and stop sucking the life out of the taxpayers.

    David in Qatar

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:07 PM, DrewGamble wrote:

    Hey, LessGovernment who do you think covers federal employees? The government? Medicare? Or do you really think that federal agencies "self insure"?

    How about Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna? We have an exchange, with only private providers. Our coverage is subsidized by our employer, just like three quarters of the country. Our employer just happens to be the federal government. In fact, it is exactly what you want to see... private sector v. private sector competition. If an insurance company screws us, we pick a different plan a few months later.

    Now, you obviously have a good time bashing the federal government, and that's just fine, but do a little bit of homework, eh? You're no better than the idiot leftists who think Congress has some fantastic single payer system that works great, but they don't want to share with anyone else. You know the type, "Oh, Senator so and so doesn't mind government run health care when it benefits him...." BS!

    GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES' HEALTH CARE IS PRIVATE SECTOR HEALTH INSURANCE! THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT FEDERAL EMPLOYEES GET TO CHOOSE BETWEEN SEVERAL DIFFERENT PLANS FROM SEVERAL DIFFERENT PROVIDERS.

    OH, AND PLEASE REMEMBER THAT MOST MAJOR UNION BENEFITS STILL KICK THE $**T OUT OF FEDERAL ONES...

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:08 PM, footchester wrote:

    100% funding and full pay-back of all money borrowed from Social Security

    single payer health care ("medicare for all)

    'defense' budget should cover defense of USA, not 'team america, world police'

    executive compensation - what is enough, 100 times average company employee? not enough, how about 1,000 times average employee? A limit will be reached and then the people will do bad things.....

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:08 PM, Julia1234 wrote:

    Be very suspicious of a government that suddenly wants the opinion of us small investors. They have shown utter disregard up until now. Why are they asking us for "opinions"?. They know EXACTLY what we need. This after spending billions upon billions indiscriminately, spreading our "wealth" around the globe and in hand outs to the very "big guys" they claim they want to regulate? Watch carefully WHO they end up regulating. Really. Motley Fool "big wigs" -- Please help us. Don't fall for the "good feelings" of meeting with these scam artists. Don't fall for the "glow" of being chosen to be in their presence. At this point, I fear for our future.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:14 PM, indignent wrote:

    Great comments and points by dancinglight, bonefish100, flying32 and others - we don't need more beauracracy, more government entities that won't solve anything anyway, but just make government larger. Its too large now, wants to be in charge of everthing, and regulate everything we do. Its time for people to take responsibility for their own actions - whether the guy who bought a house he couldn't afford or the government leaders who pushed "everyone should own a home" and turned a blind eye to what happened next. This administration has spent more money in 9 months than can even be fathomed - we are so in debt its mind-boggling - and their answer is to spend more money on things that we don't need, don't want, and won't save any money but just end up costing us poor taxpayers more and more. We don't need government run health care - it doesn't work and is too expensive - just look at the UK... we don't need another regulatory entity or more regulation. Enforce the laws we do have, make the laws and regulation more succinct and without room for everyone's own interpretation. Not even Congress or Senate can understand the health care bills currently out there. Lower taxes, provide incentives for innovation and new businesses, stop spending so much money, and lower the deficit before adding another huge government run program that you have no idea what it will really cost and anything the government touches ALWAYS costs more than they say it will - that has been proven time and time again.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:15 PM, rmsteere wrote:

    Although I dislike regulation on principle, I support President Obama's proposal. Capitalism works just fine most of the time, but events in the financial market the last two years show that the industry leaders have lost all perspective and common sense. Everyone is responsible for seeing that markets work smoothly and market excesses are clamped down on, but the unending demand for more and more profits distorts the picture and virtually forces financial institutions to do stupid things. The greedy demonstrate they do not care about or even recognize that they have responsibilty beyond their own pockets, so unfortunately it becomes necessary to regulate. What a shame, but people are people and our "me first and me exclusively" culture results.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:19 PM, sniksnik wrote:

    Ok, I have not read all comments, so I may be unfair to those who have made constructive proposals. After reading 10 comments or so, I got really fed up. I had not expected Fools to be so negative, suspicious and hostile towards government, which means this new Obama government, I guess. Does nobody understand that the whole mess we're in (financial meltdown, swapping over to the real economy) has been created by the derugulation of the financial markets by previous governments? It started with Reagan, Clinton did the same and Bush as well. Thank you very much Alan Greenspan, you served your derugalating presidents very well. Free market. What free market? Financial markets casino, which led to the crunch. What the hell could Obama do? Nothing, like Rosenfeld during the 1930-ies? Which led to a 5 year recession? Why do so many of you, Fools, rediculize Obama's admistration's reach out to the Fools to come up with constructive proposals? Frustration about the melt down last year? Obama cannot be blamed for that. He is only confronted with the mess and not only this mess. Come on, be fair. Give the guy a fair chance.

    My proposals? Quite radical. Socialistic? No common sense, I believe.

    1. Drop bonusses and stock options. You are paid to do the job, you are supposed to do. Period. If you think you are underpaid, get another job.

    2. Shortselling, options, derivatives, etc. should be eliminated. Real economy is not a casino. Speculation is not productive for the national economy, only for the few people who are lucky. Buy the stock in companies that you believe in and if they do well, you are rewarded or the reverse.

    It is that simple. Anything else is Greed ( I want to be smart and get a lot of money for no real added value). Better play the lotto. That's honest and fair.

    A happy Fool

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:25 PM, pipgoss wrote:

    Every single item of a financial reform bill must be in the best interest of the American economy and taxpayer, not Goldman Sachs, Citibank or JP Morgan. Politicians and their aids as well as regulators should not be allowed to accept lucrative positions at the firms in the industry impacted by their actions.

    Use the Canadian Banking system as a model to reform our banking system. Canadian banks avoided sub-prime mortgages and derivatives. Canadian Bank regulators believed their job was to protect depositors and the national economy.

    Top executives at all financial firms should receive most of their pay on a deferred basis. When I was a commercial banker, we required a personal guarantee from our commercial loan borrowers. If the borrower defaulted on the loan, we could confiscate all of their personal assets including homes, bank accounts and securities. Almost all of our borrowers repaid the loans.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:27 PM, landman2009 wrote:

    Once a fool, always a fool. I keep thinking: where were you guys when I needed you back in 1985? Anywhooo I think we should just move the Stock Exchnge to Seattle, we could do that overnight(they have no furniture), and then watch the fireworks across the bay instead of ringing a d... bell. There is space a WaMu next door to Bank of America, and we could see all the BMW's driving across the nation on Google earth, as the high flyers, speed to the west. All going for gold, in the Washinton State "Gold Rush" same as about 100 years ago, in their Subaru "covered wagons", and a little U -haul bouncing along behind, with all their worldly posessions, like beef jerky and Chateau Neuf du Pap...... ....well you get the point. Why is Wall Street or the "Chiago Future Exchange" so necessary.....you could do what they do, from your home, in your underware, today, thanks to Bill Gates and the new "Cloud computing", which he is very much aware of.

    Something to think about.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:35 PM, treble2 wrote:

    Before putting in more regulations, Congress should clean up its own act; i.e. Charlie Rangel. How can they set themselves up to regulate and judge an industry when he and others are cooking their own books? They don't have any respect from those of us who live our lives by the law. Nancy Pelosi is just as bad - she covers up for the Democrats and vilifies Republicans. When the children learn how to play in the sandbox, then maybe they will earn the right to tell others how to live.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:36 PM, savingtoretire wrote:

    I am all for it. I am not opposed to people making money fairly without taking advantage of those not educated in finance. I am opposed to big gov, but this seems the only way to control the greedy jerks who think the laws don't apply to them. I mean really how much money does one need? After a few million what is another mil. If I had 10 mil any thing extra would go to help the helpless animals around the country. So for once I will support what Obama wants. Hope he does right by the hard working Americans...

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:37 PM, Pepephelps wrote:

    Respectfully submitted. Please leave the private sector alone, we don't need more government involvement. Regulation is how we got here. Why don't you try regulating the government and see if you can control your spending. Or may you can stop forcing banks to loan money to people who can't pay it back. How about starting with Charlie Wrangell? Or should I just send a bigger tax check to pay for his lack of payment?

    If you all want socialism so much, move to the 1 country that works so well under socialism. I think I can hear a pin drop because you can't find one. It doesn't work. Fools. Fool On.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:37 PM, TimAbels wrote:

    The situation:

    The fox is in the hen house.

    The problem:

    The farmer doesn't have a gun!

    Most of the observations above are spot on. But a new bureaucracy will merely cost more. The corruption runs top to bottom and no one is going to really listen. It's still business as usual. Same circus, different clowns.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:40 PM, LessGovernment wrote:

    Hey Drew,

    One more thing.

    If someone has a different opinion than yours, that does not rise to the occasion of government bashing unless you think the first amendment is out of style.

    I don't. I took an oath a long time ago to protect and defend the Constitution, even for people like you.

    Everything stated above in all posts are facts. If you don't like the facts, tough.

    I never stated that ALL Government was self insured. I stated that it should be mandatory that self insurance not be allowed for any government agency. Big difference.

    I have also not seen your televised bid openings and contract awarding process. Did I miss it, or is that something that is not being done. You tell me.

    And where is the positing of the costs of your plans and the benefits covered so your plans can help create the competition that is so dearly needed? I think I missed where that was posted.

    You seem quick to shout down anyone with a different opinion than yours. Too bad. You might have redeeming qualities, but they seem buried under your Marxist outer shell.

    Good day to you sir.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:41 PM, Hydpdx wrote:

    As Fools, lets try and analyze this more objectively - based on numbers. Before we blame the Obama administration, here are a few numbers from the previous years:

    The US debt (per year, NOT cumulative) went from $144 Billion in 2001 to $1.017 Trillion in 2008. The cumulative debt in the last 8 years was $4.3 Trillion.

    Obama has cut back on the Iraq war spending which is estimated to be about $550 billion (not counting the interest we need to pay) or $1.9 trillion including the interest on funding those $550 billion.

    The $700 Billion bailout fund too was initiated by the previous administration.

    The cost of US healthcare (per capita) is far more than that in other countries that provide universal health care. Something's not right and we need to fix it. Let's analyze different solutions/proposals based on numbers.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:42 PM, Jazzenjohn1 wrote:

    I'd like to see the elimination of anyone being able to vote on any proxy issue any shares they do not own or have the specific approval of the actual shareholder, like mutual funds/ pension funds/ hedge funds/ etc.

    I'd like to see the elimination of bonuses for any corporate officer if the company and the shareholders lost money, and for it to be very limited if either the company or the shareholder lost money. Why are we rewarding failures?

    I would like to see the medical insurance system reversed by having the individual patient buy insurance for the right to sue if anything goes wrong with their treatment. If you don't buy insurance you can't sue, if the insurance company deems the doctor too risky, they won't let you buy insurance or charge a big fee ( that might give you a clue if the doctor is any good or not) If you have a history of suing over trivial or frivolous things, you'd pay more.

    Bring back usury laws and limit the ways and amounts of sneaky fees banks can charge.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:46 PM, chattykathee wrote:

    I'd like to see the U.S. on a gold and silver standard again.

    I'd like to see people have to deal with the results of their actions, successful or otherwise. If big bank A goofed up, let it fail - there are others that didn't make the same mistake. If you bought a house you can't afford because you didn't think about, and plan for, bad times, it is a painful lesson, but you can learn from it. It might take a while, but you can buy another house, too.

    Instead of rescuing all the people and businesses that "got in over their heads", reward those that HAVE been responsible and paid the bills, EVEN in this recession. Why penalize me for other people's mistakes?

    Why is it that more and more people are looking for hand-outs, and fewer and fewer are getting off the sofa and working? There are jobs, you just have to be willing to do the work that is available. I provide for my family, in good times and bad; so can everyone else. No one owes you anything. Grow up, accept responsibility for the crummy choices, learn from them, and keep on going.

    Why should the CEO of any company, make more than the president of the USA? Isn't the president basically the CEO of our country? His wage is nothing compared to what CEO's and boards are compensated. Those CEO's and board members are exposed to many other sources of income through their contacts, just as our president is (and our president usually has to wait to capitalize on many of those opportunities, where the CEO or board member does not have the same level of scrutiny and transparency).

    It seems that stupidity, laziness, and dishonesty are being rewarded by our government. Being honest, having a few functional brain cells, living within ones means, having a plan B in case something goes wrong, and hard-working people/businesses are left to clean up the mess.

    We don't need the government to regulate every minute detail of our lives. At some point, people have to learn to take care of themselves.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:51 PM, tolstoy00 wrote:

    I would appreciate it if you could address the proper enforcement against "naked short-selling".

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 7:59 PM, MFUN4 wrote:

    I apologize for those responding that they aren't often using their ingenuity to propose meaningful thoughts at a time when serious thought might actually help us all

    .

    I'd like to reference a MF article for a good start on a shareholder bill of rights. You've probably seen it:

    It's Time for a Shareholder Revolution

    By Dayana Yochim

    October 2, 2009

    Looks like there's been some thought behind it, and I agree with most of the referenced additional articles for further detail. Good luck in your meeting, and I do hope you'll report on it. Dave

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:04 PM, bottomfishing wrote:

    Being a Japanese (with reasonably good English skills) and long time investor in the US equity market, I have a firm reason for doing what I've been doing the past 30 years plus: the abundance of information available to retail investers like me. I am sure there are practically uncountable number of people like me in every corner of the globe. That in turn makes more the reason why America needs to reform the rules and regulations so that people from all over the world can be assured of their investment strategies by obtaining good information about the equities they are (or not) investing in. Having giving up manufacturing hardware other than automobile, aircraft some high tech products, America needs investments from the Rest of the World in my opinion.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:07 PM, Epiphany11 wrote:

    Oh god..where do I begin?

    Dilbert World was a wildly popular cartoon for a reason. I speak from the heart and I'm just going to tell it like it is, people, 'cuz I'm mad as hell and ready to join the "Boston Tea Party, Part II".

    I work in Silicon Valley, and folks, let me tell you - 95% of them are just like Enron and Bank of America.

    1) NO MORE GOLDEN PARACHUTES!!! They should be outlawed - PERIOD. Rewarding someone for failure with shareholder dollars is completely counter to...EVERYTHING - capitalism, the American way..and it's just plain wrong. It's not like they can't live on the multi-millions they've already scarfed up if they get fired. Are we the only country that allows this inexcusable corruption?

    2) INSIDE REALITY. There needs to be something MUCH bigger than the whistleblower program. There needs to be a public website called "CorporatePig.com", where people like me who see the REALITY in these public companies...get to post the atrocities that are happening with YOUR money...this at least might shame these jackasses into behaving. During the pre-dot.com bust, I saw young, arrogant guys burning through shareholder's cash buying expensive autos, $300 floral arrangements for the front desk, fancy restaurant dinners, etc., ad nauseum. Whee, it's a party! Paid for - by YOU.

    3) THE ARROGANCE FACTOR/NO OVERSIGHT. Top-down management is a loser - never works. We need to bring the workers back into this equation - they see the reality. Wasn't there a wealthy corporate takeover guy who once said that the first thing he does when he buys an ailing company he plans on turning around - is he asks the guys at the bottom what's wrong - because they always know. What the guys at the top tell the other guys at the top...is complete distortion to save their own skins and most of those guys never talk to the lower echelons and really have no clue. There are no more ethics - none of these guys ever says or does anything that is in the best interests of America, or even their own company. Complete, unmitigated self-centeredness and greed is the norm. Because, as I recently heard one of our VP's say - "we'll all be out of here by then anyway" (presumably with the temporarily bloated stock options, for which they pulled the usual smoke and mirrors tricks to temporarily drive the stock price up).

    4) CORPORATE INCEST (" THE FRAT BOYS")

    The corruption just goes on and on. Just got a letter from the shareholder class action lawsuit from a former company I worked for and also owned shares in. My current company? Run by the CEO, who hired his good buddy (inexperienced and simply not up to the job), who in turn...hired HIS incompetent buddy for a managerial role...and this "bad buddy virus" (BBV) infects, and can literally destroy a company. Seriously...seen it happen - over and over. In other words - it's a big FRAT BOY Club - there is absolutely NO oversight...because when the guys at the top are all buddies - they all support each other in the lies they disseminate to the Board of Directors...who might just be more of their buddies. Being on your football team at Stanford doesn't qualify someone to run a company, boys. How about - on EVERY Board of Directors - there be an elected representative of the employees? Wow - then the truth might actually be told. Think about it.

    5) BLOATED salaries and stock options. I'm sorry, but as I said, I SEE it in every company here in Silicon Valley. I can tell you...most of the guys who scored on huge stock option gains...were simply in the right place at the right time (or somebody's roommate at Harvard), there was no real brilliance involved. Believe me, you will ALWAYS be able to find very competent people who will work for half a million dollars in these jobs. ALWAYS. And because our economy has been completely devastated - there are even more people available to take the place of these corporate leeches.

    6) REPERCUSSIONS. When you are working with OPM (Other People's Money) - what happened to the sense of fidicuiary responsibilty? There is none. Why? Because, really - there are no real repercussions for doing bad things anymore. What do you get for back-dating stock options? A slap on the wrist...or a Golden Parachute (see above ;>)

    When one of the aforementioned top dogs does some bad doody - there needs to be swift and severe REPERCUSSIONS. Take away EVERY cent - the houses, the yachts, hunt down every last ill-gotten dime and return it to shareholders. In the Enron mess, one of the top scumbags married his stripper girlfriend and kept all of his millions. These wrong-doers need to feel the same pain as the granny whose 401k plan was ravaged and left completely worthless. This goes back to the arrogance-factor and special treatment these "white-collar" swine receive. I say - Give 'em a "ring around the collar"! Ruining a company I invested in with illegal actions and willful cheating based on greed is WORSE than holding up a 7-11. At least the 7-11 guy probably really needs the money.

    I could go on, but.....I have to email my legislators now.

    Remember - the first bailout failed because Americans were so pissed off that congress was flooded with messages.

    DEMOCRACY - Use it or Lose It.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:14 PM, IIcx wrote:

    I'm a Fool, I was so enjoying the comments I only skimmed the original blog message before posting.

    You're asking for comments related to the "proposal".

    I read over the proposal and I'm concerned by the authority it gives without clearly stating details. These are very lofty goals.

    Generally it contradicts itself as it implies the elimination and or consolidation of federal agencies and policies/regulations that fragment supervision thus allowing loopholes yet proposes the creation of more agencies.

    Proposal seeks to:

    (1) Promote robust supervision and regulation of financial firms.

    (2) Establish comprehensive supervision of financial markets.

    3) Protect consumers and investors from financial abuse.

    (4) Provide the government with the tools it needs to manage financial crises.

    (5) Raise international regulatory standards and improve international cooperation.

    Note: "The proposals contained in this report do not represent the complete set of potentially

    desirable reforms in financial regulation. More can and should be done in the future."

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:14 PM, JTKASBEN wrote:

    I comment on HEDGEHOG... how ethnocentric of you... this isn't just about the USA.. there is a WORLD out there.. and now there is HOPE for that world..it's not all about "me". You must not be a person of the WORLD..

    How refreshing that our leadership is a humane individual.. interested in making the entire world a better place. I don't feel the "free to be" bankers/hedgefund mgr. had any interest but their own in mind when they sat out to earn their many $$$'s. It is most important that this new agency find the "Obama's" of the country to sit on this "board" and keep the playing field level for ALL americans. I am most hopeful that this is one administration that can do it. thanks for letting me have input. jrtk

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:15 PM, cordwood wrote:

    Mr. President:

    Reg of financial services,whatever,all involve the medium of money-The ultimate regulator of which is the the govt. via taxation. Institutions and individuals spend countless labor and time to decipher and finagle the tax code for their benefit-a code that contains,what,6,000 pages[?[. The code is complex primarily to allow politicians to fund their their favorite supporting voters,institutional and individual,via special loop holes. Complexity is is further increased by Govt.wanting to hang carrots to "guide" the citizens in their daily lives.

    Until the Fed. really simplifies the current tax codes such that all income is taxed by a single tax rate, w/o regard for the source,[progressively if you will],it is foolish to discuss financial/monetary regulation .

    Cut the endless show boating in our Govt.and do something with the bloviated tax structure which obscures the financial landscape be it bonuses,lending practices,investments,healthcare etal.

    Yeh,Mr. President,reinstate Glass-Steagle-dismiss the conference,then mandate a complete change in the tax code...You said on April 16,2009 ,"We will rewrite the.. monstrous tax code...to simplify...eliminate special interests...

    DO IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:18 PM, professorjimB wrote:

    Start by eliminating lobbyists-period.

    Make campaign contributions by companies illegal.

    Then set term limits-2 for senators, 6 for Reps.

    Establish a straight forward modified flat tax-25% over 100,000 per person, declining scale below.

    Eliminate the tax books, deductions, and regulations, and loopholes, including capital gains and income deferrals.

    Set corporate tax rates as same.

    Add a choice of health care options, including a governmental type program used in the military.

    And add an approval type agency like FDA for financial products.

    Then require public companies compensation programs to be tied to performance and approved by stockholders.

    And we will all have a cake which everyone can have a piece of.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:23 PM, purplespirit wrote:

    I am all for regulations. While the government can be as dishonest as the people it employs, it is more difficult to steal with checks and balances.

    Single payer heath insurance!

    Single payer health insurance!

    Single payer health insurance!

    I am a physician for an national health care plan. I care about people getting good health care, not about who makes money where. The government runs at least three socialist medical programs now. The military, the VA, and the indian/prison health care systems. Having worked in all of these at one time or another, I would be happy to receive such good care. Right now I can't even afford a decent health care policy for myself and dependents.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:23 PM, PaintItBlue wrote:

    I agree with the idea of regulating the financial industry.

    Universal single-payer healthcare. Leaving 2.5 million people without coverage is not acceptable. If the insurance companies start screaming, too bad. They have probably been planning for this for years, anyway.

    Don't give in to xenophobia. Someone commenting on health care on the New York Times site said it better than I could (possibly this person has a background in epidemiology.) I'm concerned that this fear of undocumented immigrants will cut off other people at the same time - children of immigrants, Americans of color, sick or injured tourists, people here legally, the person who looks foreign and lands in the ER minus his wallet, etc. I do not mind if this means caring for some undocumented immigrants. Would it really matter if someone's nanny got treated for a nagging cough? Besides, my parents got really good care when they got sick while traveling in Europe. So why couldn't we return the favor (or pass it on, whatever.)

    Please do what you can to get people back to work. So many people are unemployed, but there is a lot that needs doing. People are having a hard time out here. Find a way to employ some of the young people too & get them going in a good direction, and maybe it'll help cut down on the gang problem.

    Can we (big "we", obviously this will have to include the people in the countries involved) figure out how to undercut & defeat the Taliban & Al Quaeda without endless war? What is it that pulls (or pushes) people in that direction? I don't like to think about the Taliban taking hold somewhere; women under a regime like that have no kind of life. I don't like to think of another Vietnam (only with sand) because I've known too many people who came back from that one all messed up. Besides, I've got young nephews.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:23 PM, sfun wrote:

    Creating a single governing body for our diverse financial system is a recipe for disaster. It will put too much power in one body, and will lead to manipulation by special interests - whether political or financial. We inherited today's problems by letting Congress pull the strings of the lenders (Fannie and Freddie) as a means to accomplish their political goals. The more broadly distributed the regulatory system, the less one person or group will be able to manipulate it. I want all parties - consumers and providers - to have the ability to invest with confidence and integrity.

    That is best accomplished in a free market and a market free of unnecessary and burdensome regulation and interference. We already have a system of regulations. What broke down was not the system, it was the the people overseeing the system or even intentionally distorting the system for their own purposes.

    Government was a major contributor to the problem in the financial system in last several years, and more government and more centralized control is not going to make it better. That goes back to the "doing the same thing and expecting different results" mentality.

    If Fool wants to do something for its members and the country, work to free the system from additional and stiffling government regulation. We don't need government choosing winners and losers, deciding who is too big to fail. Failure is the natural complement of Success. There cannot be one without the other. In fact, Failure is often the prelude to Success - just ask Thomas Edison how many times he failed to make an electric light bulb.

    Fools should stand for a system that gives each of us the freedom to succeed to the fullest extent possible!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:29 PM, MLinvestor wrote:

    I am dubious of this effort to increase regulation, not because the system is infallible to another major collapse, but, rather all of the regulation presently in place didn’t do anything to avert the crisis we are going through. From people figuring out workarounds, unintended consequences, regulators “asleep” on the job, and chummy relationships with the regulatees, history shows that, in spite of regulation, we will most certainly go through major crises in the future. That said, it’s hard to stop a freight train. So, I would suggest the following broad ideas:

    Require all homebuyers to come up with a 20% down payment. Require all loan originators to keep 10% of a mortgage’s value on their books. They can sell the remaining 90% to Wall Street if they wish. Require Wall Street to keep 10% of the value of mortgages they bundle into securities……….and so on and so forth to mitigate moral hazard.

    I doubt if we’ll ever know if any of these behemoth banks/insurers that got in trouble were actually too big to fail or if bailout nation was just a big scam. If they in fact were/are, they should be broken up or Glass-Steagall should be reinstated for too-big-to-fail institutions or some other solution to this problem should be implemented. NO MORE BAILOUTS!! Every time I think about last fall I want to puke.

    To top it all off, any new regulation must not stifle innovation and creativity in the marketplace. I know, I know…………this is probably in contradiction to the above suggestions.

    Respectfully,

    MLinvestor

    10-9-09

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:29 PM, drilldrilldrill wrote:

    The goverment needs a formula to calculate how much 1 person can borrow period. I go to bank and before I go I already know based on this formula of calculations how much I can afford to borrow. May even be a new credit report from government just for borrowing power. If married then new formula adds both peoples report. I rember getting many many offers for credit cards, home loans etc. more than I could afford. NOOO! Now if had this new report it wouldn't matter because of new credit power report tells how much credit I can have. I can't start a business with a bunch of credit cards, etc. To me this is just the basic stuff. Easy fix due to crazy banks and greedy credit card lords.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:36 PM, PaintItBlue wrote:

    Sorry if I posted twice, the first seemed to vanish...

    Universal single payer health insurance!!! 2.5 million left out is NOT acceptable. Having to pay more than the rent is also no good.

    Please also do what you can to get people back to work.

    Also people need to find a way to undercut & defeat the Taliban & Al Quaeda without endless war. What pulls - or pushes - people in that direction? I don't like to see the Taliban taking hold somewhere; women under a regime like that have no kind of life. I don't want our young people go through all the stuff that people of my generation went through with Vietnam. Too many vets came back all messed up. And I don't like our drones bombing weddings etc. We can't treat this like a video game.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:37 PM, Edfinn1 wrote:

    1. Insure transparency. Derivatives are securities and should require at least the same levels of disclosure and transparency for offerors, underwriters and sponsors. The key to risk evaluation and reasonable risk taking is transparency.

    2. No one is too big to fail, or smarter than the market. If institutions have cross collateralized fancy new instruments, or designed new instruments too complicated to be explained and underwriten in a reasonable way, its a fraud, a ponzi or fattening. Allowing banks to get "too big to fail" by dining on incomprehensible derivative instruments is a recipe for enriching a few for a while to an obscene degree, then watching the house of cards crater. To think anyone is too big to fail removes all discipline from the market, and rewards the insiders, management and entrenched few concentrated shareholders who cause huge losses to the market and the country. Before bailing out the too big to fail, the salaries and bonuses of top management should be refunded for several years, their options extended so they can only be exercised in ten years, and the money saved used to create jobs for the 10% unemployed who did not take home six and eight figure bonuses.

    3. Stop the regulatory shopping that allows an AIG or Enron to opt for regulation by the most captive, least able agency. Break up any entity that is too big to fail, and restore discipline to the market.

    4. Make rules and stick to them. Market discipline only works if the management and ownership of the failing enterprise loses. Bail outs of banks, car companies, insurance companies or anyone else only sets up a bigger round of bad judgment and/or thievery to come.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:40 PM, starbucks4ever wrote:

    The White house wants to hear from Fools. Not.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:46 PM, nicho91 wrote:

    Watch out for Obamacare of any sort that claims to want to protect YOUR dollars.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:48 PM, xetn wrote:

    END THE FED!

    END ALL GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION IN PRIVATE ENTERPRISE AND PEOPLES' LIVES!

    RETURN TO A FREE-MARKET GOLD COIN BASED CURRENCY!

    END THE IRS AND THE INCOME TAX!

    enough said!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:50 PM, IIcx wrote:

    Amending my original recommendations as they fall within the language of the proposal:

    Top of mind thoughts in no particular order:

    1. Innovation - slowing the pace of new financial products to include oversight and compliance with Federal regulations is a good idea. But, for some odd reason, the IRS before we had computers comes to mind. Will this put them into a competitive disadvantage and if so why would they stay in the USA?

    2. Please ban naked short selling with the proposed consolidated regulations that represent a single set of statutes for all markets. IMHO, the consolidated regulations should create jobs as it will require a new expert to interpret them as they change.

    3. The governments future role will be defined related to Freddie and Fannie. Hopefully, we will break them up into smaller parts that represent proposed best practices and take the government out of them.

    Overall, the proposed ideas, as far as they go, make sense and should help to prevent future crisis situations but will require several new agencies and staffing increases. We can't afford not to pursue the solutions.

    Any idea what this one is going to cost in relation to cost savings from eliminating Federal agencies that have failed us in the past?

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:52 PM, jpknlnd wrote:

    PLEASE....No more regulatory agencies! You can't give everyone in Chicago a job! Stop spending NOW!

    This country cannot afford your fixes.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:52 PM, colleencyn wrote:

    CONSUMERS LOSE

    Don't be fooled. The regulations in the financial industry is not for the consumer but the investor.

    With all the new regulations and "predatory lending "

    regulations that filter down to the private investor loans, I as a private money broker cannot help anyone financially if it is on an owner occupied home anymore. Second trust deeds in the pivate sector are almost non existant. So if someone can't get a bank loan, which are now the majority, and Wall Street Fabrication of secondary market ("hard money" without the collateral underwriting needed) )and all the regulations that came down because of them, the consumer is out of luck. EXEMPTIONS PLEASE. We are not all the same. People that can';t qualify for the bank have emergencies that could be handled by the private sector, but no more...Regulated wrong target. My investors know what they are investing in.

    They go look at the real estate. DRE handled it fine with 2 disclosures, one for investor and one for borrower. Now , they won't lend to anything owner occupie. Colleen Loan-Solution Inc.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:52 PM, dymty wrote:

    Wages need to reflect the overall profitability of the company. Whatever 'bonuses' are handed out, must be shared equally. Profits need to be examined on an extended time frame basis. These measures will help insure that (most) everyone contributes to the success of the business and is able to enjoy the reward for hard work. Yes, yes; this does sound a lot like communism, now doesn't it? So it comes down to whether or not we still cling dearly to that most famous of Wall Street paradigms, "Greed is good."

    The root of greed is fear; fear that one is less because one has less, fear because that's all there is and I better get mine before it's all gone. Well, welcome to the planet: please check your ego at the door. For all that wish to burn through all there is because they won't be here tomorrow, good luck with that. People are waking up to the fact that unless you do something about it, you're going to eat yourselves out of house and home. And unless something is done, your days ahead will be far more painful than anything you've experienced so far.

    So for all the naysayers who claim that it's not worth it, that nobody will do anything anyway, that clever people will still find ways around regulation, that the well has no bottom so why worry, keep pounding your drum. Because when you've got nothing left at the end of it all, be surprised that someone will still give you a hand up.

    Keep in mind that if profits had been shared, interest rates needn't have been dropped like pants to the floor. With a real wage, people could still afford to save for a real down-payment, send their kids to college AND make monthly house and car payments. But since profits are paramount, wages are kept artificially low and no one can affor to buy anything. Thusly in walks Wizard Greenspan and flushes rates down the terlet, just to get people buying again. Brilliant! And here we are. How's that dollar doing, BTW? And now WE'RE suppose to become a nation of exporters! Just like we harped on China for being a few yeas back. Okay then; I'll let the Wizards of Wall Street figure it out. For me, I don't need it, so if it goes away, I won't miss it. Have your heroin, and enjoy the trip. And when the crash comes, someone will still come around and hold your hand. That's what real humans do.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:55 PM, ReadEmAnWeep wrote:

    It would be great to see a system with more transparency. We should have a system that rewards the stock holders (watch those big bonuses and send the money to the people that actually own the company).

    Having a smaller tax on things such as dividends and long term gains will also help change the focus from trading to investing. That will improve the health of the stock market.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 8:56 PM, xetn wrote:

    As if anything we say will matter. This from a lying Pres that promised change and the only real change is more of the same crap that Bush delivered.

    I don't believe for a minute that anything we say will matter because this is just politics.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:00 PM, llp47 wrote:

    I would like to see more responsibility taken

    on the part of our government officials and

    corporate heads.

    The problems facing this country have been coming for 30 years and our congressmen and senators have been too busy trying to fund their campaigns

    to get to the business of the country.

    IN corporate America there is no loyalty except to the dollar. Not just from the top but also from the employees. Companies have to make money to survive and grow. We have to curb the bonuses unless they are for performance and growth.

    Banks should not be in insurance and brokerages.

    They should be in the business of making loans to

    reputable small business with the potential for growth.

    If we want jobs in our communities we need to support the businesses that create them. We need to become responsible for our own actions again.

    We need to improve our education system, how can we grow as a country if our students are not keeping up.

    Read the tax code if you can stay awake long enough

    I used to be anti flat tax, but I am starting to see the benefits.

    People who can work SHOULD WORK. And if you are underemployed after a layoff you should be able to collect a reduced amount of unemployment.

    Thanks for letting me vent

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:02 PM, eaenglish10 wrote:

    Audit the Federal Reserve

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:04 PM, louiswilliams wrote:

    I just had to shut down my small business due in part to the cost of health care. I am hearing single payer proposals being shot down as a way for government to take over healthcare while universal coverage is being slammed as socialism.

    Yet we already have a version of single payer (Medicare) and a version of Universal Coverage ( Military). So you have the two highest risks groups being covered by our government, while the third highest risk group (the poor) are picked up by state-run Medicaid programs essentially underwritten by the federal Government.

    So you have a system where our government assumes the majority of the risk and pays the most while HMO's are allowed to cherry pick...then we complain when our costs go up. So I have two questions really:

    1.) Given the above conditions were the government assumes the people in the highest risk areas why are we surprised that our healthcare system is in this position.

    2.) If our society is saying that Universal Coverage (VA) is good enough for the people and their families that serve this country, why is there SO much opposition against a single-payer or government run plan.

    PS: If your answer against a government run plan is that it causes unfair competition, than please support your answer by showing me why private insurance companies are incapable of adjusting their costs and operational structure to compete.

    Regards,

    Louis Williams

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:13 PM, d2mccarthy wrote:

    Were I given a prize that included such luminaries as Al Gore, Jimmie Carter, BHO, I would run for cover and the last thing I'd do would be invite Motley Fool to come to the whitehouse and focus on a new problem when I was the biggest problem facing this nation! d2mccarthy

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:21 PM, LoboWolf2 wrote:

    Basically most of the protections which were put in place after the big depression have been removed by special interest and our foolisch elected officials have been shortsighted enough to add requests from special interests into bills.

    Put the regulations back!

    This 2008 Recession costs us too much, to just sit back and believe nothing needs to be done.

    Having somebody at the helm of the Fedreserve, who believed that "The market regulates itself" didn't help either.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:23 PM, mxctlr01 wrote:

    1. No one is to big to fail. Run a good business or let someone that can step in.

    2. Severely limit exec compensation....40-50 to 1 vs the average worker is an insult

    3. Never, ever allow the government to screw the American taxpayer again with a conflict of interest like Hank Paulson did.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:23 PM, lmhinds100 wrote:

    I only have questions, no proposals for new regulation:

    1.0 Who will regulate Barney Frank and Chris Dodd?

    2.0 Why are Fannie Mae and Fredie Mac still in business?

    3.0 Why are there so many federal agencies regulationg the financial industry? Why do we need the SEC, the CFTC, the FDIC and the Federal Reserve all in the mix?

    4.0 How can a bureaucrat mnaking $100K a year regulate the CEOs of banks pulling down millions?

    5.0 Why does the administration not ask Congress to reinstate the separation of banking from securities underwriting a la Glass Steagall but without the loop holes that existed in Glass Steagall?

    6.0 Can the administration ask Congress to repeal the CRA?,

    7.0 Why is the Federal government running the automobile industry and large parts of the financial industry? Who will regulate the Feds?

    8.0 What did Sarbanes-Oxley accomplish? Are we again going to go through the motions?

    9.0 Who will regulate the increasing rise in the national debt, which in 5 years could be 100% of GDP?

    10.0 Why were existing regulations not enforced prior to the meltdown?

    11.0 Why is the Fool so excited about talking to the administration in light of the above? What does the Fool think he/she will accomplish?

    A baffled professional Fool

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:33 PM, hegibson wrote:

    All advice up to this point has been foolish. Someone once had the idea to declare a year of the Jubilee every 50 years, in which all debt was forgiven and property was to be returned to its original owner. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was debt redistribution. But hey, the economic mess is our own doing. It is all a matter of paper. I think that the Nobel Prize Winner should declare a year of the Jubilee in which all debt is forgiven, the government forgiving even its own debts. Then we can start off with a clean slate. In another 50 years we can do it again. Cool, eh? Fool on!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:34 PM, Sammyb9er wrote:

    1) We need real teeth in Shareholder Rights legislation. The management of companies manage the companies for us. When Corporate Boards appointed by CEO's running the company reward those at the administrative level whether corporate short- and long-term goals are met or not (some, like Washington Mutual, reset the goals lower so Killinger could reap a bonus) there is no recourse for investors short of selling the stock.

    For long-term investors in good companies, this is not a desirable course. Boards, COB's, CEO's, etc, must be responsible to their shareholders and not to management. Just because they can run companies into the ground while rewarding themselves handsomely doesn't mean they should.

    2) Contrary to assumptions made by some individuals here, many people in this country need more easily understood financial products. Mortgages, stocks, bonds, credit cards, and so on are SOLD to consumers. Not everyone is capable of understanding what they are getting. I have two brothers and a sister I would not trust to sign any contracts for me or commit me to a financial situation.

    Some of you believe, incorrectly, these mortgages, CDO's, CBO's, and all the other financial devices that nearly tilted us into the "shitter" were the fault of the politicians and you have absolved Wall Street of responsibility. Are you so blind as to discount greed in others? Can you not see it in yourself as well? I know I am greedy in trying to make a profit but I do not want to profit by ripping others off. Like a bomber pilot, investment bankers are disconnected from the damage they can do because they never really see or feel the consequences.

    I once bought an investment through a company my CPA co-owned. The investment, made in 1984, was for tax credits and rental returns in Low-Income housing. Both my CPA and I are fairly sophisticated investors and yet, for all our investigation and care in ensuring the investment was constructed properly per IRS regulations, we were ripped off.

    The CEO went to jail but not before he stashed cash off-shore, flew in a corporate jet, and lived a lavish lifestyle at the expense of us and everyone else who invested in his products. Now I could blame the Reagan Administration for allowing this to happen because it was encouraging investment in Low-Income housing through tax incentives, but it wasn't their fault. Was it my fault for investigating carefully and using my CPA to ensure my investment was secure? Or, was it the fault of the individuals SELLING these products and intending to commit fraud?

    Many who were selling Liar Loans and Collateralized Debt Obligations say now they knew what they were doing didn't feel right but everyone was making money and everyone else was doing it. Just because you can get someone into a mortgage because you can give them a Liar Loan, doesn't mean you should.

    3) There must be some leeway in granting credit. Not all of us, all the time, fit neatly into a particular credit category. While we can regularly fit into neat categories, we should not be prohibited from extending ourselves just a little outside the box, else we shall never be able to fail or succeed in some creative ventures. We learn and grow from our successes and failures. We just should try to avoid mass successes (bubbles) and failures (punctured bubbles) through oversight but not overkill.

    4) If corporations and businesses can go bankrupt, so should we individuals be able to go bankrupt without being penalized excessively. Credit card companies won the right to hound you to the grave. If they are going to extend us credit, they must manage risk by not granting credit to those of us who cannot handle the risk.

    Further, if I am reading the statistics correctly, most bankruptcies in this country are due to illnesses, a consequent loss of income, and bills, medical and otherwise, that cannot be paid. I have my qualms about some of the Health Care proposals being offered by Congress. I have had negative experiences with a single payer system. However, something must be done because in the near future, I may not be able to afford health care in this country. If it comes to that I will end up retiring outside the US and taking whatever retirement dollars and Social Security monies I can with me. Plus, at the end point, I do not want to debate my doctors about whether or not I should have more or less painkilling drugs or if I should be in a home. Put me on a beach and let the tide rise.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:42 PM, jpsauvage wrote:

    Memo to: Les Misérables

    From: J.P. Sauvage

    Date: October 2009

    Subject: Futile rantings from the hinterlands OR Reasons for the formation of a PVC (Political Vaccination Committee) OR Its time for the vigilantes to ride.

    I came to the last election with 60+ years of cynicism and, for a change, a miniscule spark of hope. Post-election, I saw more of the same: unpunished domestic terrorists, special interest-driven pork-riddled legislation, and the continuing gang-rape of the American citizen/consumer/taxpayer. Without a doubt, the greatest threat to the security and well being of the United States is the United States Congress, with corporate America a close second. Knowing who own Congress, I would not strenuously object if the pecking order were reversed. Please join me in Voting Against The Incumbents, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, or political perversion. VENI, VIDI, VATI - Viva NOTA!!!

    Lemme see if I understand the prevailing socio-economic principles as they apply to us masses:

    • We are supposed to attend the daycare system for 13 years, where we feel good but emerge semi-literate and totally unqualified for the job our self-esteem says we are entitled to.

    • We must pretend not to notice that dumbing-down has become the rule rather than the exception for public education.

    • We are supposed to be proud of the fact that the US is one of only three countries in the world NOT using the metric system. At long last, parity with Myanmar and Liberia!

    • We must go into major debt to continue our education, thus establishing a financial precedent at an early age.

    • We must work diligently until our jobs are exported to the third world.

    • We must be satisfied with wage and benefit levels that barely (if at all) match the inflation rate, while executive compensation soars.

    • Normal supply-and-demand does not apply to our wages because of offshoring and the lack of immigration law enforcement.

    • We must give back wages and benefits so that corporate incompetence can continue with geometrically escalating executive compensation.

    • We must pretend not to notice that “globalization” also means that the North American standard of living has nowhere to go but down.

    • We must pretend not to notice that executive compensation has soared as a direct function of the degree of globalization – guess whose standard of living is NOT going to decline.

    • For over-priced products that don’t work, we must deal with offshore tech support people who work cheaply but cannot speak North American English.

    • We must pay for social services to illegal aliens in order to assure an endless supply of cheap and exploitable labor for corporate America.

    • Even though corporate America, aided and abetted by our government, has deprived us of jobs, homes, savings, and investments, we must assume responsibility when the economy goes into a slump because we are not spending enough.

    • We must max out our credit cards, put multiple mortgages on our homes, and stay in debt beyond death so that the economy will continue to thrive.

    • We must routinely patronize Vinny down at 6for5 Loans, Inc.

    • We must buy an “American” vehicle to keep the country strong, even though checking out recall notices published on the Internet would suggest that no consumer of sound mind should ever buy a Detroit-built product.

    • We must subsist on over-priced deep-fried fast food washed down by sugar-saturated liquids because total-immersion advertising tells us to.

    • For healthcare, we must pay more and more and more to receive less and less, while executives of the healthcare providers, pharma companies, and insurance companies enjoy astronomical compensation packages.

    • We must demand and take multiple prescription medications, whether we need them or not, because we are inundated by saturation advertising that tells us to do so.

    • We must pretend not to notice that “In case of an erection lasting more than four hours, call 911 and ask for kryptonite” is not really a disclaimer.

    • We must pretend not to notice that big pharma’s purpose with the saturation advertising of ED drugs is to set a performance standard that cannot be achieved without these drugs.

    • We must hire tort lawyers to go after the pharma companies because “rare” and “statistically insignificant” drug side-effects have crippled us or killed our families.

    • We must tolerate Pro-Life and/or Anti-Gun hypocrites who actively or passively espouse the saturation advertising of prescription drugs despite the fact that these medications kill or maim far more people than abortions and guns combined.

    • We must employ a debt consolidator to intercede with our creditors.

    • We must hire professionals to negotiate with the IRS for the taxes we cannot afford to pay.

    • At age 62, we must take out a reverse mortgage on our home so that we can continue our, by now, habitual profligate spending to the very end.

    • We must helplessly watch our bank accounts, investments, and home disappear while the predators amass incredible fortunes with impunity.

    • We must pay for CallerID, but spoofing can be purchased to circumvent it. A classic example of corporate efficiency: milk one end of the cow while simultaneously grinding the other end into hamburger.

    • We must stoically endure years of CallerID-spoofed telephone harassment because the data mining industry has created and propagated erroneous information about us.

    • After being repeatedly gang-raped by corporate interests, we must assume billions of additional debt to bail out these same corporations while the officers, directors, and irresponsible politicians (AKA domestic terrorists, Al Qaeda fifth column, etc.) whose egregious behavior caused the meltdown face absolutely no sanctions.

    • We must assume billions more in debt to fund the Iraq debacle, which we got into because of Presidential hubris and incompetence.

    • We must pretend not to notice that no one of consequence in Washington appears to have read the history of Afghanistan – probably due to a dearth of Classic Comic Books.

    • We must elect bought-and-paid-for politicians who tell us that “We’re here now and there’s plenty of blame to go around, so let’s just move on.”

    • We must tolerate the corporate and political maxim that says “I DESERVE anything I can get and I am ENTITLED to make up the rules I operate under as I go along”.

    • We must contend with ubiquitous corporate and political policy that is based on “take the money and run” followed by “deny, delay, and defend” when the peons become agitated.

    • We must continuously deal with “Hurry up and get it on the market. We can make billions while our customers test and de-bug it”.

    • We must ignore the fact that regulatory agencies have been replaced with self-regulation, crippled by deliberate underfunding, staffed with incompetents, and/or have appointed heads who quietly mandate policy changes that favor special interests. The SEC is a magnificently glaring example.

    • We do not accept “But everyone else is doing it” from our children, but it we are expected to tolerate it from Wall Street and government regulators.

    • We must pretend that we do not notice that the Fourth Estate is thoroughly muzzled by advertising revenues.

    • We must sit and watch “reform” legislation being developed by asking the special interests what they require and then spending billions of our tax dollars on PR to convince us that the resulting pork-infested, deficit-expanding, garbage-with-a-ribbon is a great and good thing.

    • We must pretend not to notice that “bipartisan legislation” means effectively doubling the pork and doubling the number of special interests satiated.

    • Helpless anger and outrage do not even begin to describe our state of mind, but we are expected to dutifully elect two-faced pork-hanging politicians who facilitate continuation and escalation of all the above.

    • Are we gullible, incompetent, or merely insane?

    I hear, ad nauseam, our elected officials and the robber barons who own them depicting each other as ethical, honorable, and sterling examples of rectitude. If the voters, taxpayers, and consumers wrote the code of ethics for these denizens of Fantasy Island, them what are currently being depicted would surely be indicted. The inmates have been running the asylum more than long enough to prove beyond any doubt that self-regulation is an oxymoron!

    Through exhaustive research on the Internet, I have found an obscure reference to The Ancient and Venereal Kees Maagriits, an unsung Dutch archaeologist/philosopher, who claims to have discovered and translated a 5,000-year old Sumerian clay tablet: “THOU SHALT IGNORE THE RHETORIC AND FOLLOW THE GOLD, BEING EVER MINDFUL THAT THOSE WHO PURSUE GOLD HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CONSCIENCE”. The more things change, the more they remain the same!

    Follow some of the gold (la mordida, American-style) via http://www.opensecrets.org/index.php.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:44 PM, JuanBobsDad wrote:

    Too much of present finance is focussed on exploiting the poorer of us. This is sub-prime mortgages and this is credit card interest rates (that were considered to be usury prior to the 80's). These practices ought to be curtailed. There is no social purpose being served nor is there any benefit other than to ruin people for profit.

    While someone to enforce some limits on behavior that ought to exist, the SEC should be disbanded. They are as bad or worse than the "independent" bond rating agencies.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:54 PM, larryholzer wrote:

    Regulate The Federal Reserve right out of America.

    Tie the dollar back to the only Real Money Standard which is Gold. Let the weak banks fail. Watch the Dollar soar.No more bail outs.

    Larry

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 9:58 PM, driverdod wrote:

    First and foremost before those liberal nannies set again one more meddling finger in our lives, they must clean their own house and actually enforce the rules they have now!!!!!!!!!!!

    Government regulations caused the housing meltdown.

    Government agencies couldn't find Bernie Madoff when their noses were stuck in his doo-doo several times by whistle-blowers.

    The U.S. government has NEVER made any program better for less cost OR saved taxpayers a single cent EVER.

    Butt out!!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 10:01 PM, cgotts2 wrote:

    I'd like to know why Freddie and Fannie are still giving loans with little or no down payment to people who cannot afford them.

    If a purchaser cannot afford to save a down payment of 20 percent, they cannot afford a home. And, more obviosly, it they cannot save any down payment, or even closing costs, how caqn they afford a home purchase?

    So long as the banks who give the loan to those that cannot afford it and are allowed to sell the loan and bundle it up into a unrecogisable foem , ie derivitive, this will continue.

    Why? because the entiuty giving the bad loan is not taking the risk.

    and, with credit cards, the banks make so much money from the fees and interest and then get to write off bad loans, so they still make plenty of money when people default on credit cards. and, if they don't, they make up for it in higher fees or everyone.

    and, now with the "too big to fail" mantra, banks are free to take too risky of risks.

    Lack of transparancy caused by complicated instruments also allow banks to avoid consequences of risk by passing it off to someone/something else.

    regulations should prevent consumers from purchases which they relaitically cannot afford and those giving the loans should bear the risk.

    the consumer protectionshould be to require 20 percent downpayments, limit car loans to five years, and limit credit card debt.

    Additionally, as far as heath care costs and quality are concerned, it is the HMO system itself that is driving up costs and keeping people from preventative care.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my comments.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 10:02 PM, gesheddc wrote:

    The fact that the financial crisis just became another

    enabler for financial consolidations worries me.

    Consolidations of already large institutions reduces

    competition, and the consumer is less well served.

    Also, the larger these financial institutions get, the more leverage they have over the rest of us.

    It becomes almost impossible to oppose them on any issue. The result is a weakening of our democracy. I think some of these institutions should be broken up into smaller entities.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 10:04 PM, Randoid wrote:

    The mortgage crisis was caused by Clinton's Exec Order forcing banks to write bad loads to ethnic groups or face prosecution. Bush did NOTHING to undo this! Bush and Obama bailed out the BANKS but not the home owners. Who is looking out for the little guy?!?!

    Now $12 Trillion in debt (http://www.usdebtclock.org) add add another Trillion in ObamaCare and add $2 to $3 Trillion more with Cap & Trade. Who is looking out for the little guy?!?! ObamaCare will be like Amtrak, 30 years screwing up a good thing. Cap & Trade is throwing money at an imaginary problem sold to us by two Nobel Prizewinners! Yet more Washington DC lip-service.

    "The rich can always afford their vices!"

    Who is looking out for the little guy?!?!

    I suggest ditching ObamaCare (of any sort) & Cap & Trade.

    Instead, subsidize the current health system to care for the needy (which they ALREADY do). Also subsidize Solar, Wind, and mostly Infrastructure Improvements. Example: we lose HALF of our produced electricity in old power line systems. We are way overdue to fix these and other old dogs!

    -- Randoid

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 10:08 PM, jketchum wrote:

    I refuse to be cynical and assume that this is all meaningless PR. I applaud Obama's attempt to take a thoughtful and thorough approach to policy-making. Certainly refreshing after eight years of mindless, cynical, partisan, no-nothing "leadership." The cynical partisan politics of the status quo is what continues to hold us back from real, practical, policy making addressing the economic and social issues of the vast majority of Americans.

    OK, now that I've got that off my chest, my personal issue is:

    I bought a substantial amount of municipal bonds in the form of auction rate securities in 2007, before the market froze. I want to know how those markets are going to be regulated so that nothing like that can happen again. And I want to know who is going to be held responsible for individuals' retirement funds that are locked in these virtually interest-free bonds with no immediate hope of getting our cash out. I would like to see this on the administration's radar screen. I don't know how big the issue is relative to other problems, but I believe that it is effecting many middle income families.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 10:16 PM, jwoods101 wrote:

    jwoods, briefly ....

    98% of the above is venting. The problem that Obama is extending began with Barn-ie Frank's refusal to admit FNM and FRE were in trouble 20 years ago, and then submitting to the CRE presure to "guarantee" bank loans to people who overbought.

    Pressure on the banks escalated by "community organizers" to loan to everyone. Why not FNM and FRE guaranteed the loans? That's problem No.1.

    No. 2 is the incessant overspending and over taxing. Look at Canada ... right now the tax break for buying a home frees up more money for the citizens to use building their families and investing. It always works.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 10:20 PM, tenthgrade wrote:

    Great comments, all across the spectrum.

    I used to say, with tongue in cheek, that if some off- the-wall non-productive financial scheme couldn't pass the 'tenth grade test' it should be declared illegal. I thought we could pick 100 school districts, get a roster of all 10th grade active enrolled students, and select one student and maybe an alternate, probably at random (not allowing the administrators to cherry pick anyone), then get all 100 together, maybe regionally, and make the advocates of all the hairy schemes (starting with derivatives and hedge funds) explain their concept in maybe a 15 minute time frame. If the 10th graders couldn't make sense of it, it flunks the test.

    What we need to examine here are all the 'accounting' techniques and new 'financial instruments' that are fundamentally non-productive, adding nothing to the GDP, regardless of their announced benefits regarding distribution of risk, etc. Capitalism survived many generations before the invention of the imaginative techniques of the last few decades.

    Maybe the 'tenth grade test' isn't too far off the mark.

    As for Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize, we should remember that he wasn't awarded the Economic Prize or anything else - just the Peace Prize, for starting to reclaim some sensibility in International affairs after 8 years of arrogant and damaging unilateralism.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 10:23 PM, Hart4Stocks wrote:

    I think oversight can be a good thing. However, if we are not careful with the oversight comes additional governmental control. With additional governmental control comes less captialism. Less captialism is never a good thing.

    To some degree we have to allow the market forces to act and react naturally. The problem wasn't that the financial institutions offered junk loans. The problem was that the American public didn't see the long-term danger in those loans. So now we have to have the government step in and protect us from our own stupidity? Look out...here comes Big Brother!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 10:25 PM, roosterclay wrote:

    Get the government out of private bussines and back into politics. We need free enterprise less paperwork. We need people to protect themselves as I try to do. Keep track of what you do and what you are being charged and if it is wrong get it made right. I keep track of all I do every day on the puter so if all would do that what can go wrong ??? we only need the 10 basic laws and everyone abide by them.......AMEN

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 10:30 PM, ilovebatz wrote:

    Unfortunately it is a sad situation that we are discussing this. Too many in the banking industry couldn't control their greed and they certainly weren't able to check themselves. To me the best solution would be for the industry to police themselves but it seems they can't do that. So, my suggestions

    I think credit agreements need to be written in plain english.

    We should eliminate arbitration clauses until financial companies are willing to pay us a penalty when it was their mistake that caused a problem.

    Salaries and bonuses must really be tied to performance. There must be some form of "punishment" so that when the institution doesn't perform well, the people who are responsible must pay the price.

    Eliminate golden parachutes. (Once they are eliminated in the financial industry, it will be easier to eliminate them in all companies.)

    Harry Faulkner

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 10:45 PM, Gardnermiles wrote:

    God Help Us. Don't you remember the United States Supreme Court sent Him . packing. We have been on a downward spiral ever since the then youth grew up and now run Corporations without souls only the Greedy Drive for money. No morals, no scruples, no inner values only huge paychecks and unwarranted bonus's. And they (Supreme Court) won't bring back Christian Prayer or even defend our Christian Heritage. No wonder we are failing drastically, Corruption, porno, violence, We are asail in a turbulent world with out rudder or architectural design. Everything is done hog pog. Brains and Wisdom never seem to come into focus anymore. Just money,corruption,greed and unfair practices agaist the majority. Only the Inner Circle can live the American Dream anymore

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 10:49 PM, wisterialane wrote:

    We need a public option for health insurance. If someone wants to pay an insurance company more than it would cost under the public option, fine. Let people have that choice. The government must be able to negotiate prices for health care and for drugs. And if someone wants to pay the ridiculous prices the drug companies want for their drugs, be my guest. I'll choose the public option.

    Health care should not be tied to employment.

    And yes we're all angry about this economic mess we're in but the government must try to prevent this from ever happening again. We need regulations to protect consumers. Credit card companies take advantage of people and they need to be regulated. And somehow investors must have more say in what happens in the board room. There must be transparency. No regulation will be perfect, but we have to try.

    And do something about the SEC. Madoff should have never happened.

    I don't want to stifle growth but I, as a taxpayer, don't want to be the safety net for any too-big-to-fail company. We need regulations to stop this from ever happening again.

    And most importantly, regulations must be enforced.

    And one more thing. Our government representatives must listen to its citizens. Lobbyists have too much power. Our representatives should be allowed to accept campaign funds but they should not be allowed to know who the contributions came from. This will prevent our representatives from voting based on who made the biggest campaign contributions. As far as I'm concerned, our representatives don't vote based on what the people want.

    Pat H

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:02 PM, sodbuster24 wrote:

    Give us a break. I agree with prose976. I also received a letter in my bank statement today saying the federal government has more than doubled the premiums the bank pays for FDIC insurance that covers our deposits. The government also has levied a "special assessment" of 5% on bank assets to help make up for losses from bank failures around the country. The bank is going to absorb the cost as part of doing business and not pass it on to the customers. The government wants accountability from everyone, but they do not want to be accountable to anyone, or regulate themselves. They just keep spending money they don't have. No banker in his right mind would loan the fed govmt a penney if they went to him for a loan. He would look at their cash flow and ability to pay back any additional obligation and turn them down. The government needs to regulate its own spending before telling everyone else what to do. Sure things need fixed, but clean your own house before telling someone else to clean theirs.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:04 PM, csam7 wrote:

    1) Its about time the playing field is leveled between big corporations and the little guys. A handful of people and institutions should not be able to manipulate our financial system and drive us all to the edge of disaster with their greed.

    2) Health reform needs to happen NOW.

    3) We need to bring good paying jobs back to America.

    4) I completely agree with the president that there should be a watchdog group that protects the average citizen from corporate greed.

    Why are the banks with their high powered lobbyists so nervous??? Its time we all wake up!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:05 PM, starmangold wrote:

    Talk to Washington about Education. Lots of good ideas already posted, so lets cut to the chase. If every kid in high school graduated with an active account with say Scottrade and had a membership to MF Stock Advisor and was actually investing in some manner and at some dollar level, where would most of them be financially when they turn 40?

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:09 PM, venturen wrote:

    How about some regulation for Washington Lobbyist? Or slimy former congressmen pretending not to be lobbyist? People like Tom Dashcle, Rahm Emanual or other vermin who people elect they build up ppower and then cash in big time doing the "people business". People who are in government then go private for ten of millions then go back to government. You want to find what causes the problems I would look there.

    How about Barney Frank's boy friend over at Freddie Mac or the other former democrat power brokers and the $100 billion that causes us.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:11 PM, QQQFool wrote:

    Dear Motley Fool Staff,

    Good luck in Washington D.C.! It is an incredible city full of history, art and museums! Yup, it has politicians too, but hey, nothing's perfect.

    Many of the comments above convey a great amount of thought, insight and intelligence. My suggestion is to pick the best and bind them into a verbal/visual presentation addressed to President Obama. After your meeting, it will be available for his perusal. Since he does read a lot, that might prove more valuable than tapes or staff reports.

    We absolutely need to communicate with out elected officials, but we also need to communicate with the companies in which we have ownership. For instance, I am looking at a proxy that I need to vote.

    The Board of Directors recommends a vote FOR...

    *) Existing directors

    *) Amendment & restatement of the 2*** stock incentive plan...

    *) Amendment & restatement of the employee stock repurchase plan

    The Board of Directors recommends a vote AGAINST...

    *) Proposal submitted by a shareholder to amend bylaws to establish a Board Committee on Human Rights.

    8) Proposal submitted by a shareholder requesting the Board to adopt a policy that shareholders be provided the opportunity at each annual meeting of shareholders, to vote on an advisory resolution to ratify the compensation of the named executive officers described in the proxy statement for the annual meeting.

    In the past, I have voted the Board's recommendations, but this time I might put my mouth where my money is.

    Enjoy Wash.D.C., but don't let the "smoke & mirrors"

    razzle, dazzle of politics rob you of you sense of humor. Your FOOLISH FRIENDS back home will be watching!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:15 PM, saphiron wrote:

    How about this: What does the government intend to do about all the wamuq shareholders who were wiped out when wamu was seized and sold off to JPM for pennies on the dollar when it had billions in leftover assets? A year later, there's a lot of angry people out there.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:19 PM, TexasChris wrote:

    Single Payer Healthcare First

    Green Economy and fight climate change a close second

    End to big to fail

    End Oil subsidies

    End China's Most favored nation status

    End Free Trade and enter Fair Trade

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:22 PM, venturen wrote:

    Above boils down to "do you trust the government"? It seems the blind are in the lead saying they trust the government to everything. Though about 1 year ago they trusted the government to do nothing. We need to stop playing favorites in the financial world. The idea of letting citibank and Goldman borrow from the Fed while trading the hell out of others is immoral. I am all for allowing traders to trade ...they just can't borrow from the government for free, issue government debt or have analyst who make public recommendation. Also if you are an investment bank then guess what that is what you do...NO TRADING. Break these mothers up! The conflict are obscene!

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:32 PM, angusthermopylae wrote:

    Some of my ideas are repeats, and some are in direct opposition to other Fools, but here goes:

    1) Healthcare: Regardless of the current legislation passing or not, have the next round go with a simple, 3-page or less bill:

    a) The establishment of a Department of Medical Regulations. This office would have three subdivisions.

    b) The first division would be Enforcement, which would act like the SEC in that it would investigate violations, enforce laws, and recommend legislation to Congress ensure fair and even practices in the medical and insurance industries.

    c) The second division would be Government Medical Program Management. Everything would be here that belongs here: Medicare, VA, and any future "single payer" options. It would also manage and handle prescription drug and treatment negotiations with suppliers and vendors...collective bargaining at its finest.

    d) The third division would be Analysis, Statistics, and Planning. Budget management, % GDP spent on health care, industry best and worst practices...this would be the single source for "how we are doing" and "where we are headed."

    e) Quarterly reports to Congress, with the first report due in 6 months.

    That way, there wouldn't be the current fights over the "get it done now" that is so pervasive. Instead, the actions could be steered, adjusted, and modified through the life of our country. Both parties would want to make it work...if for no other reason than it will be their turn someday.

    2) Strong dollar, not weak dollar. Tighten the money supply, stop bailouts, build a manufacturing base that actually produces something the world wants. Many of the current overblown businesses will falter or fail, but they are based on the high liquidity system that has grown and, currently, is under emergency repair. Remember, liquidity does not equal solvency!

    3) Strategic vision: Everyone in the White House is old enough to remember how it was in the Cold War days. Everything was done to either forward US interests or inhibit Soviet interests. Since 1991, we've been flailing about without purpose.

    What we need is a new, grand vision for the country that gets us looking outward, not inward. Instead of fighting two wars because we are scared of al-Quaeda, why not have a Grand Vision where we put colonies on the moon or Mars? Or get every single citizen a job, a la "Dave"? Or make every African nation safe for its citizens and our businesses?

    As a group, humans in general (and, I believe) Americans in particular are pretty powerful if you get them all moving in the same direction. We've been missing that for 20 years or so, now. It's time to get it back.

    4) The Constitution and the rule of law. President Obama was a Constitutional scholar; I had hope that this would be a big influence on the serious questions that have come up over the last 8 years on how we treat our citizens and the citizens of other countries. And, while there has been progress, our country is still deep in gray and murky territory when it comes to basic human rights and how our laws are interpreted.

    This has to do directly with my third point, and it's also relevant to an economic discussion: Politically stable countries prosper much more in the long run than those that act on whims or according to political winds.

    If everyone in the world believes that, in the US, everyone gets a fair shake, they will want to either come here or do business here. That means no bailouts or government ownership of failing industries to the detriment of competitors. Every person and company gets their day in court. All violations of the law are treated equally, regardless of social or economic position. Companies, as entities, are just as liable for violations of criminal and civil law as an individual...and they are also afforded the same protections.

    Halliburton and KBR; Blackwater; GM and Chrysler; the perceived ties between the government and Goldman Sachs; Madoff's years of criminal activity; no-trial prisoners in Guantanamo; hospitals deporting ICU patients to Mexico; health care companies turning down life-saving surgeries for children...the list goes on and on.

    What all these things have in common, though, is that they erode the belief that everyone is equal under the law. That belief still exists (and I believe it to be "mostly" true), but it has been weakened and damaged by short term, spurious changes and decisions made over the last two decades. Big companies seem to have more power and freedom than small individuals, and foreigners (people and companies) need not apply.

    Bolster that belief, give everyone the same shot, hold everyone to the same rules, and you will create an economy that can't be stopped.

    That's it. There's more (isn't there always?), but these are the things that are subtle and pervasive. Our country is great, and it's not too late to reverse the damage inflicted upon it by both circumstance and our own short-sighted actions.

    Sincerely,

    David in South Webster, OH

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:36 PM, SMOKEYPOO wrote:

    I am for having the goverment stop bailing out ANY business no matter how small or how big; if one goes in the red that should be the end... The goverment should provide an enviroment that promotes success in business and punishes bad performance.... Businesses should be measured by profit and legal practices. Bonuses and rewards should be only associated with profit levels and should be spread alomg a number of years (minimum five).And another thing: for every non citizen a US company hires there should be a monthly penalty that the company has to pay, equal to that individual's half monthly earnings.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:49 PM, GenChaos wrote:

    Start by actually regulating all these financial companies that are back to the same tricks again. Break them down so no one's "too big to fail." Kill all unions and kill all lobbyists. That should take care of half the country's problems.

  • Report this Comment On October 09, 2009, at 11:59 PM, binkenhiemer wrote:

    First, we need to control the size of corporations. The term "too big to fail" is unacceptable. "Too big to fail" means steal out of everyone's pocket to pay for our mistakes. "Too big to fail" MEANS "Too big to EXIST" Control of my pocketbook is the essence of governance.

    Second, Healthcare insurance is not insurance. Just compare rates of term life as you get older for a particular payoff and see what happens as you move toward payoff. EVERYONE will need healthcare throughout their lives. That's why its taking more of our GDP because we need and WANT it. NO ONE who has lived a relatively healthy life will say on the edge of death, "No don't treat me because I didn't pay any healthcare premiums." So we all have to pay throughout our lives, period. Understand what that means. We need HC throughout our lives and that means the payment has to be bigger than we ever thought, not to mention paying for those who can't afford it. But if the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, and others can do it, then we can, and we always think we can do it better, so we need to stop talking and get it done. We will save money in the long run.

    And BTW, big business is not necessarily better than government. Just review Enron and Tyco and AIG if you must. BUT we cannot afford a 3%-5% skim on on HC. Won't work. So current insurance programs are out.

    Third, Global warming is an issue. Our children are in danger. We are spending carbon they will have to deal with if we don't go to alternative energy. We can take care of this 7 years or less, and tell me this country and business won't be much better if we are energy independent! We can play our rather large part in stopping global warming and the sooner the cheaper and better. That comes from someone who has investments in oil companies but is moving to alternatives as they become viable.

    Fourth, read "Enough" by Bogle to see why there is NO corporate governance at present. Most mutual fund managers must start exercising their positions as major owners. We as mutual fund owners must exercise our control by shifting our investment to fund managers that perform all of their roles in a company they buy. See what that will do to Cxx compensation. Companies can only be held accountable if we hold our fund managers accountable.

    Fifth, support small business and stop giving corporate welfare to large business. My smaller stocks have gotten me far more than my bigger ones and they take far less out of my pocket in taxes. Small businesses are the innovators we need to support them.

    Sixth, rationalize our tax system. We need to know what we pay for government and if you are calling for transparency in business then show it in government. No more "off budget" budgets. All money taken in is part of the budget and must be accounted for in the whole budget. ONE BUDGET-EVERY DOLLAR SHOWN!

    Seventh, read "Enough" by Bogle. Financials must be reformed to show where they are sucking the life out of real business. Financials are middlemen of middlemen. They serve a purpose, but they do not provide a product that is worth 40% of all profit made by real business. Banks take our money and loan it, but the vast amounts made off of that money are given to the Cxxs, EVP, VP, and every P you can think of. I was in banking for years and had to get out because I was sickened by it. Why do banks oppose Credit Unions because they force the banks to compete in a way the banks just think is beneath them. We cannot afford a major slice of business profits that can be used for REAL business to be sucked down a hole and this crisis Illustrates the issue in dark red ink.

    BUT remember energy policy is an immediate life and death issue. HC is important, but we won't need it if we don't have an economy.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:10 AM, subsurfacemapper wrote:

    Was the question about financial reform, or extreme political viewpoints? After reading the comments, I lost track of what you asked input on.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:13 AM, kimmiesueh wrote:

    Stop bailing out corporations AND individuals. If people can't comprehend the consequences of their actions in dealing with sophisticated financial products, they have no business being involved with those products, but it doesn't mean the product itself should be banned.

    I think any individual who wants mortgage relief and claims they were duped, etc. into a bad product needs to provide both documentation of the income they stated on their signed loan application/documents and tax returns for the relevant years. If the two don't match up, forget any kind of mortgage assistance or relief and give the bank a fast track foreclosure option.

    Force individuals and businesses to take responsibility for their own actions, and leave the free market to its own devices.

    If you must interfere with the markets, the most you should do is incentivize small businesses with tax breaks, etc. I'd rather see mom and pop get a break than another major bank bailout or nationalization of industry ala the automakers. Let the banks that so desire pay back the TARP funds and get the government's nose out of their business.

    If you want all Americans to have health care, fine, and if you can find a way to subsidize that for those who can't afford it WITHOUT raising my taxes, go ahead. However, the government has no business attempting to manage the healthcare of the entire nation until it can sucessfully manage the many programs it's already screwing up such as Social Security and Medicare.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:13 AM, 1chefjeff wrote:

    1) Reinstate the separation of banking from securities underwriting a la Glass Steagall but without the loop holes that existed in Glass Steagall.

    Banks need to provide credit to individuals and business... Insurance companies need to sell insurance... Brokers need to advise clients on stocks & bonds... Car manufactures need to build cars, not loans... Retail chains need to sell product, not be banks... and all of them need to be small enough to go out of business when they fail to provide what their consumer wants without a major shake-up to the financial marketplace.

    2) Reinstate usury laws.

    3) Eliminate campaign contributions from all but individuals, and limit that.

    4) Term limits, think the shorter the better.

    5)Spend as much time getting separation between government and business as we do with religion and government.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:16 AM, JohnGenzano wrote:

    The President has 7 days to approve a bill. If he doesn't, it is automatically vetoed. Any bill that the President cannot completely read and understand in that 7 days deserves to be automatically vetoed. So, Mr. Obama, if you can't read it and understand it in 7 days, don't sign it!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:16 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    Enforce the anti-trust laws on banks. - these were designed for welfare of public, not because competition is fun and easy.

    what's the issue?

    just apply the laws that are already in place.

    If these banks are this big, just split em into two competing companies.

    We use to have hundreds of different banks across the nation, now we have swung way to far the other direction and now have too few banks.

    ofcourse you could just require that every dollar lent out be secured by a cash deposit.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:19 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    My biggest concern is that we'll "throw out the baby with the bathwater".

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:22 AM, baseballbill730 wrote:

    Geez, where to begin? Two things leap immediately to mind. Do SOMETHING about the crack that is ridiculously low interest rates. Most of our problems began 9/17/01 when the Fed guaranteed liquidity after 9/11. Laudable, but investors went to insane lengths to try to get a reasonable return on their invested capital. Borrowers went deeper and deeper in debt because, after all, the payments were low and they lost all sense of discipline. No addiction starts out as an addiction, but that certainly doesn't mean that it can't become one.

    The other thing that must be dealt with is the idea that it is a God-given right that anybody and everybody is entitled to a seemingly unlimited amount of credit. Home loans, car loans and the damnable credit cards that get shoved at people. The result is that the financial institutions have to overcharge their good customers to make up for folks who have no intention, let alone the capability, to repay their balances.

    In my opinion, we should institute policies that reduce our insatiable consumption and all the attendant problems associated with that and increase long-term investments in repairing our infrastructure and pursuing new technologies through innovation. The transformation would be somewhat painful, but could it be any worse than what we are going through now? And oh by the way, will the pain that we are experiencing now provide any lasting beneficial results? I think not. Withdrawal from an addiction seldom does. It is only what happens after the withdrawal is complete that determines success.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:23 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    If you just changed one rule and that is no organization is EVER to big to fail that would solve a great deal of the problems.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:26 AM, TMFThump wrote:

    Much of this could have been avoided had we not repealed Glass-Steagall. The sins of investment banks would have led to smaller failures that were more manageable and avoided a global credit crisis.

    If there were a way to put the horse back in the barn and segregate commercial banks from investment banks I would support doing it.

    Transparency must be ensured with every financial instrument these beancounters can devise. If the underlying assets of any investment can't be easily be measured for risk by someone with a high school education, it shouldn't exist.

    Enforce the existing regulations that should have prevented the unprecedented leverage and under capitalization of banks.

    Eliminate the smorgasboard of mortgages -- reverse mortgages, ARMs, jumbos, and interest only to name a few. They were created to boost the bottom line of lenders, not make homes more affordable. If you want to buy a house put 20% down or pay for mortgage insurance.

    Get government out of the loan business. Kill Freddie Mac and Fannie May.

    Stop naked shorting of stocks.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:28 AM, terminalc wrote:

    Interest rates on credit cards!!!!! 18 to 30%.......

    With interests rates as low as I think they are, with all the taxpayer money these credit card institutions have been given, why are we being beaten even further into ruin.

    I could go into my life story about cancer, disability, real estate market failure and my wife's income, my company for 32 years closing it's doors, having to sell our farm, losing 60% of my retirement with the market collapse, and using credit cards to keep a daughter in college and one in high school fed and clothed. But everyone has a story.

    With all that has happened to my family we still have a credit rating over 750 and have never missed a payment on anything. We just keep our heads above water waiting for something to change but all that changes puts us further behind. The credit card companies have now insured that we will never be able to pay our debts off. It is only a matter of time before my IRA runs out or one of our 2 vehicles with 150,000+ miles breaks down or heaven forbid my cancer treatments fail.

    Bankruptcy is an option but I was not raised that way. So we sit here as many other formally hard working people praying for a change or waiting for the end while we pay these bankers bonuses and outrageous interest rates. And we are the lucky ones, we still have our house.

    Our American dream has been reduced to SURVIVAL, and time is running out.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:30 AM, ruthitom wrote:

    I am sick of Obama's czars and presidential edicts bypassing the Congress and acting like an emperior.

    I'm also sick of his cramming his Obamacare down our throats w/ the help of the democrats Congress!

    They don't care about our ideas, they just want to make us think they do. It's like Obama's promise for a "transparent" administration! He's hiding everything from his college grades and records to the truth about his election to the Senate. He lies, steels, and manipulates to get his way. He's a narcistic, egotist who cares for no one but himself.

    No one-payer government health ins.

    Allow ins. companies to sell health products in all states.

    No multimillion dollar law suites against Dr.s

    A simple, 5% tax across the board w/ no deductions.

    No reelection of incumbents-one term only! for president, congress, mayors, citycouncilmen, governors, etc.

    Get the government out of our bedrooms!

    I agree w/ those who said compensation of investment products should only be for long term increases not for short term gains.

    Our Constitution should be honored not ignored.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:33 AM, Smried wrote:

    More government? Additional regulations? Seriously?

    What the heck's happening? Consumer education is the key.

    Look, clearly there was an economic meltdown. That cannot not be disputed. As for its cause, however, there is a lot of disagreement.

    Is it a greedy Wall Street and predatory lenders willing to exploit anyone in the name of personal wealth?

    Is it an excess of irresponsible, perhaps more euphemistically, uninformed consumers that got in over their heads?

    Or is it a vastly progressive federal government and community organizers obsessed with the notion of social justice, threatening banks into dispensing credit regardless of risk?

    I have my own ideas and opinions regarding the cause, but I'll refrain from mentioning them now, because it isn't really the point.

    I'll briefly focus on the solution instead.

    As a traditional, conservative American, I could not disagree more with the President's solution. I believe in freedom above all else, and resist any notions of a large, obtrusive government, and am baffled why anyone would wish to see it get any bigger than it is.

    That said, I am not naive, I do concede that unlimited freedoms in the financial industry may entice some mischievous action on the part of some corrupt individuals. But because I cherish my freedom, it is a risk I am willing to take.

    Instead of restraining the financial firms, and obstructing their efforts to achieve the success that they wish and, I might add, deserve to have, I believe we should focus on the consumers.

    Rather, let's focus our resources into arming consumers with the knowledge needed to properly negotiate with mortgage lenders and creditors. I believe that if consumers have even a basic understanding of personal finance concepts they are much better prepared when shopping for mortgages et al.

    Imagine briefly that, if not the primary cause, a contributing factor to the meltdown was, indeed predatory lenders trying to obfuscate their customers into accepting financial terms that were difficult to comprehend, and then exploited their financial ignorance simply to make a dishonest buck. Is it not reasonable to assume that an ideal solution would be to inform the consumer about his or her options and better prepare him or her when shopping for mortgages? Imagine how stunned the 'predator' would be if he or she was unable to pull the wool over his or clients’ eyes. Consumer education would be a very clever deterrent to corrupt financial services personnel, in much the same way a mugger would be reluctant to accost someone who owns a gun.

    Similarly, consumer education would also be the solution to consumers who merely failed to understand how to shop for credit, and who got in over their heads, while negotiating with an honest financial salesman or woman.

    I think it should be the focus of any presidential administration to avoid any path that increases the size of the federal government. I believe that a better idea would be to include mandatory personal finance courses for adolescents and young adults in middle school and high school. Today, this nation’s public schools seem to fail in this regard. Our schools are always certain to teach students math, reading, languages, sexuality, and even physical education. But nowhere along the way, is a school required to teach students how to choose a credit card, or shop for a mortgage. We should have mandatory personal finance courses in our schools. We should teach our students terms like, balloon payments, interest-only, variable rate, and fixed rate. We owe it to our kids, and to our own economic future to be certain they are adequately prepared to face creditors and mortgage lenders, whether they be honest or corrupt, and allow their knowledge to prevent dishonest predatory lenders from wreaking havoc on them and on the US economy.

    Ironically, as for the third possible cause mentioned above, a Progressive government and community organizers, consumer education would be unable to mitigate it. That possible cause requires education to fix, but not that which can be received during a personal finance course.

    In conclusion, it is imperative that every American understand that more regulations and bigger government are not a good idea, are dangerous, and will likely only anchor our economy, and keep it, and us, from reaching our potential.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:35 AM, mberan wrote:

    My understanding is this creates another "czar". The Council has no authority over the "czar", just advisory. Sorry, but no thanks if that's the case. We don't need one guy deciding.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:46 AM, tonedeafdave wrote:

    One. 45,000 Americans a year are dying sooner than they should because they have no insurance coverage. That's a disaster 15 times the size of 9/11, Mr. President. It's a line of coffins stretching from DC to Baltimore. And it is continuing every year. Why are we not getting up and talking to the American people in those terms instead of whining about getting Republican Party buy-in,etc, and about the hardships of the insurance companies should the government intervene? Universal coverage is the only alternative worth considering - the kind of campaign that should be launched would have the decent people of every city in America getting the tar and feathers ready for the opponents of universal coverage. (Single-payer, govt as payer of last resort, some other way; I don't care. Pick one, go, and fix it later. People are dying.

    Two. 'Too big to fail' means 'part of the government, whether the govt. wants it or not'. If a company gets too big to fail, it should be automatically nationalized, broken up and the pieces sold as IPOs or to private investors. All responsible executives of the company would automatically lose their bonuses and golden parachutes. (Stock options would go automatically when the company is broken up, of course). This would 'incentivize' executive to run their companies for profit and efficiency and competition rather than running around organizing mergers to monopolize the market. (What did happen to the monopolies commission)?

    Three. Schools should teach courses in how to detect propaganda disguised as news, and how to check facts. Free speech is necessary, just like the Internet now is necessary. Like the internet,free speech provides wonderful opportunities to spread viruses in the form of lies which corrupt peoples brains (anyone see the interviews of the 'tea-party' marchers? Which planet did they come from?). We need to build mental firewalls for ourselves and our children. That would eliminate most of the rubbish from discussions such as this, and give room for a lot more creative interchange than we have had.

    Four. The more leverage, the more wild fluctuations of the market. We all talk about the enterpreneur-driven economy where the smart survive and the dumb fail. That is not what happens. Most of the market moves up and down on alternating waves of panic and euphoria. Failure and success are very often a matter of luck. I don't know what to do about this, but let's stop fooling ourselves.

    Five. Why do all the all the big financial executives get so much in bonuses, etc? Willie Sutton told us the answer. That's where the money is. These companies take a cut of every financial transaction that passes by them. The more complicated the transaction, the more hands are taking their cut. Think of it as friction in the gears of commerce. Too many gears and friction stops the machine. That's what just happened. Reduce the complexity, or reduce the friction. Don't ask me how.

    Over to you, Mr. President.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:48 AM, markgiese wrote:

    We must identify the skewed motivations of all the players involved. How about a big fat warning label like you see on cigarette boxes!??!?!? Of course, the problem is where to put it ;-) - I'm guessing forehead tattoos.

    examples:

    Brokers don't make money because they help you increase your income, they make money on each completed transaction.

    Financial advisers don't make money when you successfully retire with a comfortable income. The growth of your nest egg provides a very small incremental improvement in the adviser's overall income. The initial sale is all they are paid to care about.

    CEO's have _no_ fear of boards of directors. The old-boys-network of corporate boards guarantees that political activity among golfing buddies is rewarded, not effective long term management.

    Government fiefdoms exist to perpetuate the careers of staffers in those organizations. The initial blush of working-for-the-people slides out the door when your livelihood is threatened. Regulation arbitrage will continue as long as regulators are rewarded for signing up "regulatees" and not enforcement success.

    Ratings agencies that are paid by the organizations they are rating _cannot_ generate un-biased appraisals.

    Cable talk show hosts cannot deliver reasoned commentary that delves into the root causes of a problem when that would kill ratings. Emotional arguments, yelling, and name calling generate ratings.

    Voters cannot make a reasoned selection when they refuse to devote the effort needed to weigh the options. As long as the majority continue to make decisions based on arguments that ignore nuance and appeal to blind emotion, we will continue to get elected officials who will cravenly manipulate those emotions and present the world as a simpleton's choice between option "A" and option "B."

    Journalists cannot oversee the workings of a government when they are afraid to loose access to the pol's they're covering. Never-mind the economic pressures that are driving a culture of least-common-denominator writing that feeds the needs of lazy readers who just want to have their prejudices re-enforced.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:48 AM, deadcatbounce09 wrote:

    If the discussion is to focus on changes to the financial industry I believe they should focus on:

    Making banks not too big to fail by either breaking them up or by increasing capital requirements to such an extent that it prohibits the growth in the first place.

    Level the playing field so individual investors can compete. Place a transaction tax on all financial transactions that would make high frequency trading less viable. Use revenues brought from the tax to help pay for the stimulus and then the deficit.

    Find a way to energize moderate republicans so they can wrestle control of the party back from the right wing conservative nut jobs and the ultra conservative pundits so the party can have an honest dialog with the Democrats about how to improve our situation rather than just being the party of ‘No’.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:54 AM, uicfau wrote:

    Financial institutions that are "too big to fail" should be allowed to risk their own money, but not their clients'. In other words, institutions should be required to hold reserves on loans, insurance contracts, etc. that are larger for larger institutions. This will have the additional benefit of giving a moderate advantage to smaller institutions, opening the door to more competition.

    All public companies should be required to give stockholders easy access to e-mail addresses of all other stock holders (except those decline to be in the list) so that stockholders have the option of organizing to block self-dealing by management.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:55 AM, PigletOctopi wrote:

    Pray for our country that the words you speak to Washington will move us as a country in the right direction. We may be a nation with many opposing opinions, but we all want our country to succeed. So pray your words will be wise and be heard.

    Debbie

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:07 AM, boboh7 wrote:

    In her book "Web of Debt", Ellen Brown presents a scholarly analysis of our "system" and what we need to change about it. I beg you, President Obama, to take the time yourself to read the book. Do not, please, delegate it to any of your economic advisers because none of them will or even can give you the understanding you will need to deal with this crucial issue.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:10 AM, balrox wrote:

    GentleFools: to regulate or not to regulate? That is the question. Most Americans have been screaming "NOT" for too long. Why install more ineffective regulatory entities?

    Americans are growing very tired of being ignored by patronizing politicians. I wonder who will head up THE regulating agency that will BE the combustion tipping point??? (flash point)

    I wonder what Jefferson would say... or do for that matter? Where lies the honor of Foolish Men?

    Is this your golden helm?...or do you see otherwise?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:17 AM, boboh7 wrote:

    I want to also congratulate you on the Nobel Prize: you must know that it is for your remarkable attitude of willingness to talk with all nations instead of just playing God with guns and predators. You have already raised world respect for the US by a huge amount. Thank you.

    Most of us out here are not right wingnut crazy followers of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Kristol, Coulter, Bachman, Gingrich, Malkin, et al. And by "most" I mean well over 50% of us.

    BTW: Give us single-payer health care; damn the torpedos and full speed ahead!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:20 AM, dikrew wrote:

    I have not read all of today's posts about this article. According to my scroll bar, I have read about half of them. Many of them are rants and will not help the MF team put together policy suggestions for the WH on the subject at issue. The whole dialog, however, is indicative of what the Foolish community thinks of government in America today. In a word, it STINKS!

    I agree with those commentators who think corporate compensation policies are way out of touch with shareholder and public-at-large opinion. With a few exceptions, I vote my shares AGAINST corporate largesse when given the opportunity to vote on employee/director incentive plans. Very few plans appear to me to meaningfully reward behavior with the interests of shareholders and long term survival of the company in mind. I believe in incentive plans: I just don't consider the top 5 employees to be the only stars in any company. Yet, they always get the most milk (and too much of it). Nevertheless, I don't think direct government action is the answer. The government may be able to craft guidelines for Comp Committees of Bds of Directors but it must avoid legislating overly intrusive regulations, such as maximum rewards.

    I don't know enough about the financial system to comment intelligently about how financial institutions should be regulated. I can say, however, that they must be made to control the amount of risk they absorb. The horror stories about the laxity of lending practices is mind boggling: that any lending institution's policies could deteriorate to the state about which we read in the press is just plain disgusting!

    The issues discussed are should not have to be legislative issues. To my mind, they speak to unbelievably weak oversight by Boards of Directors. The hard questions are not being asked OR the answers to the questions are being soft-balled and accepted by Boards perfunctorily performing their duties. Boards have to be empowered to challenge managements: Chairman of the Board shoud never be an employee or former employee in the past, at least, 5 years.

    I could post more but, given the hour here, I'll end now. Happy delivery, MFTeam. I'll be interested in your article on your reception.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:24 AM, catoismymotor wrote:

    Hey, can you hear me?! It's kinda loud and crowded in here! It is easy to get lost in 170 comments.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:30 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    Worthy contributions (imho) so far:

    LessGovernment

    Coconnor55

    Bob78164

    KJTemplin - ty, it's good to hear some sage advice

    Valuepenguin - yes, personal accountability

    DDHv - ha, I love it - a none of the above option

    rd80

    whatsafool

    hydpdx - only problem is all the innovation that the tech industry makes goes overseas because of high corporate tax rates, indians make it cheaper. ^ ^ something to think about....

    pepehelps

    -

    you know... there are actually too many posts now for me to go through and come to a calm conclusion or recommendation... I was going to spend some time reading this but it is just becoming "white noise" instead.

    we started off on this fool board with some actual recommendations but instead migrated off track to just venting our opinions.

    we need to start a new board, and people should NOT BE ALLOWED TO COMMENT unless they have read ALL the above posts. No point in restating what some one else has said unless they have a different take on it or they just simply want to to state that they concur.

    just my 2 cents. this article blew way out of hand. sorry.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:34 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    it is the intensity of our emotion as a whole community that is interfering with our ability to come up with effective recommendations.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:36 AM, catoismymotor wrote:

    I had to take two buses and a train to get all the way down here. I agree w/ thisislabor.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:39 AM, RGGrass wrote:

    Right now we are rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. When the administration and congress decided that they were the ones who would decide who would fail and who would continue, not letting the market act with the ruthlessness the true free markets need to continue, we made it purely a political decision about who would lose and who would benefit from any monetary exchange. By allowing owners to be the first to be thrown out in bancruptcy ( your GM stock is worthless but GM anew with a Government ownership is perfectly acceptable) we absolutely strip "long term ownership(investment)" of any value. Yeah the managers manage for the short term, you would too if it meant wealth for your family. Remember poor KMart? After their BK the new management owned company bought Sears. Yep, manage for the stockholders and beg for raises or steal the company and benefit from good decisions.

    I guess that what we really need is to figure out what these 7 agencies do, why they do it, and are the results what we the American public want?

    Health care.......... Right now we pay for health care in individual insurance, Workers compensation insurance, Auto insurance, Homeowners insurance, Medicare insurance.. and probably a few places I have not thought of.

    When it comes time for medical people to get involved the first argument is who pays for what. If there is any doubt then the lawyers get involved and the price goes up. We only find out what we are not covered for after the fact and pay deductibles and copays all along. Nobody tells you when you buy the insurance that if you have a $200,000 bill your copay will be $40,000.

    I had a moth fly into my ear at 1:00 AM so off to the emergency room I went. This area has no Urgent care. $642.00 to take a moth out of my ear.

    For me this points out a breakdown in the system too much money for what was a two minute ( once the paperwork was done) doctors attention.

    What this is leading up to is we must define costs and benefits. In the world of regulating financial institutions are we going to pick and choose who wins or loses for bearing risks? I thought that junk financial products paid high nominal rates for the risk they implied. When congress and the administration decide who wins and who loses, we all lose.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:00 AM, akutach wrote:

    It's difficult to see how the Wall Street behavior is unexpected given the incredible incentives to grab for easy money that is put forth by the government.

    Disengaging the permanent industry subsidies to industries through tax breaks and credits. In banking, the favorite target of the day, permanent tax 'benefits' to borrowers only inflate asset values (eg homes) and thus do not benefit the borrower (borrow more at a lower rate), but rather the banks that inflate their portfolios. Banks are not the only industry: farming. Temporary incentives to kick start industries through infrastructure support are not as bad (building out internet infrastructure in the 90s; possibly a critical mass nat. gas or electric recharge station network in the future)

    For Wall St, I suggest fostering a culture of transparency so that companies that engage investors honestly would be rewarded by the fact that they could easily be compared to companies who withhold comparably insightful information. Regulatory hoops usually hurt the straight shooters, and supports a cottage industry of compliance officers.

    How about the ultimate watchdog, an informed public! Re-introduce personal finance and home economics (not just baking muffins) to the core of K-12 education so that people are better equipped to self regulate.

    Banks I would agree are something of an exception since they are the conduits for our currency and their failure to perform consistently and reliably impacts our currency. How about an emergency system of direct liquidity to the citizenry so that banks don't actually profit from times of financial chaos they create - moral hazard indeed! Honestly, why do banks get loans for essentially nothing and I have to pay 5% or more for a home loan? The government just buys the mortgage anyway at no profit. Uh oh, that sounds like a 'public option'; forget I said that or it's dead in the political waters.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:26 AM, verdure wrote:

    A lot of these comments have really deviated from the question which is regarding regualtion of finacial markets. The simple answer is, "Yes, the financial markets need more regulation, or more accurately, to be regulated again." Thats not an anti business objective, it is a pro American productivity directive.

    My personal perspective is that corporate management has too much control and is frequently dictatorial and acts without regard for stockholders best longterm interests. The light of democracy needs to shine into boards of directors meetings -- direct voting on compensation packages, no more proxy voting by management and mutual funds -- bring in outsiders, end cronyism and the sleeze.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:38 AM, VEttariPEPC wrote:

    First, naked short selling must be criminalized. Unless it is a criminal offense, the practice will not be stopped.

    Second, the down-tick rule must be made a permanent rule, never to be repealed again.

    Third, Golden Parachutes must be banned.

    Fourth, Glass-Steagall must be reinstated.

    Fifth. all pay for all corporate workers, except the most menial, must be approved by the stockholders.

    Sixth, Corporate Pay must be limited to $1,000,000 per year for every worker. No one is worth more than One Million Dollars per year.

    Seventh, Corporations must be required to pay a minimum percentage of the quarterly profits out to the shareholders as Dividends. This would have to be industry specific since some industries, such as oil, require large amounts of funds to do things like exploration. So, each industry must be analyzed to see how much of the profits must be retained for research, development, and exploration; with the majority of the remainder being returned to the shareholders in the form of Dividends.

    Eight, the members of any Corporation's Board of Directors must be drawn from an approved pool of people. Certain minimum qualifications should be drated for each industry so that the Board of Directors are people knowledgeable in the industry in which the Corporation engages.

    Chairman of the Board, CEO, and CFO must be separate positions, forever.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:33 AM, PoundMutt wrote:

    Nationalize ALL businesses and limit chief executive pay to no more than 10 times the highest hourly worker's pay. NO, that will remove incentive to work hard and your best execs will go elsewhere? WHERE? Limits will be the same EVERYWHERE!!!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:43 AM, texascondor wrote:

    I think they could do away with half of their regulatory structure if they would just make Board of Director members criminally liable for the acts of the company they are working for, and also put them at financial risk for illegal acts of the company that have cost shareholders money. The purpose of the BOD is to protect the shareholders and the general public, make them do their jobs with laws that will get their attention.

    Also, I think the only bonuses available to officers of the company should be stock options with the strike price at whatever the stock price is on Dec 31. They would have to wait at least 5 years to exercise the options, so they need to consider the long term health of the company in order to collect anything from their bonus.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:45 AM, TMLonggun wrote:

    1. Find source of problem (impotent SEC/fed)

    2. Re-arm SEC

    3. Abolish the Federal Reserve

    3. Replace with congress- controlled central bank, let the free market determine interest rates

    4. Pursue sound money policy aka STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DO NOT HAVE

    The markets do not need more regulation they just need regulations to be enforced, and let the free market determine who succeeds and fails instead of the government. All of these zombie corporations should be dead and we would already be past the collapse and well into the rebuilding stage instead of the prolonged agony of the Great Depression we are about to experience. Instead of learning from history we should just repeat it right?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:49 AM, texascondor wrote:

    While you are chatting with the Pres, why not suggest that members of Congress must use the same health care bill that they pass. And that the Federal Retirement System and the Congressional Retirement system are rolled into Social Security, and everyone gets that same retirement benefits. Remember "Animal Farm"? Where everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others? We have that system with our elected officials, that needs to be changed.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 4:30 AM, timomimo wrote:

    What about regulating government spending? Could this be part of the reform? Our government, who wants to regulate, is itself in a mess. Why not clean up your own mess first before starting on someone else? Please ask them this as a serious question. I hope they can and will include government spending reform in this effort!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 4:50 AM, Paraguay2es wrote:

    The only securities that should be allowed

    to be dealed on official -statecontrolled(!!)-

    stockexchanges should be

    -stocks

    -bonds

    -commodities

    -puts

    -calls

    .....and whenever a private person,private insurance,

    public fund etc. is involved....this should be a MUST to offer and deal only in this securities.

    Only THOSE accounts CAN be insured.

    The "rest"...might be allowed on private platforms -

    but those places MUST be controlled by a worldwide entity....allways publishing....that those products,places,institutions and clients would NEVER be bailed out with citizen`s money...and those act ALLWAYS uninsured in relation to their state/country.

    All that "financial weapons of mass destruction" would have run their course....without damaging the future of millions of people all around the world.....NOT ONLY in the US...where everything startet!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 5:29 AM, dmjst11 wrote:

    I have to agree with LessGovernment. No more bills or spending legislation.

    Reduce the debt in 20 years

    Sunset both Social Security and Medicare; since we are a Republic it is the states obligation to take care of it's peoples needs, not the Federal government.

    To all out there PLEASE read our Constitution. It was not written for our elected or appointed officials, but for us. Then read the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers to understand what our founding father constructed...

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 6:02 AM, tjohz wrote:

    I see many great postings on how to fix all our issues. But until we vote all lifetime Senators and Congressman out of office nothing will change. Most of these lifetime politicians die in office. Return to the Country's to it's core values, and we will all recover. Continue to wipe everyone ass and will we kill our childrens futures. Socialism has never been the answer to anything!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 6:37 AM, MrsCathyGF wrote:

    You can tell the White House we want them out of there, pronto. We want none of this social radicalism, nor gov't control over our health care,banks,housing, auto industry, mortgage lending, brokerage industry, and stay out of the affairs of privately held companies. Take your higher taxes, your anti-capitalistic sentiments, your gay rights bs, all of it, and move in with Hugo Chavez. In particular, take Chris Dodd, Charlie Rangel, Al Franken, SEIU, ACORN, Kevin Jennings,any other radical associates, and Barney Frank with you. Get out. And good riddance. Buzz someone else's NYC. Apologize about Chavez, Stalin, Hitler, Ortega, or any other suppressor of freedoms, to the rest of the world. We don't need it. We don't need you. And take that Nobel Prize with you, it means nothing. It's a joke.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 7:33 AM, flyeaglefly wrote:

    Untill we get back to the true Entreprenurial,democratic ,"invest WITH the risk of failure" attitude ,the whole system doesnt. work.With the Government being steered towards socialism with the present administration at the helm we are in one bad way. I am afraid we need social unrest to the point of Ridding ourselves of elected politicians whose main objective is to take Political contributions to their re-election campaign from special interest Lobbyists. This should be outlawed.Untill this changes we the public are S----d!

    We the public must rise up and make sure people elected to future offices of law making authority,whether Washington or Local .This is the basis of REAL Change Are we the American people willing to do this?? That is the Trillion Dollar Question

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 7:53 AM, cupocoffee wrote:

    STOP SPENDING! and tackle the underfunded SS System, underfunded Medicare system, and illegal immigration which strains all our systems.

    "ditto" to Less Government;ChattyKathee; Sfun; Texascorder; MLinvestor; Indignent; Killtheump; Sodbuster24; EDFinni; Starmangold; IMhinds

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 8:30 AM, gslahr wrote:

    Wow, I do not believe the problem stems from Legislation or committee names.

    As citizens of the United States of America we are members of probably the most influential, affulent and powerful nation ever, bound by a time proven document called our Constitution and finally our immense faith in God.

    The rules and laws are in place and have been for 3/4

    of a century and I am apologetic in saying they have

    not been enforced by the agencies entrusted to them.

    From the SEC and Banking Commission to local code

    enforcement and law enforcement, the members entrusted to uphold these laws have turned their cheeks.

    We must remember as a nation of worldly love and

    compassion we as people are the boss not our

    many governments. Our founding fathers designed

    us to be as such. As an employer would you not

    rid yourself of employees who would not carry out the tasks they agreed to upon being employed.

    Being an employee of government is not an easy task as you are entrusted by all citizens. This is a

    great responsibility. To break that trust level would

    place one in shame.

    This is what must be repaired to heal our nation.

    New regulations to be broken or changing enforcement agency's names to enhance old problems will only magnify future monsters.

    From all levels of government these trust violators

    must be removed without any compensation or

    retirement as they violated the law and the trust of the citizens of the United States of America.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 8:30 AM, vitof wrote:

    Health Care is my main concern. there are two groups of people that are sadly abused in this country. Veterans and the Elderly, look how the Gov. handles Medicare. they can't keep up with the abuse to the system.Imagine if they did, how much money would be in Medicare.

    Need we say anything about the V.A. hospitals. the most deplorable conditions. We're first to call when it comes to sacrificing our lives. Look how we're treated after.

    Health care is a problem in this country. How can any of us have confidence in our leader[s], that they'll solve this problem. when they can't do anything about Medicare and the VA.

    the best and only way i know to solve this problem,is to exercise my vote at election time.

    Thanks, vito an old vet

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 8:35 AM, philis50 wrote:

    The Motley Fool is being played as a FOOL!

    1. Begin with criminal trials against the Fed, Treasury, and Wall St for destroying our financial system.

    This opinion poll is meant to focus our attention on the future while avoiding the current crimes committed by these co conspirators.

    If they can't define what went wrong how will they fix anything. The politicians including the President were all involved in approving and pushing insane schemes from mortgages to anyone that was breathing, to approving pyramid schemes for Wall St financial products. Why didn't we invade wall street to capture the financial terrorists?

    2. If one rogue trader can bring down a major bank look what an entire rogue system like wall street can do to a country.

    3.Enron showed us how off balance sheet accounting works. The banks and brokers are hiding trillions of dollars in liabilities off their balance sheets.

    4. The Treasury and Federal reserve are owned and controlled by Goldman Sachs. Follow the money from all of the bailouts and put these people in jail.

    You should be focused on jail time not bonuses.

    5. Our constitution says government is by the people not the moneyed elite that have controlled the agenda for decades. Turn the judiciary lose and give them the power to enforce "financial terrorism laws" against our country. Madoff was turned over by Wall St to focus attention away from their crimes.

    6. Insider trading laws punish company insiders for illegal trades, what laws do we have to punish an industry trading on country insider information?

    7. Draw a time line for the past 10 years of who held government positions and what companies they were associated with. Publish politicians votes for all the critical laws that were responsible for destroying our financial system.

    8. Who authorized the looting of the US Treasury by Wall Street? Where did the money go? How much money would that equate too if each household received it instead of Wall Street? What would our economy look like if that money was given to the people instead of Wall Street? Who decided what institutions would fail and why?

    Have to go I have a life.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 8:55 AM, pcoppney wrote:

    1. Never ever save another company that is deemed "too big to fail." Everything that is too big to fail has become too big not to fail. Let Darwin figure out the winners and losers.

    2. No more naked shorts or other "perks" for Soros and his buddies. Apply all regulations to all investors all the time.

    3. Pay SEC regulators commission based on performance. The more fraud and violations they find the more they make.

    4. Re institute Glass - Steagall or some equivalent. When the people that make the loans get to securitize the them with the bonds they issue bad things are going to happen.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 8:58 AM, Smithtenn wrote:

    It may surprise the professionals who run the finances in this country that a huge number of non-professionals are forced by circumstances to manage their own finances, whether that be investing retirement or college saving, mortgage or credit card usage, or other sums of their hard earned money. They are busy working hard to separate that money and protect it. They have little or no access to all the sophisticated special situations or help the "professionals". have at their command. That makes therm easy prey as suckers for the crooks (respectable investment counsellors to outright con men) that fill our newspapers, emails, TV news and other sources of communication. There is such a huge difference in advice from "respectable" sources of advice that it quickly becomes apparent there is no way one can separate the value from the junk, and no way those who work in areas other than finance can truly find valuable and reliable advice for their investments and savings. The most important thing the governmernt can do is (1) publish analyses of financial information sources and writers promptly and prominently with references to others work, and (2), make the penalties for fraud and cheating so horrendous that those who are caught are removed from society in such a way as to make it unprofitable for them to try the fraud (life in prison?). We must also punish politicians guilty of the same types of things similarly (the common excuse for getting huge government contracts for campaign contributors being that "I'm just taking care of my district or my State" means that contracts are awarded on the basis of political fraud instead of who or what company produces the best bid.) The Financial Czar will be no better (and maybe worse) than what we have now if we don't clean up government. A dictatorship of seniority is no better than any other dictatorship.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 9:11 AM, hueminh2006 wrote:

    Prosecute the Goldman Sachs Group and put them in jail for 100 years and the Americans will be fine.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 9:11 AM, noryakerson wrote:

    American citizens need to start taking resposibility for themselves--eat right, exercise, be good. Oh, yeah, and live off the grid.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 9:52 AM, Snagrom1 wrote:

    The foxes are still in charge of the hen house. What can we do about that?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 9:53 AM, riteadier wrote:

    More regulation is not the answer to anything. This country has regulated itself to the point of regulating itself to where no one can do anything without regulation. Cut taxes on small business and watch employment increase and revenue grow and spending increase. The idiots in Congress have no clue as how to solve the economic crisis we are in w/o more regulation. Not to mention the Chicago gang in the White House.

    Leave the free market alone. The watch dogs we have now will catch the bad guys w/o another "czar".

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 9:59 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    So I tried to do a problem solution analysis on the question that they asked us:

    And first solution I found was this:

    What exactly did the White House have a specific question on?

    I don't see it in the article sorry?

    Are they trying to find something to do because they feel as though they need to justify their jobs - seriously?

    I don't see a specific question up there....

    I got emotional complaints and chatter from the article but I didn't get a specific request of help or advice on a specific problem.

    What exactly are they Identifying as a problem, or something that needs to be fixed, and are they asking for advice or a solution?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:00 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    When they identify to use what they think is a problem we can identify solutions and advice.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:01 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    But random regulations to address random emotional responses.... doesn't seem wise to me. just say'n

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:07 AM, carpetdave wrote:

    The question is whether the government can fix what we as sharehaolders have been unable or unwilling to.

    No bonuses that are not based on growth and profit.

    Give shareholder more access - if we have more info we can assert more control over the thousands of public companies than any agency possibly could. If shareholders have an advocate in an agency we can make a difference.

    Consolidate all existing Govenment heathcare ( medicare, congress care, etc. ) into one plan available to all at the same price. Senators who feel healthcare is not a priority should get private insurance. I'm tired of government working for themselves rather than us. The best insurers will survive competition and we will all benifit.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:12 AM, boujour wrote:

    The system has become way to complicated because every change in administration brings tweeks to the laws, rules, etc...because of special interest, greed, good intentions gone bad, sloppy legislation, too many issues at the National level, too many cry babies, too many lazy citizens, TOO COMPLICATED.

    The Nation spends money we do not have and we spend it in the wrong areas.

    We over estimate how great we are as a nation which leads to sloppy government because citizens think we do not have much to worry about and any problems will work themselves out. We are the best, why worry.

    The only people that get any attention are powerful, rich people who run big corporations who can direct lobbist to get done what they need enacted to make more money at every citizens expense. i.e. the situation we find ourselves in today.

    For the past 10 years the mantra has been less government oversight. We do not need MORE rules we need fewer rules. The rules need to be less complicated but have the support from all of us. The ten commandments are simple and they work....except if you work on Wall Street...I would like to see all of these sinners hung out to dry for a few weeks on the streets of New York.

    There should be more outrage but I think most of us still can not figure out exactly what happened even though it was predicted to happen. It is complicated!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:13 AM, Bryanbear3 wrote:

    Financial regulation is about one thing - who is in charge? Is it the people/taxpayers or financial wolves. This is what the revolution of 1776 was all about - are the people in charge or some uncaring/unresponsive power which cares only for itself.

    It is about making the acitivity fair and honest.

    What would a football game be without rules, regulations, oversight officials, and referees down on the field? What basketball game could be played without a few refrees with full authority or power to control the flow of fair play? Do we watch chaos or do we watch fair play with officials fully authorized to fully and completely punish the unfair players of the game?

    Its about who is in charge. In this country it is the people/taxpayers via thier elected/appointed officials and no one else. If the politicians don't measure up then they get voted out. If the businessman makes bad judgements he is tolerated to point then he is allowed to fail and the people will decide that success/failure not the businessman. To do anything less for the people invites chaos and unfairness.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:20 AM, glfor wrote:

    Single payer health care.....all NUTS

    Do you all know how many have died in UK waiting for operation or transplant? Health rationing are NOT an option in OUR USA. This is not obama's USA it is OUR USA.

    Investment-wise; get ride of swaps and miss guided ratings. Packaged rated instruments need to carry the "grade" of the lowest rated instrument. If the package does not comply.....JAIL! and go meet BERNIE. Don't put the gov't. in charge of ratings, just put them in charge of enforcement; and; give them the manpower; with brass ones; to do it. Get ride of the whooossesss in SEC and get some balls.

    Board rooms can be governed themselves. Shame on us investors for not standing up and going to stockholder meetings. We need more stockholder dissentors to keep these bloks in line.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:27 AM, JSCurran wrote:

    Public Health Care Plan-the option to purchase the same health care plan that Congress has access to as an alternative to an employee plan (or none at all). Corporate contribution required at same level as if corporate plan was used. Subsidized below some defined income level.

    Public Retirement Plan-the option to purchase the same retirement benefit plan that Congress has access to (or maybe TSP) as an alternative to an employee plan (or none at all). Corporate contribution required at same level as if corporate plan was used. Perhaps subsidized below some defined income level. (Not a replacement for Social Security, just a taxpayer 401k/403b substitute)

    Social Security contribution equity-the same rate of contribution for every dollar earned. No income cap and no business contribution exclusion! It's insane that people making six and seven digit salaries don't pay social security contributions on the income above 5 digits, but those making 5 digit salaries pay contributions on all of theirs.

    Shareholder compensation equity. Total executive and BOD compensation limited to free cash flow/# of shares outstanding. Total executive compensation increases (as a %) limited to the increase in shareholder dividend (as a %). Oh, you don't pay your shareholders a dividend? Oh, well . . . maybe you'll grow the value of your stock!

    Redefinition of health insurance risk pools. Risk pool should be by occupation/region, not size of employee base to eliminate discrimination against small businesses and self-employed. Make the insurance companies compete for premium dollars. If they can't or are unwilling, see item 1 (above).

    Credit Card abuse. An example of exploitative credit card practices:

    I recently purchased hearing aids. . .cost $4400.

    One payment option was through CareCredit, a GE financial service unit focusing on health care service areas. The term was 1 yr, zero percent. Sounds good, since I can continue to earn 0.13% in my MM, right?

    First surprise. I get my "Welcome to the family" letter from CareCredit. It's a credit card from GE Money Bank, not a consumer loan. Great, that's really going to help my credit score! (I'm sure they told me that in the fine print).

    Second surprise. First statement comes. Minimum payment is 1/24th of the amount financed for 12 months, not 1/12th. Deferred, accrued interest is $72.59 @ 22.98% apr. That's just for one month!

    Fine print says that if, in the entire 12 month finance period, I miss, or am late on, one minimum payment, the accumulated deferred finance charge posts.

    If I only pay the minimum, I figure the 12th month balloon is $2,948 which kicks in the 22.98% apr, if I don't pay the balance off.

    Say I pay $132/mo for 11 months. Month 12, I can't pay the $132 or there is a "computer error" and I miss by a day. $567 accrued interest posts to my $2,948 balance, which GE Money Bank will happily continue to charge 22.98% apr on.

    Talk about a ticking time bomb! What do you think GE & CareCredit are betting on over the next 12 months? Not the $4400 check that I'm sending them with their 1st statement!!!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:39 AM, w1fmb wrote:

    Just one example of how far we have fallen: I remember a few years back when the Japanese Yen was pegged at 360 to the dollar. It is now abaout 85 to the dollar. How in the world do you plan on recovering all of that lost money and prestige? Let's say...in the next three years.

    ?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:39 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    Im gonna start with carpetdave,

    Wth would you give bonuses based on? seriously, on whether or not they emotionaly feel as though they did a good job this last year? "yeah, I feel as though I did a 9 out of 10 this year, I mean coulda worked a little harder but I had have at least one vacation this year" ok here's your 1.2 million instead of 1.5 million. no. I don't think so. I mean really? what would you give bonuses based on....

    what do you mean more access? their form 10K's and 10Q's are all posted on the SEC's web page. How much more do you want?

    So you want to pay tax dollars to pay the government to run a corporation... because the government always works harder and more productivily then natural competition? - I mean I just don't follow the logic of why. Please explain.

    boujour - the anger of man doesn't equal the rightousness of the Lord, hate to bring His name into any conversation but sense your talking about Him didn't He die because we couldn't follow those 10 commandments? - anyways I'll move right along from that conversation to my point, anger doesn't help solve a problem.

    if it was "predicted" to happen, then you shorted the stock market and you should be saying there should be more gleeful people....markets go up, markets go down, their no reward without risk. if you weren't concentrated in financials you shouldn't be bothered.

    as far as the taxpayer is concerned since these companies were so big that they had to be bailed out, they need to either change their leverage rules, or ENFORCE the antitrust laws that we already have in place and start splitting these banks into smaller ones.

    bryanbear3 - I'm sorry I'm not playing football when I go to work I'm trying to feed my family, that's why I go to work? same reason you do? I work so hard at my job I quite frankly don't care if my clients go across the street to someone else - I don't care about the competition either - if they don't like what I'm doing they can go away for all I care because I quite frankly have work to do and buyers demanding it.

    So your control issue is with allowing these banks to go under then right?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:47 AM, egipr1 wrote:

    read the smoot-hawley tariff act of 1930

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:48 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    However I will boujour does have one thing going for him. It is not the system it is the people in it that are the problem.

    The only way to fix the people is to let them suffer a little in their own mess I think. Not 100% sure on that, but emotional pain is a great motivator to not do that again in the future.

    I think we should just let the recession pass, perhaps lower the corporate tax rates to stimulate the job market here, prevent banks from being either so big or so over leveraged that they can't be allowed to fail, stop spending money on stimulus bills (no seriously - unless they can PROVE that they increase tax revenue brought back in by at least dollar for dollar every dollar spent on the stimulus), and government should stay the hell out of healthcare.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:48 AM, wuff3t wrote:

    "Do you all know how many have died in UK waiting for operation or transplant?"

    No - how many? And how many more have been saved because there is access for all while some 47 million Americans have no guaranteed access? And if you want better in the UK you can always purchase your own private health care.

    Sorry to go off-topic but that needed saying.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:51 AM, jackspratnofat wrote:

    I had said over ayear and a half ago that Nothing will change befor Everyone has had enought PAIN! So how is the "hope&change" thing doing for america???

    America, will eather wake up, or it will become the Newest third world country, on WELFAIR!

    Remove all of the Federal Law's that are NOT in the "Constution and the Bill of Right's and get back to running the Country, not the (world)! Lyer's and Cheat's have been around from the start of time. That will not change. What Must change is the way "honest" People handle them. Just try and name ONE person in the House, or Senate that is (truly) an Honest person. Just one, can anyone do that? I did not think so. So, what should "WE" do? Again, should (WE) keep them, or Re-move them all, and start over? I would say, RE-move tham all and the one's that (we) can prove that have done thing's that are against the "law" or contrary to the Constution or Bill of Right's need to be either Shot or put in Prison for life! There's Plenty of "Law's" for all of the Tax Cheat's and Lyer's and Marxes, in "our" new Goverment.

    Just my thought's on thing's about Hope and Change!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:52 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    yeah the same effect is usually found with most stimulus bills too. even the ones that prove that they increase overall tax revenues. it works for a while... and then it goes to hell.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:56 AM, whitelake wrote:

    I have faith that Motley Fool will have the common sense to filter out the anti-Obama vitriol, along with the birthers, who no matter what documentation they are shown refuse to believe the truth, and the virulent anti-anything-Democratic conservatives. You, Motley Fool and many of your investor-members, have provided us with good sound advice through the years. Do so with President Obama, respectfully as we all should when in discussion with another human being. Thank you.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:59 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    jackspratnofat - hey another believer in don't fix the mess let the people who caused it fix it! congress stay out of it!

    (ofcourse if congress did lower the &*#%'n corporate tax rate on manufactoring based jobs people wouldn't need to get college degrees to afford to eat we could do that just fine here in the states... but no alas we exported all those jobs... and then subsidized education worse then we subsidized housing so the market in getting that college degree is in even worse shape than housing.... oh, wait. sorry, I'm a college student so I am in emotional pain and whining again, I'll stop now and go back to studying like I should do anyways.....)

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:03 AM, johnnyrocku wrote:

    You asked for it...

    1. Audit (and possibly abolish) the Fed

    2. Stop printing money

    3. End the war in Iraq

    4. Balance the budget

    5. Protect credit card users

    6. Stop bailing out companies

    7. Prosecute the financial crooks

    8. Abolish death row (just kill them already)

    9. Promote better education

    10. Promote natural gas as alternative to oil

    11. Tax stock/option owners a small percentage annual tax at the federal level (based on amount of time the stock was held during the year and average of basis and end-of-year value), just like real property owners get taxed annually at the local level.

    12. Force public disclosure of the owners of all stock/option and stock/option transactions (immediately after transactions). This would empower the public to be its own watchdog.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:11 AM, rbashmore wrote:

    Several of the more trustworthy financial analysts that I follow (former Presidential advisors and government employees), are claiming that so many elected officials have now been "bought and paid for" by Wall Street Corporations and the Federal Reserve (another "above the law" secretive club) that our government is more Corporate Fascism than Capitalistic Democracy. The stock market is rigged against the little guy in too many ways. What is the Obama Plan going to do to stop the "buying off" of our politicans. After watching the banking debacle, the raping of the taxpayers to pay for it, and the sbserviant behavior of our "officials" to the whims of Wall Street, it is palin to see.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:18 AM, barborn wrote:

    Why must the insurance industry always be assured such whopping profits? They are in business just like the rest of us, but they somehow escape the risks the rest of us must live under. I know they have sharehoders to please etc., but that doesn't justify such huge profits. If there's a disaster, they should take it on the chin like the rest of us do, suck it up and pay out. So their stocks go down. Well, duh, isn't that the way the market is supposed to work? Instead, they are allowed the luxury of passing costs on to the consumers and they still make a huge profit at the end of the year. I wish my business could do that! No I don't, because that is truly not ethical. What ever happened to ethics and honesty anyway? Are those characteristics gone forever, to be replaced by greed and a total lack of ethics? I sure hope not. I agree with stricter regulation and oversight for ALL big business!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:20 AM, applemab2009 wrote:

    First, thanks to the administration for giving us a forum to give our opinions/advice.

    As I read the previous comments, it became obvious to me that we have a LOT of ideas - and a good bit of honest disagreement between Fools. My comments:

    - Please concentrate on enforcing sensible financial practices, trying to keep regulated institutions from adopting risky short-term activities that are long-term harmful (note: I am not against short-term profitability, just against self destructive short term activities)

    - Let the world know that corporate officers will be held accountable - even if they try to cash in and bail

    - Let the corporate universe know that any institution that makes consistently bad economic decisions will be allowed to fail

    Again, thanks for the opportunity!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:31 AM, lapine1 wrote:

    Why not start with the Glass Steagall Act of 1933 and make it better? If Republicans want to fight it after voiding it during the Clinton Administration, tell the country that their actions (and Clinton) allowed the recent near-financial meltdown.

    Tell it like it is.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:32 AM, gnolla wrote:

    My #1 priority is for reform to healthcare; including adding a public option which I believe will bring competition back to this industry.

    A close 2nd priority is reform to the financial industry. I strongly believe we as individuals and as part of corporate america need to start thinking about long term goals instead of short term gains that advance only personal interests. Let's get back to social responsibility in all aspects of our lives. I applaud the efforts of President Obama, and fully back his continued efforts to bring debates back to the issues. Progress doesn't happen without taking steps forward. Get it done!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:44 AM, jackspratnofat wrote:

    Thisislabor:

    I think we have a misunderstanding on the thing's I would do? I would REMOVE ALL of the House and Senate, put them Prison, or Shoot them for the Crime's that they have done Aginst America. For it is THEM that have put this "Country" in the (Shamefull) place it is in. And You, along side me and every other person that has "voted" and Keep Voteing these Jerk's in to office are to blame! Do you feel the PAIN NOW?? What would YOU do? Keep them office, for what to make MORE LAW'S that (They) themself's will not follow?, For them to be able to sit back and retire on Money that they realy have not done anything to deserve? If anything they should have to GO on the same Goverment Re-Tirement that "WE" have to pay into and live on. Do you realy think that they should have something different than you? Do you think that they are some what Better? Do YOU VOTE??? How's your Hope and Change doing for you!? And please tell me you know the difference between a Marxes, and some one that is NOT!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:48 AM, PsycheDaddy wrote:

    As everyone knows, we need to regulate Congress and our government.

    Fat chance that will happen. As in the beginning,

    our country has slowly deteriorated and through politicians, you will never reverse the trend.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:08 PM, gec1939 wrote:

    With every intention of being redundant - bring back Glass-Steagall.

    Get on the SEC to vigorously prosecute naked short criminals, or add a prosecutorial function within the new CFPA to do this.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:11 PM, trishtiger wrote:

    The US Government needs to remove current and ban all future use of derivitives. It has created speculation from items that have NO Value. It has in one way or another brought down the whole financial system in unison with the removal of the "Glass Seagull Act". We are not encumbering our current workers and future workers with an unbearable load that will render the USA into an undesirable country worldwide.

    The second main focus should be permanent job creation industries. How can you expect someone to pay to live in addition to carrying a family and debt without a means to have a stable income. Stop the handout and Special Interest- Let's create the JOBS.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:13 PM, stonebusted wrote:

    Other than the slavery issued, which would be gone by now anyway probably without the racism we have now, would the Confedercy have been so bad?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:14 PM, sommerTN wrote:

    I have skimmed some of the comments and it is amusing to see various people pleading for (or against the "other guy") various controls and regulations as it seems to suit their purpose. Several people mentioned things such as "abolishing Social Security," "ban short selling," national health or no national health. I believe the reason for these tunnel-visioned request has more to do with politics, and almost nothing to do with economics.

    Economics is that boring class that (in my day) they used to stick in as an elective in the "social studies" (or history) category of courses. If you majored in liberal arts in college, for example, you likely never had to take an economics course. But it is the lack of knowledge of the working of economics that has caused Americans the most grief.

    If people understood the economics that is (or was?) taught in high school level classes, they would understand that "debt is created when you borrow it." You literally create money out of thin air when you take a loan. So if the government is in debt because of all these bailouts, it is because they assumed the debt (or backed the debt) of individual Americans who borrowed. It's not the government "printing money" that is the cause of the problem. It is that American have been trained to live beyond their means since the end of World War II. We Baby Boomers have never really known any other way of living! Everyone accepted as a foregone conclusion that a house or a car would never be something that we'd be able to afford to "save up and pay cash" for.

    I'm almost afraid to hit the send button here! In any case, more regulation especially as it concerns the stock market isn't what is needed. More education is what is needed, so that people have a better understanding of economics so they don't find out about it the hard way: when their house is being sold on the courthouse steps because they can't pay their mortgage.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:19 PM, billstraw wrote:

    the starting point is with mortgages.Qualification requirements must be set( say 20% down and monthly no more than 25% of income) and strictly enforced.The financial mess started with mortgages.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:20 PM, calmdog wrote:

    Dear Fool Representatives,

    As part of the "stimulus plan”, a loan program was created called the SBA ARC loan. Front page of the SBA site http://www.sba.gov/

    As a small business, I applied for this loan-, which in short, was designed to relieve debt accumulated on personal credit to fund business operations. (I am sure done by most every business owner at one time or another whose work is their passion)

    I should further mention that this loan is 100% BACKED BY SBA, as opposed to the traditional 50% backing. The terms of the loan payback are: Interest paid to the bank by the Government, one-year deferment on repayment and a total of five years to re pay the loan entirely. Did I mention the banks have a 100% GUARANTEE if the borrower defaults? The maximum loan amount is $35,000.00. (that’s thousand)

    They required three years of tax returns, SBA application, two years of quarterly projections and a list of which creditors would be paid with the proceeds of the loan. All requirements I met or exceeded.

    I inquired at many banks on the list of participants. I applied to two different banks.( all others I inquired stated they would not participate -- B of A at the top of that list) Both banks to which I applied, I also held accounts with, and met all of the criteria as indicated by both them and the SBA .

    What follow is what they said after reviewing my loan documentation. I should also note that to date, after numerous requests, I have not received a letter of their decision.

    M and T bank. Verbatim: ‘We’ll lend you the $35,000. [The maximum amount] ONLY if your outstanding debt is a debt you owe to our bank."

    Sun Trust: [paraphrasing]We will make payments on your debt for 6 months, but the funds can not be used for unsecured debt- i.e. credit card, line of credit or any other unsecured debt.

    The ARC loan was designed to help small (micro business) pay off up to $35,000. of unsecured debt to ANY source, secured or not, except an existing SBA loan. (A no-brainer- you can't use SBA funds to pay off an SBA loan)

    Therefore, you cannot tell me this is what President Obama had in mind. The banks have taken their bailout money and they are indeed hoarding/ re channeling this money even on the smallest level and screwing small business! I have a 20-year relationship in business with one of these banks-through five name changes and so on.

    If this policy of "not lending" for these reasons listed is not exclusive and a conflict of interest, not to mention unethical, then I am closing my business doors and moving to some other country.

    I was not looking for a handout, (though I AM both a woman and disabled owned business likely entitled to some "handout" program) but rather was looking at what seemed a perfect match of a small loan providing a way of freeing up a little working capital to keep my PROFITABLE pet service business running in slow times.

    I am thoroughly disgusted with this recent experience.

    As a faithful Fool, I'd like to ask if there's a lawyer/adviser among the Fools who'd care to guide me about how to address this banking practice. (Pro bono I’m afraid, as I obviously didn't get the loan and I AM fiscally responsible) I'm most grateful to hear your advice. Perhaps this is my opportunity to have one voice heard by the President so he can see at the smallest level how REGULATION is needed.

    Most sincerely,

    Amy Tester

    The "Calmdog"

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:22 PM, interdependent wrote:

    "Regulation" has prevented our current economic crisis from repeating itself every few years over the last century while our economy recovered from the Depression and became the strongest in the world.

    To fight against regulation is to fight against prosperity and lasting growth.

    The Motley Fool believes in buying and holding stock, which is good for investors and for business. If Wall Street invested the way we invest, there would have been no meltdown. There would have been no massive run-up either.

    Long-term growth and prosperity depends on people treating investments like something you want to hold on to and give to your grandkids. How can a company use my investment to grow if I give it to them one day and take it back the next. Putting your money where your heart is, not gambling, not trying to turn a quick buck.

    How do we get Wall Street to think like that?

    Pay executives 5 years later any 'bonus' for sustained company health.

    Employ enough people in the government to enforce the regulations already in place.

    Restrict the gambling mentality somehow. The market should be a place to make companies grow, instead of a place to make a buck off the wild ups and downs of a company.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:38 PM, wuff3t wrote:

    1) Reimpose Glass-Steagall.

    2) Remove the bonus culture once and for all. The evidence actually suggests that far from motivating employees to perform better, performance-related pay has the opposite effect. And anyone working for a big salary should consider that salary remuneration enough. If they don't you fire them and find someone else to do the job (the argument that you'll lose your best people is flimsy. There are always young, hungry, intelligent people out there who are looking for a break and who would do the job for a fraction of the money and would work twice as hard).

    3) Force directors to receive a sizeable portion of their compensation in company stock - and force them to retain most of it. Set a minimum percentage of the company's outstanding shares that they MUST own at any one time. This will force them to align their interests with those of other shareholders.

    4) The state absolutely MUST prosecute any company directors or senior management found guilty of any fraud or insider dealing etc. Make these people aware that any dodgy behaviour will result in the harshest penalties.

    5) Restrict directors to one job at a time, ie you can only be a director of one, single company. How can people who apparently do such an important job possibly do it for several different corporate entities simultaneously? And if there isn't sufficient work for them to do in one company, don't appoint them - there just isn't a job there for them.

    6) Cap senior managers' salaries at ten times that of the lowest-paid employee. No-one is more than ten times as valuable as anyone else.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 12:42 PM, bozomonkey wrote:

    1. strengthen economic education in high school by adding these with some depth

    a. finance

    b. credit cards

    c. investment vehicles

    d. money strategies now and throughout life

    e. retirement strategies

    f. credit score

    g. real estate

    because the people that don't know enough about the above are sheep getting fleeced often.

    We need citizens that are smart, productive and responsible, and they should not be taken advantage of for being hardworking and productive.

    2. Require much more disclosure for investments and financial obligations and require that disclosure be in much more intelligeble form. Unlike government or legal style. Government intends to be understood but is all over the place. Legal is its own language altogether. The common complaint is people didn't know what they were signing up for. This has to be reduced greatly. All the years of effort people put in to be able to retire can be wiped out by bad investments in an instant. That is a truly a horror story and not just a "well, that's too bad, you should of known better", kind of thing.

    3. Lower minimum wage. We already have an underground under the table economy. In fact the lower minimum wage is already "In". It is just under the table and hush hush. Paying employees is one of the biggest expenses for most businesses. If the price of labor goes down then, small businesses with one or two employees get a break, larger companies typically would hire more. And importantly we could put more teenagers back to work instead of having them waste their lives playing computer games and texting. Even if a job doesn't pay that well, you still earn and should learn many valuable traits and various skills regardless.

    4. Lower the age for working americans to 16 but only have work after school hours (such as after 3:30PM to 10PM). Kids are smarter and more capable at a younger age these days. I think it is important for kids to have experience in the real world while they still respect and are under control of their parents.

    To sum it up I think financial education and disclosure are the most important thing so that people don't get taken to the cleaners nearly as much. Lowering the minimum wage would put more people back to work and give young people more experience in the world that they lack today.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:05 PM, michlav1 wrote:

    1. Make sure that Congress can't threaten SEC with less funding when they want to crack down on one of their corporate backers. SEC should have guaranteed funding.

    2. No more Too-Big-To-Fail Companies ever. All of the current ones should be broken up. Is there a way to make sure that no one can change this...ever?

    3. Bonuses should be spread over a period of time (5+ years), so it's no longer only short term profits that are meaningful.

    4. C-suite salaries should not be over 320% more than the average workers salary. In 1980, it was only 40% more, are they doing 8 times more work than before? If they were shouldn't the S&P be up by that amount?

    5. Credit card companies (HSBC in my example) shouldn't be allowed to have a due date for an interest free period different from the due date of the credit card. For example, I bought furniture that was interest free for 24 months, the first 12 months no payment due, the second 12 months I had to pay in 12 equal installments. The credit card due date when I opened the page online was the 5th of the month. To my surprise I get hit with $600 in finance charges because they claim it was due on the 26th of the previous month. If the due date is different, then what is the point of the 5th of the month due date? That is a shady and unfair practice.

    6. People should have to prove their income in order to buy a home and no mortgage lender/broker should be allowed to do otherwise. They should have to photocopy and include all proof of income with the mortgage contract, so that mortgage brokers can't fake income.

    7. There should be a one page summary in regular language, not legalese, that shows what the interest rate is, for how long the loan is, what monthly payments will be, etc. If it's an ARM loan then what payment will be for different interest rate scenarios.

    8. No more interest only loans. If they aren't willing to make sure those who get them can afford them, then no one gets them. Or if we won't do away with them, then they must be able to afford at least double the interest only payment and it should be shown in contract (see #s 6 & 7).

    9. Corporations should not be allowed to contribute money to politicians, only individuals should have that right. Corporations should not be treated as individuals, since they are not people. The supreme court needs to make that right since it was never meant for corporations to be seen as a person. So it would be no violation of the 1st amendment since the constitution is for people.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:06 PM, wilsonced wrote:

    Number 1 requirement: Reduce the amount of paper filled with legalese dropped in front of a customer when signing a mortgage--the myriad of laws and reams of paper a home buyer must sign guarantee he/she would be incapable of understanding all the terms and conditions--the lawyers have made the process of disclosure into consumer fraud instead of consumer protection by design--A loan terms and conditions should fit on a single page (in large enough type to be read without a magnifying glass).

    A related issue: in the regulatory process; eliminate the fallacy of "non-profit" organizations. In every area from religion, to real estate, to social services; these have only become another case of legalized fraud perpetuated on the American taxpayer (check out Rahm Emmanuel's "non-profit" organization that owns the home he lives in---that only benefits the Rahm Emmanuel family and people they do business with.)

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:16 PM, michlav1 wrote:

    Financial education starting in elementary school and continued through high school.

    Prosecute all banks that have been giving sub prime loans to black people who should have received regular loans. We know this because we can compare the loans given to their white counterparts with equivalent income and credit standing.

    All interest rates given should be similar across the board based on income and credit standing. No one should not get the interest rate another gets just because they don't know how to barter.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:21 PM, retiredmexico06 wrote:

    As a retiree who saw 40% of their life savings go down the drain thanks to greedy bankers and Wall Street execs, I'm all in favor of regulation of the financial industry. It seems to me that consolidating seven separate "consumer protection" agencies (that failed to oversee, regulate or protect) into a single agency is exactly the right way to proceed. Kudos to Obama! This consolidation will save a lot of taxpayer dollars and should make the Republicans, who are always preaching about simplifying government, happy - but it won't. They are too busy these days looking for ways to discredit anything Obama says or does.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:39 PM, wiseclack wrote:

    After reading all these comments,some close to being rude and ill-informed, one does not wonder why the elected officials are so far from any agreement.

    The White House IS listening, and if you feeel that it is not, then shout louder.

    I echo HYDPDX!

    Go Fools! Fool on!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:58 PM, jrice wrote:

    Bob Rodriquez, who runs FPA Capital fund (closed), in the current Kiplinger's, says "...It's [healthcare reform] insanity. Before this country takes on another entitlement, we should deal with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the prescription drug program. If Congress enacts an expanded health-care program, I fear it will further raise anxiety among out foreign providers of captial, and it would probably encourage me to move a large percentage of my net worth out of the country." "...it doesn't matter which party is in power. Washington is fundamentally broken. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are fiscally irresponsible. The current administration, though well intentioned, is attempting to make major changes in how this country runs, and if it's wrong, there is little margin for error. President Obama is trying to emulate the first 100 days of the Roosevelt administratioin. The difference is that when FDR came in, the ratio of outstanding federal debt to GDP in the U.S. was about 16%. This year it will rise to about 85%, and that does not include the present value of entitlement liabilities - Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and prescription drugs - or guarantees, such as those for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt, that total at least an additional $5 trillion. The words *cut* and *eliminate* are foreign to both parties. Our elected officials should be ashamed of themselves for what they are doing to the young and to generations to come."

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 1:58 PM, boomagoo wrote:

    We need a new Security Transaction Tax,like we had a few years back, as suggested by Peter DeFassio - representative from Oregon. A very small amount, say two to five cents per share. I believe this would limit some of the speculation taking place in the market, as you would have to be more mindful of the costs involved in purchasing securities. Limit the Speculation - INVEST!!

    Too big to fail, cannot exist!

    Stop the revolving door that occurs in all agencies in our government.

    Public financing of Elections - paid for by eliminating the subsidies we give to Big Oil (7 to 9 BILLION per year !!). This would take the mega-buck bribes (excuse me, donations) out of our Political System (especially the Senate, bought and paid for).

    Corporations should not have the right of personhood as they do know!! As we speak, they are legally considered a PERSON!!!! On that note, I cannot own another person because that is considered slavery, so why can a Corporation own another Corporation?? I am required to have a Passport, how do they get theirs? etc, etc.

    Remove the cap limit on Soc. Sec. and FICA Tax , this would make it solvent for ever. Provided it is not used to make the Deficit look better.

    THANX!!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:03 PM, getemgranny wrote:

    We, as citizens, should demand that no bills can be eligible for vote if they contain more words than are contained in The Constitution of the United States. If our representatives are to try to pass these bills, they need to be clearly and concisely written so that they, first of all, have the "time" to read, understand and review and, secondly, that "we, the people" are able to read, understand and review. This would solve the problem with what bills are passed and the "hidden agendas" many of these bills contain.

    Government needs to get out of our lives; we need less government, not more regulation. Let the free markets weed out the crooks; the government should work on weeding out the crooks in government, of which there are many.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:04 PM, Decibel45 wrote:

    I'm with UHNSR: Limit all bills to address one issue and one issue only. Cut all the pork out.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:13 PM, paberube wrote:

    I have been in the health care field for over 40 years. I see first hand how inefficient and wasteful our system is. To re-design this monster to provide quality affordable health care for everyone while containing costs is a huge undertaking. I am very leery of this being designed within the political arena that also seeks to preserve this as a profit based system. I am concerned that this will mean enforced high premiums for regular folks. In medicine, we use standards of practice that have shown to give the best results. I would like to see us design a delivery system that is patterned after systems that are now working. An example is the Mayo Clinic. This should not be pushed through by politicians to meet political agendas and short time frames. So much is at stake here. In the future, the players will be remembered for either their limited self serving political actions or honored for their statesmanship.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:24 PM, ecloud wrote:

    I don't think we need to add another bureaucracy on top of all the others. Maybe consolidating several into one would be a slight improvement, if and only if it was shrunken in the process. But look what happened with DHS.... shrinking isn't likely. If there is to be a consolidated bureaucracy, they need to specialize in very effectively enforcing very simple, direct regulations which everyone understands and which actually work.

    As with the overreaction to 9/11, the fix is very simple and direct. In the case of 9/11 it would have been sufficient to make sure the pilot can defend himself, or isolate himself, from whatever mayhem might be going on in the cabin. Reinforcing the cockpit doors would have been a good start, and perhaps letting pilots carry guns wouldn't have been a bad idea either. Instead, we did the cockpit doors, started two wars, and created the TSA too. Americans have lost their right to travel in peace, with dignity, privacy and as efficiently as possible, just because we are so paranoid about terrorists.

    In this case, the root causes are the ability of Wall Street to create weird financial products which paper over the low quality of loans by putting them into huge anonymous collections, and then banks over-leveraging by buying just those investments. So, restore Glass-Steagall and probably it would be prevented.

    But noooo... presidents (both Bush and Obama) like to paint in broad strokes, so we seem to be changing everything at once. Who knows what will stick for the long term. I think the paint from many of those broad strokes will be peeling in a few years.

    Health care is obviously broken. More broken than not. So broad strokes are appropriate there. But the financial markets are part of the foundation of capitalism and shouldn't be tampered with too much. We had a stable economy before the old regulations were torn down. So we should just go back to what was working then. The game hasn't actually changed since mid-last-century anyway.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:30 PM, leenapaivikki wrote:

    I agree with dancinglight and LessGovernment.

    Few added comments:

    How do you regulate greed? As I see it, there is one way: suffer the consequences produced by your greed. In other words: no bailouts whether individual, so-called "too-large-to-fail" company, or everything in between the two.

    Freedom is one of the foundational rocks of our society. It is one of the major reasons why so many people want to move here from countries with less freedoms and less opportunity. I see our freedoms under attack with the increased legislation proposed. It sounds good, but do you want to go back to being a baby having your messes taken care of by someone else? I think it is time we be responsible for our own messes including getting burned by McDonald's hot coffee or being forced to bankruptcy due to our own greed and poor decisions.

    Our national debt vs GDP has gone up at rate perhaps steeper than during the WWII - the graph is nearly vertically up since Obama took office. The debt is about $11.6T - and counting. Our GDP 2008 was $14.2T (worldbank.org) ==> debt we carry is >80% of last years GDP. There is a book on Fools' to-be-read-list: "The Road to Serfdom" by Hayek which is very fitting reading in the light of our growing debt and increasing government controls on our individual and corporate lives.

    In summary: Keep USA the gem it has been in the world, keep it #1. Do not legislate but expect both individuals and corporations to behave like adults - let us all clean up our own messes ... and read the darn fine print on any contract you sign (the latest: prepaid debit card - what a scam it can be!). Keep taxes down, let us choose our own health care from private health insurance suppliers competing across states ... and to pick it up a notch - let us take responsibility to help those who are in need locally where we actually know the person in question and thus be assured help goes directly to the one needing it and not to the government bureaucracy.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:42 PM, Howard1ii wrote:

    My First Question is, Why is it that EVERYTHING Obama proposes has to be done RIGHT NOW!. Just like healthcare that HAD to be done before Congress' summer break. Let's take some time and do it right instead of just some knee-jerk reaction, so the law of unintended consequences does not come back to bite us 5 years from now. And, let the industry help write it, they are a lot smarter than 99% of our Congressmen (read Barney Frank).

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:45 PM, Gina11 wrote:

    It should be emphasized to the White House that government regulation and oversight must continue as we absolutely cannot go to a completely unregulated economy as demonstrated in the last two decades. Those few who have no morals or integrity make this impossible for the majority who are moral and decent. However, government regulation must actually watch what it is supposed to watch and we cannot tolerate those who are paid off to look the other way while the few gain at the majority's expense. Capitalism is good when all follow the rules and act morally. Unfortunately, there will always be those few who act illegally and immorally. This makes it impossible for self regulation and necessary for the government to act as police for the good of the majority who are law abiding citizens.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:50 PM, IIcx wrote:

    Questions:

    1. Will the new policies/regulations limit individuals from investing online?

    2. How will new policies/regulations help to eliminate identity theft and which agency(s) will be involved?

    3. The proposed regulations clearly relate to improved financial disclosures. How will the new regulations affect online investment communities like Motley Fool?

    4. Will the new regulations improve the accuracy of online company information. Example, the accuracy of information like company dividends is frequently used as criteria for investment yet is frequently inaccurate/different on CNBC, YAHOO, GOOGLE, NASDAQ, etc. and within online trading tools.

    5. If new regulations change the process that discloses information about companies that may be under review by the Treasury, how will the public be informed and will this inadvertently damage the value of securities before facts are actually known?

    6. A significant portion of our country is functionally illiterate (can't read or write). A substantial portion of the issue is due to language barriers. How will CFPA approach financial education objectives and regulations for this segment of our country in support of CRA?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 2:56 PM, Howard1ii wrote:

    Break up the big banks, go back to limiting them to operations within a state. I am convinced that the rapid expansion of B of A, WAMU, into nationwide entities, decreased all oversite at the local level

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:03 PM, cordwood wrote:

    NOTICE

    As of 2:45 10/10/09:

    52 0f 252 comments have been more or less on subject.

    For those of you who have commented,the subject is :"To reform an outdated system of financial regulation and lax oversight." Ref ..3rd parag. "Todays message

    MF STAFF---You obfuscated the question/subject by not stating this in the TEXT of the article!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:14 PM, cordwood wrote:

    FOR THE PESSIMISTS:

    The "todays message"[Referenced in preamble to MF article], is a qoutation of the Presidents remarks.At the introduction he thanks,among others,.."for their leadership and enthusiasm on this issue Sen. Chris Dodd and Barney Frank.."

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:35 PM, belleressler wrote:

    Banks and brokerages must be separate entities. Insurance companies (AIG) must stick to insurance. No one can get "too big to fail" Unless we regulate these institutions and keep them on target we will repeat this debacle. Those who were bailed out think we will bail them out again We MUST NOT. Get new regulations with teeth and see that the regs are adhered to. NO EXCEPTIONS.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:35 PM, majestik wrote:

    All hail the great Caesar Barack Obamacus!! Long live the new Roman Empire.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:37 PM, IIcx wrote:

    cordwood,

    The president is blasting the Banking industry for "not giving a sucker an even break".

    Its pretty sick when you can't even trust a banker any more.

    The problem is lax government enforcement and all the foolish legislation Congress has passed.

    "Fools" got it right, immediately reinstitute Glass-Steagell to take the circus barkers out of banking.

    Regards, IIcx

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:39 PM, fowlermike wrote:

    I agree with many of the comments above, but what we have in Congress is the fox watching the henhouse. The banks and financials institutions are certainly to blame for a lot of what went wrong (greed and more greed), but with the likes of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank and oh yeah let's not forget, Charlie Rangel writing our tax laws and banking legislation, we are setting ourselves up for failure again. Fannie and Freddie were certainly a major reason for the crisis we are in - Franklin Raines and others directly tied to present or past presidents walked away with tens of millions of dollars or more for doing little of nothing to earn it. Let's call a spade a spade and let's put some meaningful legislation on Congress as well as the banking industry. As my dad use to tell me, follow the money son, follow the money.

    If you think this financial crisis is bad just wait until we have government run health care - but again what do our legislators care - they won't be around when it all comes crashing down around us.

    God Bless America and the idiots we have placed in Washington to watch the hen house.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:48 PM, laurael wrote:

    Hello Fellow Fed-up Americans and Fools

    I am not as advanced as all of you and my comments are simple and to the point.

    First off, most of the criminals in our lives are held by political office members. We should have a cleansing of government because they only serve themselves and their crony friends. We have to pay for them and their mistakes constantly leaving little if anything for us to live on. Let's stop that immediately!! (I'd like to see if anyone is brave enough to file a lawsuit to sue the government of embezzling social security funds, that money was never supposed to be touched and yet it is all gone and no one is to blame!??) Oh wait, let's just create another new tax and have the people pay yet again for mistakes made by greedy gov't officials.

    I also think if limiting monies to corporations and such for pay and bonuses lets include higher-up government peoples as well. These salaries and perks to serve "we the people" have become an abomination and an abuse of power in their own right!! Also, instead of free medical coverage for them let them pay like the rest of us!! Benefits are a privilege to a job well done and none of these people deserve these perks any longer!

    Credit card companies, wall street investing, big corporations and government have created an ignorant American society of unparalled proportion.

    It's all about consumer spending and keeping up with the 'Jones'.(sorry to all of you Jones' out there!!) That's all most people think about. ( A country of cows, we are what we eat!! being led to the slaughter and beyond.)

    There are no morals or values left in our country. Thanks to our 'justice system' anything worth while is illegal to say or do or to act upon as an American, but yet if you are illegal you have the right to march and be heard and recognized and given what is left of our social securities monies while we pay and pay...!! Blasphemy!! Shame on our officials!! Want to live here follow the rules to immigration if not our National Guard or better yet our troops overseas should round up all illegals and ship them back to where they came from and protect our own borders.

    We should set limits on monies expected to be traded for products from other countries. America used to be quite self-sufficient, but now we depend on bad products from greedy bad people. Who really needs them or their products? (I try to buy only American and I pay quite a price for that which makes my budget difficult) Just yesterday I had to quit being a member as I cannot afford the fees) joined back up free to post these comments THANK YOU Motley Fool!!) Let's bring good ol' mom and pop stores back into existence and let big corporations and monopolies which run America go down the tubes and out of business. Oh wait here comes gov't bail outs for failing big greedy businesses... gee, what part of capitalism is that? I thought it was business thrives and if well run it succeeds if not doors are closed and new opportunities present themselves.... well not in this capitalist society. Hey if you look really careful at where all that money went it is right back in the hands of those who squandered it in the first place as bonuses and such.... way to go government!!

    I also agree with what someone posted earlier health care is not the governments business. What is is regulations and enforcing regulations on insurance companies and doctors and hospitals to make sure the are up to par and providing affordable coverage.

    In America we all woke up one morning and all the prices of goods and services were tripled or better no one questioned this?, but everyone went right along with it and now here we are in a disturbing mess, our poor children. How sad!! for them to have to deal with such a mess!!

    My closing comment (for I could write all day long) but there are other peoples bills to pay and some of my own.....why should God bless America when we have kicked Him out!! Thanks for reading and possibly agreeing.... Here's to our future!!! Good Luck All

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:49 PM, cordwood wrote:

    FOR the OPTIMISTS:

    Ref. "Todays Message"

    In conclussion by the President:"...there's too little accountability on Wall Street,and too little protection for Main Street.I will not allow this country to go back there.We must move forward.It is time for real change".

    Since 52 of 245,[21%], Fools could stay on subject,just perhaps 21% of the participants in the conference MIGHT stay on subject.

    PS Among others,profjmb,subsurfacemapper,thisislabor,jwoods-your comments made sense IMHO.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 3:51 PM, shcdmd wrote:

    The place to start seems pretty obvious to me. Simplistic, but obvious nevertheless. The place to start would be to eliminate all lobbies. Make it illegal, with no exceptions to try to organize, or consolidate in any way, shape or form, to influence any elected official, and/or any of the appointees or employees of any government individual or entity in the US, including the Judiciary. Make it just as illegal to accept anything from any person or group acting in the same capacity, even if the name of the category is changed.

    Make the penalties so great, that they will actually work. Perhaps make the penalty for any elected official, appointee, etc. taking money or anything else from any lobby or lobby-like entity, unconditional and immediate removal from office, without any possibility of holding office again. Also mandating the loss of pensions, perks, health benefits, or any other benefits that make these fat cats so feel so superior to the ignored public that they are supposed to represent, would seem warranted, as well.

    And especially, tracking down and seizing any money derived from what today is just a form of legalized bribery. Ditto for forcing the severance from any employment or contracts given in lieu of financial rewards. From the highest to the lowest position, federal, state or local, no reprieves, pardons or the like. No exceptions,

    It seems ludicrous how we Americans talk with disdain about graft, and corruption, in other countries. How politicians and the law are bought and paid for by the hired guns within these comparatively second worldly countries. How superior we are!

    Can we be so naive, to not realize that the exact same things are going on here, but we just slap a different label on it? (This is a rhetoric question, as the author of this post is fearful of how the question would be answered today by most Americans).

    Take the power away from the mostly rich and privileged government elite, who could care less about what their constituent’s desire, and return it to their constituents. Americans no longer want or need elected officials that "knows what is best," for them, ignoring their electorate, the public will and public good, for the personal agendas of the fat cats. Isn't that the definition of the word dictator? Benevolent or not, a dictator is still a dictator!

    Level the playing field, by limiting campaigns, to open up office to all Americans, not just the privileged and wealthy elite. And do more than just talk about term limits.

    Until these basic changes are made, any of the specific financial fixes discussed in this forum will be just as short lived and ineffective as the rest of the garbage coming out of Washington.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 4:05 PM, gmcgfool wrote:

    I wish the White House and Congress would really take time to read these many comments. There are very intelligent citizens beyond the "Beltway" who have insights about what caused the demise of our country and how to rebuild a once proud nation.

    Same-old Same-old business as usual in Washington D.C. has been exposed as Government by the Banks, Corporations, Goldman Sachs and free-spending Lobbyists. Out of the debris of the financial well-being of our citizens MUST come a number of reforms to return Federal Government as "for the people" instead of as for the vested interests that now control it for their own personal gains.

    Remember, if no other way our voices CAN be heard via the Ballot Box!!

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 4:24 PM, kmacattack wrote:

    A good start toward solving ALL of these problems would be to initiate public financing into al federal elections. The republicans have killed this proposal every time it has come up. Natuarally, if you can outspend your opponents 2 to 1 which they were able to do in past election cycles, you wouldn't want your opponents to be on a level playing field. Now that the democrats have finally figured out how to raise money on an equal footing, thanks largely to Howard Dean's innovative Internet campaign, the republicans can no longer "buy" an election by vastly outspending opponents. Now that the democrats are in firm control of congress, and given their newly discovered ability to effectively gather campaign contributions, the republicans should be more willing to look at the bill. With a recovering economy, the republicans could lose even more seats in next fall's election. This is the real reason why Rush Limbaugh quipped "I hope he fails" regarding Obama's presidency. In other words, it is more important to get republicans back in control of things than to end the near depression that Obama inherited. If Obama succeeds (which he is doing-most forecasts were a deep recession lasting until late 2010, which would probably regain congress for Limbaughs friends.

    Obama's policies are the antithesis of the Bush/Hoover "trickle down" laissez faire steal all you can get away with policy, which have produced nothing but disaster for 95% of Americans every time they are implemented. Of course, if you are part of the "better 5%", than you love the monopoly game, because you always win, and what better way to insure that you win than to "contribute" (bribe) the elected officials who write the rules to the game?

    How about a novel concept? Politicians should be forced to campaign based on ideas, ith head to head debate with their opponents where money has no influence on the outcome. For starters, public access should be given at no charge in th broadcast media. If you will read history, you will learn that broadcast licenses were initially granted not for the purpose of creating wealth, but their sole purpose was TO SERVE THE PUBLIC INTEREST. Sen. Spector once killed this bill saying that it was "confiscation of private property." The airwaves are SUPPOSED TO BE PUBLIC, NOT PRIVATE PROPERTY.

    Eliminating the corrupt system of campaign financing could also go a long way toward reducing deficit spending, since a lot of deficit spending is generated due to an obligation to PAY BACK DEBTS owed for campaign contributions. Whether it is "hard" or "soft" money, the end effect can often be a corrupting influence to a politician, regardless of party affiliation. Karl Rove, through his innovative "founders clubs" found an innovative way to hide illegal corporate contributions to Bush/Cheney. For example, Oil Executives at Enron were encouraged to donate the maximum allowed to Bush as "individuals", then were reimbursed by the company. Bush was provided free transportation on the big Enron jet so that he could effectively campaign. The republican party received approximately $450 MILLION IN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM 2000 till 2005 from Oil Companies PAC and traceble individual donations. Gasoline was selling for $0.79 per gallon in my area in early 1999, and for nearly $5.00 per gallon in 2008. The republican congress never bothered to ask why. Could there be some reason for that indifference? It's just "free enterprise", right. Don't question, and for God's sake, don't mention the word REGULATION.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 4:26 PM, Beginner110 wrote:

    As a former mortgage banker with some knowledge of underwriting, I was amazed at the lack of standards that evolved and the enormous sums paid out for incompetency and lies. I am not as concerned with protecting the consumer as I am the investor however, I recognize that protection of the investor necessitates protection of the consumer. Disclosure of standards used would enable the investor to know the quality of their proposed investment. I could go on and on but suffice it to say consumers need to be protected from themselves. As to employee compensation, society should cease rewarding instant self gratification. I have my own ideas in this regard.

    Having said all this, creation of another government bureacy is not necessarilly the answer, unless the net results are fewer people due to the consolidation of authority and responsibility, and a directive that the average person can read and understand. If lawyers and politicians write it, you can rest assured no one will understand the purpose.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 4:40 PM, tom1125 wrote:

    Before the whitehouse regulates the banking industry, maybe they should look into regulating the commodities exchange. Look what they did to the price of gas @ $4 per gallon when the economy was going south for the rest of us. This was nothing short of massive greed on their part with nothing to stop them.Some sort of regulation is needed here.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 4:49 PM, DavidBear wrote:

    1) Reinstate Glass-Stegelmann. It kept us safe for over 60+ years. Those rules were well thought out to protect Americans from the excess of speculation and to allow the markets to remain efficient. Every time we have tampered with it we have unearthed additional financial instability. First in the 80s, more recently in this century. And while it is true that Glass-Stegelmann will reduce overall market liquidity, it will also stem the wild oscillations that lead to current crisis.

    2) Force banks to hold (at random) 20% of the loans they originate. This will allow the efficiency of capital markets to continue to boost liquidity for those who need loans and it will assure that the banks underwriting standards are maintained.

    3) Reinstate the up-tick rule and go after naked shorting. The SEC should be enforcing laws already on the books.

    4) Create laws that will break into pieces any corporation which is deemed by the government to be "to big to fail."

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 4:52 PM, ferg6 wrote:

    Remember when the Clintonites reformed an outdated system?

    Keep it simple: all players have the same rules; break the rules, leave the game.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 5:07 PM, msm3rd wrote:

    I agree with much of what J.P. Sauvage had to say. I would like to add that we completely get rid of political contributions from lobbyists. I realize that freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution, but this speech is not free. It is PAID FOR. If I could have the exact same access to my congressperson or senator as the likes of big oil, big pharma, or big insurance, I would not have a problem with those contributions. But because the big corporations pay our representatives lots of money through campaign contributions, they get all the the face time, not me.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 6:30 PM, rclark1940 wrote:

    While "financial regulation" makes for good political press, this needs to be handled with great care.

    I want less, not more regulation i.e. intervention/meddling,

    o Less well-meant meddling with 'affordable housing' and interest rates.

    o No interest rate 'reductions' Foreclosures are the final reconning...get it over with and get those properties sold and re occupied.(If mortgage borrowers are unqualified, that's unfortunate...save more and come back again...who ultimately pays for these ? Corporate and individual taxpayers-me!)

    o Do the research, get past the rhetoric, find the true causes, then decide.

    o One cource of action nobody wants to consider, because it isn't newsworthy: DO NOTHING

    o I want legislators to be held accountable for bad policies. Rep Franks, Sen Dodd, as well as Hillary Clinton, Kit Bond, and others trying to 'help' clearly caused this problem, where nothing was needed. They need to leave their positions and go out in the real world and earn a living.

    I believe the root of this economic meltdown goes back to:

    o Misplaced efforts by Rep Frank and Sen Dodd and others on both sides to address 'affordable housing' (which was only a problem in relatively few areas) and force financial institutions to reduce their mortgage qualifications to 'assist' unqualified individuals to get mortgages.

    o Low interest/teaser rates, little or no down payments, interest-only loans, etc.

    o Fannie and Freddie susidized,

    o Ratings agencies with little experience rating the quality of the packaged mortgages misled investors to think these packages were safe,

    o Real estate prices escalating causing too many buyers and owners to spend too much, or to refinance and tale out equity and simply spend it.

    o Delinquencies, foreclosures, and rapid declines in values, and consumer spending

    o Layoffs and corporate failures,

    o Stock market crashes.

    THEN...the same guys, Frank and Dodd, et. al., led by the new administration, spend like , well, Democrats, to 'bail out' the financial institutions, GM. etc They caused it and now they think they can fix it??? NUTS!

    I've suffered market losses of +/- 40%, real estate losses of +/- $200k, and now I and my kids are to pay off the governments 'stimulus' borrowing to the moon!?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 6:37 PM, countboris wrote:

    Regulation by the government might have helped control the excesses that caused today's problems.

    Congress merely helped to de-regulate. Since Congress is really just the whore of Wall Street there is really little hope that any meaningful regulation will occur. We are doomed to have a replay of the same'ol, same'ol in a few years and the destruction of our economy will be even more devestating.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 6:39 PM, money4bear wrote:

    1. No new federal agency is needed - ever.

    2. The problem is not a lack of regulations or agencies to rule over the regulations.

    3. In large part, the problem is lack of diligence (read, "do your job") on the part of those who should have been minding the store all along. Congress had plenty of warning but DECIDED to turn their heads at the behest of their cronies - not to mention the advantages they were able to leverage out of the situation.

    4. The MYTH: one federal agency replacing several agencies does not improve performance, nor does it reduce costs in the "federal world". It does focus power in the single agency and significantly shrinks the variety of perspectives that have oversight.

    5. If you want to improve effectiveness of oversight, add a rotating panel of small investors to the effort and give them a microphone to rat out the offenders.

    I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but if I wanted to have greater control over the economy, creating single-point control of credit would be an important step.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 6:47 PM, RevMother wrote:

    Simplify the language for stockholders. I just received a ballot with 15 items on it from one of the Funds my 401c3 is invested in. It came with a 70+ page book that is not intelligible. It reminds me of the booklet we get from the state before an election, except those are in plain language.

    This is my money and I've lost a lot in this 'great recession' just like most investors. They want me to vote on changes ... so they can say I had an opportunity to influence the direction they are taking my investment ... but there is no real explanation.

    I have a degree from Yale that is equivalent to a law degree or medical degree. I should not need a PhD in Economics or Bus. Admin to understand what I am being asked to vote on. At least in a state election, I get both sides of the issues. Where is information from a shareholders group?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 7:02 PM, IIcx wrote:

    I've been following this blog since it was posted and have to say thanks to MF Staff for posting it but why didn't you post your comments up front?

    You ask us to buy your insight (newsletter) yet for a topic as meaningful this this blog title (opportunity) -- you left us hanging.

    Why?

    Isn't this exactly what's wrong with Banking?

    Best, IIcx

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 7:25 PM, fool4theking wrote:

    If you have the guts to speak truth to power, then go with the list from dancinglight and some similar comments from other Fools.

    If you don't have the guts, then you might as well tell the President that you don't think he really wants to hear what Fools have to say, so you will respectfully decline to participate.

    I really don't know why you think this opportunity is so exciting, as this president is just as bought and paid for as others in recent memory.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 7:38 PM, IIcx wrote:

    I'm actually wiping a tear from my eye as I read fool4king's comment but have to agree -- if you don't have any "brass" you'll never get another dime from Motley Fools.

    Consider taking Ben and Jerry along for the ride : )

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 7:50 PM, IIcx wrote:

    PS Phineas Taylor Barnum is dead and gone...

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 7:51 PM, garyjohns52 wrote:

    I support the idea that this legislation should be enacted as written and not be allowed to be watered down.

    I may be late in that wish in that I understand Mr Barney Frank has already submitted some changes. I truly hope he retracts those changes because these companies need to realize how deeply they have hurt their own clients by playing so fast and loose with our money.

    Lessons need to be learned.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 7:52 PM, PsycheDaddy wrote:

    This is off subject. Did you see the movie I.O.U.S.A.?

    Google it and watch the short 30 minute version.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 8:04 PM, IIcx wrote:

    what last minute changes has Barney Frank submit grayjohns52 related to cleaning up a mess at the companies/client cost and ours?

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 8:09 PM, groenfeldt wrote:

    Philip Augar, a former investment banker in London, says the solution is to make banks split up their business, not just separating investment banking and deposit taking, but M&A advice from M&A fee-making -- he says investment banking takes billions out of the economy through high fees and mergers that destroy value.

    See my more detailed note at

    http://www.techandfinance.com/index.php?/site/comments/booki...

    Unfortunately, the US is moving in the opposite direction by supporting successful banks in thier acquisition of failed firms. Augar's prescription would leave a lot of oversight to the markets and firms induling in risky trading could fail without wider repercussions.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 8:23 PM, busterbuddy wrote:

    There is no way this administration has the knowledge to define the needed regulation reform. Those in the White House sit on the consumer side of the economy with no real understanding of what makes the economy work. There are three major problems.

    1. We are at war but we think we can just not fight. We think everyone is ok all we have to do it talk to them. We just thought the Cold War is over its not the battles just changed.

    2. Those sitting in New England have run this country too long. Its time to move the financial center and controlling Banks out of New York, Penn and Boston.

    3. Unless you move the financial markets back to basics, a places where people who build things go for capital, what happened last year was just a warning shot. Anyone notice Goldman Sach got their money, covered their risk and all because of TARP money that went to cover AIG's insurance policies written against hedging. Those that is what needs to be regulated. You can't buy insurance to insure you don't lose money on a leverage investment.

    4. Elect someone who knows what they are talking about. Appoint a Mid Western ( not Chicago) banker to develop the regulation.

    5. We had good sound regulation. We separated the investment banks from the commerical banks. And we undid that regulation thinking it was old fashion. Look what happened.

    6. The market can be cornered. People are trying everyday to do it. Right now they are able to because of the lack of correct type of regulation. But it will not change because those in charge. Haven't build any thing. Don't produce anything. And have spend most of their time trying to revise History rather than understand it.

    The builders are in Brazil, China, India and other parts of the world. We have unfortunate for us devised this plan of service economy with no able to create capital. Where CEO's get Millions of dollars in pay for doing, "What"? Well this answer is "Cause the neighbor CEO gets that?

    If you have to ask the public what needs to be done to regulate the market then I'd say, you need to go home because you are clueless.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 9:03 PM, TzingerToo wrote:

    The financial industry meltdown is simply unforgivable. Investors expect banks to be conservative. We invest in banks for modest growth and dividends. The change that let investment banks and regular banks threw away the sensitivity to risk.

    Not only did this happen during the great depression. It was also part of the reason for the meltdown in 2001. In that case it was because the telecom (and other tech manufacturers) decided it was wise to be their own bankers. They sold equipment and loaned their customers the money to buy it!!!

    This is the kind of insanity that has to stop. Investors need to understand the real risks. The risk reports provided by companies in their annual reports are an absolute joke.It's better to regulate the banking industry and separate it from Wall Street.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 9:53 PM, VisionDo wrote:

    (1) Management selects (recommends) the Board, and the Board determines the compensation. The compensation lawyer/consultants are paid by the company. It is just like the rating agencies paid by the companies to rate their bonds. Who is really taking care of the shareholders' interests?

    (2) The people at the top are definitely smart, but they cannot create money out of thin air. There is the size, the scale and the infrastructure of the corporation that give them the opportunity to perform. Their compensation should not be a percentage of the revenue, else how much should we pay our President who oversees the largest GDP of the world?

    (3) Why are we look towards China and Japan to buy our bonds - it is because they make things, and earn our money through the old fashion way. The US is spoiled being the reserve currency of choice so we can print money. I have talked to Federal Reserve officials, and they all assume the US could keep that status. We better be on our toes and be alert. We must make hard decisions like trade-offs between guns and better like every other countries.

    (4) Our manufacturing jobs had moved overseas, and now engineering jobs also, just compare the number of engineers currently in the US versus previous years in many large high tech corporations in the Silicon Valley. Even service jobs are not safe as some developing countries are promoting medical tourism. What does the US have left except our farmland, lobbyists and "financial innovators?" Obama would leave a legacy if he can face the new normal and point a way for our children where there will be decent jobs.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:19 PM, pixal wrote:

    Regulatory reform controlled by a government which has screwed up social security, medicare, etc. does not inspire confidence. Be careful how much freedom we give up. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin....Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:22 PM, kmacattack wrote:

    I have to LMAO when I read the comments from those of you who imply that everything went to hell in a handbasket after Obama took office. The train wasn't headed for a wreck, it was already off the tracks and about to fall off a cliff. Your president Hooverbush did a hell of a job, (from the viewpoint of the Monopoly players in the Oil, Pharma, Banking and Brokerage business) of economy management.

    As much as I despise Citibank and their fellow bunch of bank-robbers (I remember when the bank-robbers didn't work for the bank), the low-life predatory mortgage lenders who years ago advertised $300,000 homes for $800 payments, the greedy Oil companies who drove gas prices to $5.00 per gallon which almost single handedly destroyed discretionary family spending and killed retail, Big Pharma, and, last but not least, our "friends" in the Insurance industry who so many of you defend as not needing government regulation. All these fine actors should be allowed to regulate themselves. Anything else is socialism, right?

    Even Andrew Carnegie, the father of your beloved "trickle down" theory believed that monopolies should not be allowed, nor should wealth be inherited. $5.00 gas prices, lenders' outrageous interest rates and fees, Incomprehensible medical costs, and other abuses all boil down to a one word summation- GREED.

    With the contempt I view Citi, AIG and others who were "bailed out", it was absolutely necessary to do this to prevent the real possibility of a depression. The economy was at its most fragile point since 1932. Of course if we had fallen into depression, then the republicans could have once again assumed their rightful position of conducting the train, and if you made a living shorting, you could become a baziillionaire in the meantime. BRILLIANT !

    The answer is not pure capitalism, nor socialism, but a position in the middle. Of course many of you consider any regulation of business or naional public policy designed to benefit anybody but the top 5% as socialistic. How many of you are going to send back your social security checks ? If not, does that not make YOU a socialist?

    For the record, I consider your hard line " don't confuse me with facts because I've got my mind made up" inflexible positions to be SOCIOPATHIC.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:25 PM, 1putt2pin wrote:

    Here’s my 2 cents on Bonuses.

    I’m not a big believer in bonuses. They promote the “Me mentality” and foster the belief that top executives work harder than others in the firm. If executives’ are so confident in their abilities, then let’s float their bonuses with the performance of the company. If the company does well then give them a “limited” bonus, however, if the company does poor then there is no bonus and their salary is cut proportional to the performance of the company.

    This is the simple fact of putting your money where your mouth is and I bet very few “self-worthy executives” have the kahoona’s to do it. As investors why should we throw our money away at these clowns?

    If this mentality was adopted then I’ll be the first to extend my hand and welcome them back to the Real World!

    As the jingle use to go “I get my money the old fashion way…I earn it!”

    Personally, I have to add a second line. “When I screw up… I lose it!”

    That’s nothing but responsibility.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 10:43 PM, AfoolwondersNot wrote:

    Give the SEC better tools along with more power. Search far and wide for a way to implement viable checks and balances.

    Change the health care system period. There are plenty of models to look at. Amalgamate the good and throw in some good ol' common sense and "git 'er done". Very very affordable catastrophic insurance is *essential* in my view. The President does not need everyone on board to reform the health care system. Be willing to make some enemies for the sake of the greater good.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:13 PM, Brian0712 wrote:

    1. Reinstate Glass-Steagle

    2. Shake up the Fed

    3. Shake up the SEC

    4. Abandon 'too big to fail'

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:14 PM, kmacattack wrote:

    Just to add a couple of more points: the idea that low wage earners should have not been given mortgages is a vast oversimplification. The lenders who made these loans in many cases hoped that the customers would default, because they would make a huge profit on the foreclosed property-as long as real estate skyrocketed in CA and Florida, especially.

    When they raised interest rates from 4% to 15% or more, it was a safe bet that foreclosures would follow. If only they could have controlled the pace of foreclosures, real estate wouldn't have crashed. At the same time, energy prices quadrupled and medical expenses doubled. A triple dose of extreme

    GREED killed real estate and retail at the same time, and the SNOWBALL OF UNREGULATED corporations ran downhill fast.

    Blaming the automakers for building cars that people didn't want to buy anymore is vastly oversimplified, just as blaming labor unions as SC Senator Dement(ed) suggested. Labor cost at a unionized plant runs about 8% of the price of the car (about the same as in non-union plants in the US). Ten years ago, GM had the technology available to go to market with a hydrogen vehicle, and approached the major oil companies if they would install hydrogen pumps at their retail outlets, which monopolize about 90% of the gasoline retailers. Their answer was a flat NO WAY.

    Then came "W" and Cheney, largely elected by Big Oil, and one of the first "reforms" passed was the 100% ONE YEAR TAX CREDIT if you owned a business and would purchased a vehicle in excess of 6,200 lbs. gross weight, you could write off an $80,000 Hummer in ONE YEAR, or Suburban, or Excursion. While you were at it, just pick one up for your wife and don't forget the kids. Drive through an affluent neighborhood in a major city at 5 o clock and count the SUV's. So what if they get 9 MPG, the "Folks" in the Oil business gave folks gave $450 Million to the campaign. The Oil companies loved it. The automakers loved the tax credit, too, because the "plus sized" vehicles generated a lot of profit, much more profit on a $45,000 9 mpg Excursion than on a $12,000 Focus.

    Good deal! Oil companies make money, the automakers make money, we import more oil for the SUV's. No problem. Not until gasoline skyrocketed to $5.00 per gallon, and the oil companies were telling us that we were "lucky" we weren't paying $9.00 like some other places. (Except their cars average 45 mpg which does make a difference) At the same time, gas was selling for less than $1.00 per gallon in several countries. Congress held "hearings" to make sure that there was no price fixing or gouging. It went like this : Sen. Fullabull "Mr. Exxon, do you think that you are making too much money?" Mr. Exxon, No Senator, I'm not." Sen. Fullabull: "OK, Mr. Exxon, I believe you. Go in Peace."

    $5.00 gasoline killed not only the nation's automakers, but about 80% of the country's disposable income, and eroded many people's ability to afford such luxuries as ....making a house payment., buying a $4 gallon of milk or a $3 pound of tomatoes. Of course, the administration did admit that inflation was up a little, to about 3% they said, which I considered to be just another example of "Bush.t"

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:24 PM, susankyoozan wrote:

    I agree with the Hedgehog for the most part.

    Universal Single Payer Health Care is a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned.

    And yes, regulation of the financial industry is also a no-brainer. I just saw Michael Moore's new film"Capitalism: A Love Story", and thank god someone is calling a spade a spade.

    As for the Obama's prize, he hasn't earned it yet, and could very well disapoint, but maybe he was awarded it as a representative of everyone who voted for him.

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:31 PM, solarfool314 wrote:

    Allow Insurance companies to compete nationally.

    Create a national alternative health pool for those willing to trust the government.

    All corporate bonuses should be contingent on profit.

    Limit leverage, especially in industries that can blackmail the public to bail them out if something goes wrong.

    Pray for a miracle, we still need one!

    Charles Hunter Wilson

  • Report this Comment On October 10, 2009, at 11:49 PM, angusthermopylae wrote:

    susankyoozan,

    I never really understood that phrase. I would call a "spade" a "shovel."

    :-)

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:01 AM, Lonestarlet wrote:

    Regardless of what the policies are or will be coming out of the HopeNChange Administration, the problems begin with the shameful personal character and abject hypocrisy of those people who are writing the rules and enforcing them. You already know their names.

    We don't need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We need to burn down the barn to get rid of the rats. But in a civilized society, we don't do that.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:06 AM, 70scarnut wrote:

    Someone has to pay for the massive debt that continues to expand. It seem easier for our representives to tax "big" business. Then, when the cost is passed on to the consummer, guess who gets all the blame!

    We need the Fair Tax system put in place. There would be a mass movement of business back to this country. This would provide new job oportunities and help get this country back on the right track.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:12 AM, Lonestarlet wrote:

    From susankyoozan: "I just saw Michael Moore's new film"Capitalism: A Love Story", and thank god someone is calling a spade a spade."

    I just saw Michael Moore interviewed by Sean Hannity about his new movie. The guy clearly has a twisted idea about what "PROFIT" is. He is, obviously, a very bright guy, or he wouldn't be the millionaire he is today. However, he is trying to help redefine capitalism and that is a bad thing. So my assessment is that he is calling a "spade" a "banana".

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:31 AM, MBLacey wrote:

    To: LessGovernment - I'm not Drew and I don't know if an earlier comment has given you the answer, but here is where you can find Federal Premiums for 2010 http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/rates/index.asp

    Here is where you can find a summary of benefits for the plans - you will have to click on a state and download a pdf for whatever you want to check.

    http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/planinfo/index.asp - brochures should be updated for 2010 shortly - premiums are already updated.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:43 AM, kikikelly wrote:

    I would suggest that they look at the King and I musical and the song "A puzzlement" If a government is strong enough to protect me will it not protect me out of all I own." Maybe we should not give any more power to the government----but they don't appear to be listening to the people....and do want to protect us out of all of our assets and decisions.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:47 AM, eaglett101 wrote:

    How do you trust the people that put us in this mess to begin with and now they want our help. Who is going to regulate the regulators. In part the problem came from regulators who did not do the job they were paid to do. Now the head of fanny and freddie are advisors to the Prez, weren't they part of the problem.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:58 AM, ValuePEG wrote:

    Universal single-payer healthcare is at the top of my list. I totally agree w/ hedgehog on this, furthermore start the arbitration & get rid of the lawyers / excess medical insurance.

    IIcx, makes some good points except for the TV comment.

    I also agree that if a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist, stop the MEGA MERGERS.

    BAN NAKED SHORT SELLING NOW!!, heck I'm ok with banning short selling completely and letting the OWNERS of the companies control their prices/values.

    On to energy independence, the only way this is going to happen is to support independent investment in drilling programs. By banning deductions of IDC's & depletion allowances for individuals you are setting it up where only corporations will make these investments since the deduction still applies to them. In short this new legislation will not affect large corps like Exxon & Connoco/Philips, but could potentially bankrupt 100's of start-up / small E&P companies that rely on individual investors. Without these companies & investors to develop what we have here in the U.S. we will be more reliant on foreign oil & gas (see "The Russians are Coming" article on LPG imports), as well as higher prices will be mandated, which in turn will hinder recovery.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 1:04 AM, tonyrterral wrote:

    My concern is the loop hole left to credit card companies, which could wreck millions of card holders. I am referring to allowing them to raise the minimum due from 2% to 5% like J P Morgan has reportedly done. That could throw millions of people into default who have been paying on time!

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 1:12 AM, tpearse wrote:

    I concur with Peter Boone and Simon Johnson:

    http://baselinescenario.com/2009/09/21/the-fed-regulation-an...

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 1:17 AM, newtier1 wrote:

    The financial gurus are finally stating the obvious, that companies can no longer remain profitable simply by cutting costs (read "cutting jobs").

    They are also stating the obvious that until people start spending more, our economy will not grow. People cannot spend more than necessary if they have lost their jobs, or are too scared to spend more than necessary when they fear they may lose their jobs.

    Obama claims he wants to "create jobs". He states he wants to have watch dogs and stronger regulation.

    He allowed $Bil to be doled out to financial firms to "keep them from failing" (granted, bankruptcies would have cost jobs, but the execs would not have gotten bonuses, at least I hope not).

    How many of the financial firms who received stimulus $ laid off workers, and yet had enough "profits" to pay executive bonuses?

    Shouldn't that bonus money have been used to preserve jobs? ANY company receiving stimulus money should not be allowed jobs to be cut unless it was the difference between not operating at a loss. Furthermore, no executives should ever receive bonuses if they have to lay off people in that year. "Cost cutting does NOT EQUAL profit". Executive bonuses should be given for growing businesses, not cutting costs. If costs are cut because there is "too much fat" in a company, that is just the job of the executives, to identify the excess and cut it if needed. They already receive a high salary for doing this.

    Executive bonuses should only be given for profits in excess of what was otherwise considered available through normal business operations. (Low level employee bonuses are still acceptable for workers who go above and beyond their normal job requirements.)

    As for raising taxes to pay off stimulus $, how about taxing:

    1) Higher tax rate on executive compensation beyond normal salary (perhaps at a higher rate if the company laid off employees that year)

    2) Higher tax rate on executive compensation that exceeds more than 40 times the "lowest" compensation of any employee (full or part-time) on an annualized cost basis (and yes ... that means more than 40 times minimum wage, and possibly 40 times a rate lower than minimum, if a company is in violation of the law!)

    3) "Tariff" on goods AND labor based on the combined value of $ spent offshore for goods, services, software, etc. PLUS the value of "$ saved" (difference between what it would have cost to hire U.S. citizens on American soil) vs. sending the work offshore or using resources from offshore.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 2:47 AM, JE12RRY wrote:

    Dear President Obama, 1) We must have the public option. If you get it passed with 50 votes in the Senate + V.P. Biden & the majority of the Democrats in the Congress--Don't worry about the Republicans. They are not worried about you. Show the courage you used in your bid for election & be strong.

    As for the financial end-I feel you have to get Sommers & Secretary of State Geitner to tender their resignations. They were in the banking industry & advising during the time when all; the bad happened to the banks & Wall Street. You will not be able to straighten the financial mess until you get people on your staff that are divorced from or never connected directly with Wall Street & the banking industry. Edxample, Paul

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 3:07 AM, JE12RRY wrote:

    Dear President Obama, 1) we must have the total health care reform package including the Public Option.

    There can be no compromise. The Republicans are out to defeat you and the Democratic Party & care less about the people of the United States. You must bypass them & gather your strength from the Democrats by verbal force if need be. We are too close to what hasn't been done since the Truman era

    2)You must rid your staff of Secretary Geithner & Sommers who were around the banking & financial industry while the two industries were self destructing

    & they are not about to burn the hands that fed them

    or will feed them when they leave your administration. Just look at what Rueben had done

    & he was in the Clinton Cabinet. These two are his allies before & now & after.

    You have a tremendous load on your shoulders & you need people like Hillary Clinton who is loyal to your wishes & doesn't have her own agenda to muddy the waters.

    You were given the Nobel Prize, not for what you have done, but for what you have verbalized in your many speeches. Don't let the Republicans stand in your way. You have the balance of these 4 years to get what you want to accomplish done & after that the public will probably take your congressional & Senate strength away from yo & if re-elected you will be a lame duck. What has to be done has to be done now.You cAN DO IT.

    As for Afghanistan, No new troops. Go after Alquida

    & let Afghanistan handle their own problems. The only Nation building we can afford is our Nation. The monies spent there will pay for health care & more.

    God Bless America & God Bless you, President Obama

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 3:30 AM, mcgarig1 wrote:

    Quarterly reports of profit and loss are too short and force us into short term thinking.

    Change them to semi-annual and investments will grow, CEO's will be able to focus on products and growth rather than stock price, inventors and developers will get more time to develop their ideas, the stock market will settle down and the whole country will be a lot better off without the crazy quarterlies, that make everything crazy.

    Dan McGarigle

    El Segundo, CA

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 4:06 AM, bbf4x4 wrote:

    The regulation needed should be to reduce leverage to less than 10 to 1 on all loans.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 6:24 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    I would like to add that

    1putt2pin,

    has been the only person who has said anything yet that makes me believe that bonus's shouldn't be given to top executives.

    "Here’s my 2 cents on Bonuses.

    I’m not a big believer in bonuses. They promote the “Me mentality” and foster the belief that top executives work harder than others in the firm."

    Everything I think I have heard besides that has done nothing but make me a more firm believer in issuing bonuses for work done.

    And, for what's it worth, I think top executives DO work harder than others in the firm.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 6:27 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    What I don't get is what is with all these jealous people looking at someone else who get's paid more than them and trying to pull them down.

    It reminds me of crabs in a bucket. Even within 2" of the brim they can't up and over it, because each crab will grab the legs of the one above it, and pull it down.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 7:38 AM, TheOthermfa wrote:

    "The White House Wants to Hear from fools"? ...that explains a lot. Oh... Fools, not fools. Good idea.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 8:17 AM, garagemonkey wrote:

    Don't ask Washington!

    Tell them the truth:

    At present there is no way to accurately access risk.

    Accounting is not rocket science and transparency cannot detect camouflage. (Enron, etc...)

    There is no substitute for collateral. (AIG, etc...)

    Share holders have the right but not the power to determine compensation.

    Government has the power but not the right.

    Give the power to the share holders?

    Ask this:

    How can government regulators and rating companies maintain a veneer of integrity when they accept money from the regulated and rated.

    Try not to laugh at the answer.

    Going to Washington? What are you thinking?

    While you are there you might as well remind them that they alone are responsible for the dollar. They should protect it with all the zeal with which they protect the Constitution of the United States.

    OMG

    Good Luck and use plenty of soap and hot water when you return.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 8:52 AM, MaxDiesel wrote:

    Once the government has figured out how to regulate themselves, maybe I would trust they could regulate my financial institutions and/or health care. Telling me that public option for health care won't cost the taxpayer a dime does nothing but insult most people of average intelligence. Telling me that regulating Wall Street is going to protect the average persons investments is fantasy.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 10:00 AM, mlaursen wrote:

    OMG. The first few paragraphs of this article read like they were taken straight from a White House talking points memo.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 10:30 AM, drelijr wrote:

    THIS LOOKS LIKE ANOTHER OF OBAMA'S "FEEL GOOD" PUBLICITY STUNTS, JUST LIKE THE DOCTORS ON THE WHITE HOUSE LAWN IN THEIR WHITE LAB COATS. THE MAJORITY DO NOT SUPPORT THE HEALTHCARE OVERHAUL AS PROPOSED AND WERE DUPED INTO BELIVING BY BEING AT THE WHITE HOUSE THEY WOULD HAVE SOME INPUT INTO THE PROCESS. HA! TWO GOT TO SPEAK TO THE PRESIDENT AND IT WAS BARELY MORE THAN AN INTRODUCTION. I TOTALLY AGREE WITH rookixe"s COMMENTS ON PROPOSED FINANCIAL REGULATION.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 10:34 AM, carlos3c wrote:

    What makes us think that the government can legitimately change/combine/create a government agency to do anything that will work? The old ones probably do not work because of lack of oversight, or too much oversight for their special congressman's personal benefit - so why should we expect them to logically create one agency out of seven agencies - whose toes will we be stepping on, what do you do with the hundreds, maybe thousands in the other agencies? I am sure they are all union operated (we can not lay them off - maybe give them a new name or desk - do we put them in back rooms like the post office and still pay them? This is nothing more than Obama continuing his playing the public for fools as he screws up the entire government. Do you really know why he received the Nobel Peace Prize - it is because he has finally put us at the level of the Europeans and other nations that have always hated Americans for being different -they feel that soon they may be able to compete with us AT THEIR LEVEL - and if we do not wake up they will be able to compete with us on a level playing feel - and you will be able to live in a less comfortable existence. I should be too old to care but I really feel sorry for you young students of our very liberal schools that believe this CHANGE THAT YOU WILL NOT RECOGNIZE - is certainly not to your benefit.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 10:57 AM, fjgall wrote:

    Career politicians have ruined our future so let's ruin theirs. Let's demand term limits for All of these people. The Founding Fathers originally set up our system so that representatives would meet occasionally and address issues of concern, discuss these issues, perhaps vote on what could be done that was in the interest of their constituents then go back to their 'day jobs'. Well ...that sure has mutated into a different concept, eh?

    What about Special Interest Groups? Kinda invites corruption don't you think? We should All remind or congressmen and senators that they work for us, not ACORN or any other 'group'.

    Here's a good one for Health Care 'Reform' and nobody in congress ever mentions this: Tort Reform ...Gee, I wonder why? Could it be that most of our politicians are lawyers and like things just the way they are now? Who ever figured out that I'm entitled to millions of dollars because some overworked surgeon left a tiny sponge in my body cavity while saving my life?

    Clogging the judicial system with insane lawsuits is primarily beneficial to the lawyers that initiate them. Who, by far, gains the most from winning a class action suit? The defendants? Yeah, sure! Sign-up for one of these things and if the case is won you'll eventually get $20 or $50 while the 'barristers' get several million dollars.

    Carrer politicians have distorted what should be a great system in favor of their own interests.

    Fred Gall

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 10:59 AM, tebdo wrote:

    1. Universal healtcare is necessary. Public option is necessary or HMOs and Insurance companies will continue to raise rates and decrease services in order to pay share holders and chief executives unconscionable gains.

    2. Regulate the stock brokers with one entity. Bring back the uptick rule. Shorting stocks maybe a great way to riches but adds nothing to the productivity of the company and therefore the nation.

    3. Banks should be banks and not speculators. Credit default swaps? If you can't understand it whoudn't be allowed.

    4. Simplify Accounting so that the investor can actually understand value of a company.

    5. Company bonuses should apply only to long term gaines of the company, not quarterly or yearly gaines done for the sole purrpose of increasing executive profits. If company loses mony so should the execcutives. More true investor input not just voting on a suggestion that doesn't have to considered or followed by the board.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 11:01 AM, carlos3c wrote:

    A better view of your government.

    Aristotal the ancient Greek Philosopher was believed to have said --------

    Politicians when they speak the truth are not believed.

    It is amazing that a single mad cow can be found by the government, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept and they tracked her calves to their stalls. But the same government can not locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country.

    The Ten Commandments should not be posted in a courthouse because --- 'Thou Shalt Not Steal' 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' posted in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians ... creates a hostile work environment.

    Everyone knows how smart Aristotle was!!!!

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 11:06 AM, Bandit1200S wrote:

    The government's proper roles are

    1) to make appropriate rules through laws and regulations.

    2) to enforce those rules and regulations consistently.

    Neither of these has happened in the past. Many laws and regulations make no sense, or don't make consistent sense across the spectrum of financial activity. Enforcement has been inconsistent, and punishments have not matched the magnitude of crimes. Literally thousands of taxpayers had their financial lives ruined by stupid acts of banks, but punishments haven't topped $500 million yet. Ridiculous.

    The government should not regulate pay any more than it should regulate return on investment.

    Finally, ex-government officials should no longer be paid. It is a travesty that many elected officials are paid for life for a few years of service. Seems to me like the taxpayers are serving them, not the other way around. Service should be a higher calling, not a path to easy living.

    Note that policies are not, by definition, legally enforceable. With my "pure" hat on I don't think the government should try to enforce policies on "the market". Policies are action plans for governments, companies or individuals to attain specific goals, not swords to hold over our heads.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 11:34 AM, kedo76 wrote:

    Why are we worried about this? Obama is the messiah/savior. That recent peace prize should prove that. I hear he's up for sainthood next week. With that resume, he'll figure it all out. I figure we'll all be driving to work on streets paved with gold once his ideas start to click.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 11:54 AM, 48laws wrote:

    As a small business owner and investor in a diversified portfolio which includes, stocks, Mutual f

    Funds, IRA, 401k's and real-estate it is necessary to regulate the financial industry.

    Every 10 years there is a major financial shakeout, and the American public need protection against the past predatory actions of the financial community.

    I believe the Whitehouse understands the need for regulatory oversight, and I am very proud of this administration and the manner in which they are trying to get the house in order.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:23 PM, carjjc wrote:

    Dear Fools and Mr. President

    I what to thank both the Fools and the President for asking for our opinions, concerns, and suggestions. It is refreshing to have an opportunity to participate in this effort.

    I feel strongly about several things and will make a brief list.

    1. If we need bailouts again please do them. We may fix the last problem but we are unlikely to fix all future problems and bailouts are likely to be the only way to save and industry or our country.

    2. We need regulation for several reasons

    a. To protect our country

    b. To protect share holders

    c. To protect employees (and yes even the corporate managers need protection often from themselves)

    3. I as a voting shareholder do not have any say in the large salaries corporate managers get. Yes I can vote but with the significant voting shares in the managers hands there vote almost always adds up to more than the small shareholder. Please do not get me wrong, I am ok with million dollar salaries but I struggle when we get above $25M (between salary, bonuses, stock options and other forms of salary).

    The unregulated market did not help the corporate manager’s or the shareholders profit. The managers of the many failed institutions lost all their stocks value and their job when the company failed. The managers of other institutions saw their stocks value go significantly lower. The policies of totally free market hurt everyone. It appears to me that it would have been much better to have some good regulation that cost the companies some money to comply as compared to the collapse of our stock markets and our country. In other words our loss was much greater in the unregulated marketplace than to comply with good regulations.

    John

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:24 PM, lyndonevans wrote:

    A large amount of the blame for the ongoing financial crisis is the result of congress itself; creating government-run organizations for housing loans, and then forcing the financial institutions to approve the loans for people who cannot afford them. If this new czar led agency doesn't monitor and regulate its own counterparts equally, the same situation can and will happen again! Now, what are the chances of THAT happening?

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:26 PM, hgrishaver wrote:

    I am completely in agreement with all of the President's goals. Transparency, oversight, fair rules of the road, consumer protection (as opposed to protection for unbridled greed and irresponsibility) - absolutely. If his ideas don't get put into action, then it will only mean that large institution lobbyists representing the people who got us into the current mess will be unopposed. Mr. Obama was elected as the spokesman for national, as opposed to the special and narrow interests.

    I second the sentiments also expressed by others above that universal health care and insurance reform are necessary now so that another financial disaster looming in the near future can also be avoided.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:27 PM, Gorm wrote:

    Disclosure isn't as important as is financial education. Our children are NOT equipped to understand the basics, let alone interpret disclosures. We fail to educate our children about finance, ie setting up and adhering to a budget, balancing a checkbook, choosing the right insurance, financing, shopping, investing, etc.

    An informed consumer is essential. Only education will make this happen. A wise consumer makes intelligent choices and is less likely to fall victim to unscrupulous vendors.

    Fact is we can train and educate but people are still going to make stupid mistakes in judgment, ie fall victim to hefty NSF/OD fees, carry balances on credit cards, use payday loans, etc. Unfortunate as it is some people are too stupid to be protected from themselves. That is just a fact there will always be scoundrels and victims.

    Mandating adherence to regulation is essential. All the financial regulators screwed up on this credit bubble, ie the Fed, the OCC, FDIC, SEC, State FIBs, etc. NO ONE sounded the alarm because everyone was doing it and making great money!! We need a watchdog that can extrapolate current conditions / practices into the future and sound the alarm as to the risks. We need a watchdog that ENFORCES practical regulation and prosecutes offenders with wide publicity, jail time and stiff fines. Most of this is obvious. In hindsight, we always seem capable of distinguishing right from wrong.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:36 PM, benthalus wrote:

    I think addressing fundamental conflicts of interest is incredibly important (among the other ideas already mentioned). How does the administration plan to eliminate bias in such places as ratings agencies, who are paid by the institutions whose products they are rating? What other methods will the administration use to prevent further conflicts of interest from developing?

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 12:49 PM, vnevala wrote:

    Fools, thank you for considering *us*, the people, in your meeting with President Obama. I am just a beginner at investing, and I don't know a lot about high-level (lofty) economics. But I know what occurs in my life. I am extremely concerned about the value of the dollar, and how it's poised to fall relative to other currencies and soon will not be the world's reserve currency. From the "lofty" perspectives, I understand how this might be a good thing -- debts are easier to pay back in currency that's worth less. And I personally don't have any attachment to US hegemony. But from down here on the ground, I see it as a way to bleed real people more. I am lucky enough to still be employed right now, but I've had to take an involuntary 10% pay CUT, and prices and expenses are not going down, in fact they are inching up. When inflation comes, as it will, who is going to make sure that wages go up *commensurate* with prices? And my 401k investments, right now about 80% in good equities, even if they rise, will they rise as much as is needed to compensate for the dollar's fall? I think there will be a differential between the two, and guess what? Regular working people like me will be milked and fleeced more.

    This may sound a bit radical, but I would like to make a serious proposal. I lived in Eastern Europe for awhile immediately after the fall of the Wall. People in those countries were economically traumatized, as are we here, by the rapid rise of prices, vs. the slower rise of wages. People on pensions and fixed incomes were particularly hurt. What those governments did was create a two-tier price system for the things that tourists and travellers would consume or use while visiting -- not food or meals, but like hotels and transportation. There was a tourist rate and a citizens/residents rate. Someone coming in with high-value Deutsche marks or dollars would pay the $80 for a hotel room (still a pretty good deal), whereas citizens on vacation would pay only the equivalent of $20. Thus they were not denied vacations due to prices they couldn't afford. I believe now that some time has gone by and investment and wages have caught up, many of those countries have done away with the two-tier pricing, but it was an excellent interim measure.

    In a nutshell, I would like to see our economy be healthy and free, but to have an overarching value of people first. It's dehumanizing when "the machine" takes over and everybody's more interested in what shows on their computer screens than what is actually happening in people's lives.

    Please ask Obama to put people first, especially if the dollar falls, which it will certainly do.

    And thank you for asking us, real people, what we think.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 1:16 PM, khern3 wrote:

    Good luck! Unless you are in favor of the Govt taking control of every aspect of their employer's (us) life you will have little impact, if any.

    Here's what I would like to see.

    Realistic control of lending to better insure that only those who are highly likely tor repay be given credit and loans.

    Fully vetted and simplified health care reforms that can be simplified and understand before being voted on. (i.e., transparancy and review before voting-have I heard that somewhere before?) and the elimination of the big blotted government, healthcare rationing that is in the current bills, despite presential and democrats denial.

    Bipartisan review of specially created czars, maybe a background check on them and reduction based on actual need rather than executive branch consolidation.

    Committee to reform Nobel Peace Price to Anti-Bush Peace Prize or even European World Ideology Peace Award based on hope for future accomplishments.

    I could go on, but the are most likely impossible to accomplish.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 1:21 PM, 3331uolb wrote:

    Motely Fool's disparaging discriptions of our finance industry are on target and accurate.

    The industry should be ridgely regulated.

    Why?

    Because our country and our people suffer because of the lack of ethics, the dishonesty, the irresponsible gambling, and often criminal activity that has occurred in the industry.

    Many of the necessary laws and regulations are probably already in place, but dedicated and competent enforcement have been absent and/or lacking.

    Capitalism is the system that has paid for our high quality of life in this country.

    But, greed always exists.

    There are always those in business who will unfairly take advantage of other businesses and consumers.

    Teddy Roosevelt was one of our first presidents to recognize his problem and to address it with regulatory laws.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 1:28 PM, dbbonora wrote:

    if the government must intervene to avert the consequences of the demise of companies that are deemed "too large to fail" then we should intervene proactively and not allow any company to become too large to fail. the best regulation of business practices is the reality of failure due to imprudent decisions.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 1:59 PM, cytokineguy wrote:

    The greatest concern I have will the push for centralized government regulation is that this administration continues to vilify coorporate success, whether it has been obtained through honest good business practice or dishonest means at the expense of the consumer. The problem is not the capitalist system that encourages enterprising individuals to take reasonable risk, but in the lack of personal character and honest individual accountability. We need to look in the mirror and take responsiblity for our own actions, so that we don't become subject to excess federal regulation that makes legitimate business growth and job creation much more difficult. The creation of a powerful CFPA takes us one step closer to a nationalized financial system that can be used as a political tool for the majority party. Unfortunately, the private financial business community has not been vigilant in self-regulation, which may result in us taking this dangerous measure in government expansion.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 2:07 PM, Tim8783 wrote:

    If our public government wants our private businesses to take extrordinary risks (like sub-prime mortgages), than our public government should take on the risk themselves, instead of force regulating our private businesses into taking the risks.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 2:37 PM, KVoce2 wrote:

    It's a no-brainer that the industry needs to be regulated. Human nature being what it is, people will do whatever they can to make a buck, regardless of the long term affect on the people involved. It's easy to rationalize unethical sales techniques when one is hidden behind the bureaucracy of a large institution. Regulations must be put in place and then enforced to protect the consumer, who for the most part is trying to follow the rules and understand the game.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 2:46 PM, prose976 wrote:

    The currentt administration, it's appointed flunkies and the elected imbeciles in Washington are running a course and laying the foundation for the exact manifestos layed out for the German people by their charismatic blowhard officials and the Russian people prior to reform. It is apparent now, and throughout history, that elected officials have too much power, privilege and prestiege and tend to lose themselves to their own egos, personal agendas and interests. Elected officials are not supreme gods or demigods and we do not elect them to do what they think is best, but to exercise the will of the people. Right now, the will of the people is all but ignored. The media and government "statistics" are manipulated, voters are lied to and our officials are completely out of touch with reality, as demonstrated by endebting the people, without our censent, to trillions and tillions of dollars. This is basically a form of slavery. I thought Abraham Lincoln emancipated us. Actually, we, the people now need to be emancipated from our government which is now corrup and overrun with theives, liars, charlatans, smooth talkers, false prophets, socialists, communists and gangsters. What a disgrace. If any of them had any integrity, they would resign their office and allow commen men and women to take their places. We don't need the so-called elite or intellectual elite to call the shots for the ordinary men, women and children of this country. If we want that, we can all move to China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, etc.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 3:12 PM, sdcg wrote:

    prose976 and others...use another topic to moan and groan about that is relevant for b/m....this proposal for regulation is necessary. I recently was part of a small town bank sale (possessed 1/3 stock ownership through inheritance), and I will say regulation of banks of any size is mandatory. The one I was a part of was above board and solvent, but I can see where there are a multitude of "loopholes" with which could cause fallout.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 4:01 PM, stanton17 wrote:

    I agree with prose976. The White House, our senators, and all our various representatives fully know the feelings and wishes of the common investor.

    And in response to "sdcg," you should still have time to book your airfare and personally attend this meeting (or stand outside in support of the Motley Fool staff). You'd have a venue to further champion your cause and enlighten the country's representatives about all those "loopholes" that you mentioned. Who knows, perhaps you'll be instrumental in a grassroots movement that will serve as the catalyst for constructive change. Go for it...

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 4:30 PM, Fafnir3 wrote:

    I think that asking the Motley Fool for it's comments is a good way to get a broad view of the investing public that tries to find solid investments.

    Purcahsing stock in companies that are good solid that deliver excellent goods or services is helpful to the growth and expansion of those companies. If one is going to use the money from investors then one must be transparent with that use. If used for golden parachutes then I would prefer to put my money where it is going to work for me not someone else.

    As one moves further from stocks and deeper into derivatives the value of that money becomes of less and less value to society. The scoiety benefits from a good company delivering a good product or service. Only a few benefit from the fucuation of the value of something that is based on the theorical value of a company or loan.

    The degree that a company can leverage itself should be limited if that company falls into the catagory of "too big to fail".

    An individual if he or she becomes leveraged too far ends up in jail or some other form of punitive justice. A corporation that has the rights of an indiviual is in a position to blame others because society can not punish all in the corporation. A corporation is made up of in of individuals yet not all of the individuals should be punished for the actions of a few. The janitor is not responsble for the descions of the CEO. Yet the corporation must be responible for it's actions. This should include those who benefitted.

    In summary there should be greater financial transparency, more corporate responsiblity and restrictions on how far one could become leveraged. The leveraging is a form of inflation and devalures what one is using for leverage.

    I also think that if the propsals before the Congress on putting the Greenback in a free market environment would stablize the value of money. Money is an idea back by confidence. As the Fed prints more we start to lose confidence in the Greenback so we should have the choice to use something else that we do have confidence in, gold for example.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 4:33 PM, LessGovernment wrote:

    To MBLacey:

    Thank you very much. This information will help me and a few other folks ascertain whether or not our plans are competitively priced when compared to the government sponsored plans.

    Competition and transparency is the key in my opinion. Thanks again for your help.

    I did not know where to get this information.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 4:59 PM, briheller wrote:

    I agree with everyone who says we need to eliminate the short term thinking mentality on Wall Street.

    I also think that one of our biggest problems is that our legistors and elected representatives no longer represent us, because they cannot relate to us. Different rules apply to those in power. How many Senators do you think have the same health plan you do? They have special laws that apply only to them, and they can't understand the average person....

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 5:22 PM, owlbert wrote:

    There was no single instrument that had more imact on creating the credit meltdown than the credit default swap. These need to be regulated that so no one can purchase a CDS unless they own the security that they are insuring, and must surrender the security to claim a payout.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 5:42 PM, LessGovernment wrote:

    One last comment.

    I would like to give the information below to the White House and to Congress, because they both seem to me to be mathematically challenged. Otherwise, they would not be spending TRILLIONS of Dollars as they are doing.

    If you start with the understanding of something simple like the lowly second and calculate how many are contained in other units of time:

    Second = 1

    minute = 60

    hour = 3,600

    day = 86,400

    year = 31,536,000

    decade = 315,360,000

    century = 3,153,600,000

    millennia = 31,536,000,000

    then you might be a little more able to grasp the magnitude of the quantity of a Trillion.

    There are only 31 and a half billion seconds in a thousand years. No where near a Trillion. In fact, a millennia takes only approximately 1/32 of a Trillion seconds.

    Astonished? Scared at the concept?

    Expressed in years, a trillion seconds equates to 31,710 years or 31.71 millennia.

    Now if we could only grasp the magnitude of 31,710 years, we might really be getting somewhere. Suffice it to say, that is way before recorded history.

    Our National Debt is now about 12 Trillion Dollars and rising to 21 Trillion Dollars which is our anticipated frequent debtor award level for the year 2020.

    Expressed in second years, 12 Trillion and 21 Trillion equate to 380,518 years and 665,906 years respectively.

    So you see gentlemen (and ladies), a TRILLION Dollars is a lot of money. Kindly treat it as such. OK?

    And to Nancy P., you can be afraid of this. It is OK to be afraid. I am afraid of the debt myself.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 6:17 PM, Beckielt wrote:

    It seems to me if the tax code were simplified, all the accounting would be easier to monitor. But anyway, once the regulations are back in place, I hope it will be much harder to eliminate them. We seem to have short memories.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 8:18 PM, Tastylunch wrote:

    It's hard to know where to begin, so much has gone wrong in both Bush and Obama's administrations.

    First off the four big banks, Chase, Goldman, Morgan and Bank of America have far too much power and must be broken into pieces. We have concentrated risk not lessened it. Also break up Citi, AIG,Fannie, Sallie and Freddie (and whatever this new Natty mac may be)

    1b- the banks must be forced to delver to old levels. As it is now a small mistake will crush any of them and we will be forced to bail them again.

    1c- Accounting rules must be enforced ending this on/off balance sheet nonsense. We need transparency if any faith is to be restored. If that hurts the banks than that is a price we must pay. The longer we put it off the bigger the price gets.

    1d-bad actors must be allowed to fail. If creative destruction is not allowed to happen no one can truly live.

    1e-quit copying japan. It didn't work for them so there's no reason to think it will work for us.

    second - congress must stop taking so much money from wall street and trusting their opinion so much. This applies to big business in general. Wal-Mart, Monsanto, Goldman are buying laws that help them and hurt their competition. That's unacceptable.

    We need real campaign finance rules to prevent legislator capture.

    third- we need real regulators not regulators who view the SEC as a stopover to wall st. We need regulators in number and skill to catch the villains of the financial world. We need William Blacks not Christopher Cox.

    fourth- We need to take a hard look at our spending and entitlement programs. We have to make serious cuts to spending so we can come up with actual solutions to our aging populace's needs. We need to realize when our underlying mathematical assumptions on growth are wrong.

    4b- we need to stop using stimulus on unproductive uses of questionable economic benefit. If you must stimulate build energy and transportation infrastructure.

    4c- end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan win, lose or draw. We can no longer afford them.

    fifth-If we are going to honor WTO laws than we must make sure our trade partners do as well. Allowing China to peg currency rewards bad behavior. We must focus on closing our trade gaps with all trade partners to more reasonable levels.

    sixth-incentive small business not big. Most new jobs in a recovery come from firms of 200 people or less.

    seventh-lastly do not insult our intelligence by saying you have done/are doing these things. What Washington has done is nowhere near drastic enough and what has been done has been completely in wall street's favor

    In short represent the people not the banks. Get tough with the bad actors in this crisis.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 8:25 PM, Colddayin wrote:

    I have trouble believing this is Fool's server, looking at the collusion with this socialist administration and these comments I have seen above.

    If anyone believes that Government control of your finances, health, will equal freedom and prosperity, you are in for a shock when the "change" you wanted comes in the form of absolute poverty for all (level playing field, equal outcome for all) except for those in congress that exempt themselves from the law.

    Propping up the business failures with the stimulus packages only keeps the same failures in place and prolongs the crisis.

    Let them fail, stop taking our money (congress & the rest of the government - it's not yours to take from us) and leave our rights alone. I have the right to prosperity or failure, as my skills and abilities allow.

    Stay out of my healthcare - I am a Navy veteran, I asked for a simple dental appointment 16 years ago, I was told it will take 6 months to get me in -haven't heard from them since.

    So much for government-run healthcare. They can't fix what they have, and they want to force me into another plan. Insert your choice impolite words here.

    I have no basis in fact to believe that socialists will do any better, but history has a lot of historical facts that prove socialists forget about the people when they get power. This is why you hear about people from England and Canada flying here for their health issues, you never hear about US citizens flying to Cuba or Venezuela to get cured.

    Wake up! We are about to lose everything, and I mean EVERYTHING to this government.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 8:34 PM, snoswell wrote:

    I notice some countries have done remarkably well compared to the USA in the last couple of years. The recent report by the World Economic Forum on Financial Development showed a massive fall for the USA in the international rankings. The real winners were those countries with tight financial regulations, like Australia, which jumped from 12th to 2nd behind only the UK. Singapore and Hong Kong have done well too. So take a good look at these countries and see what already works rather than guessing at what might work.

    A far bigger problem is the fall of the US dollar. With the massive US Govt debt and the loss of confidence in the US economy, investors are becoming wary of US based investments. The Chinese currency (and most other countries currencies) rising against the US dollar means the US has less and less economic (and hence political) power overseas. Whilst the US had only around 15% of GDP generated from overseas in the 80s it is much more susceptible now. The tipping point will be when the Chinese government is forced to unlock the Yuan from the Dollar. The Yuan will appreciate and the Dollar will dive, causing gradual move away from the Dollar for international trade to become a stampede.

    The result will be a huge increase in buying power for Chinese consumers, stemming the outflows of products from China. China gains massive economic (and hence political) clout and the US steps further back into the crowd.

    Improving confidence in the US economy will require tough regulations to show the world the US Govt is serious. So many comments here are inward looking, not realising the US is not an island (anymore). The solution needs to be outward looking too and may result in policies than no-one internally likes but the rest of the world sees as being necessary and this will then bring back the confidence and the money and hence the power. The decisions about regulation are not about stopping financial innovation or freedom, they are about trying to get the US back the respect it used to have on the international stage. A bitter pill indeed, but for which much of the world recognises Obama as being the last best hope for the US, even if his own people do recognise this (exemplified by so many Americans complaining against his winning the Nobel Peace Prize as they do not see Obama and the change/hope he brings whereas the rest of the world sees him very differently).

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 8:46 PM, rtagy wrote:

    This is the system that has evolved over the course of generations. People for the most part expect the goverment to take care of them. What is a government's purpose? It's primary purpose is to provide basic security and public order. Supporting individuals in all aspects of life including food, housing, transportation, medical, money, etc. has led to abuse of the original purpose of these programs! Almost all of the recipients of these "hand outs" that I know having been trained that they are better off receiving them then working! Until we correct this mind set, any new programs only continue to add to the problems at hand. Don't get me wrong, there are people in need who should be benfitting from these programs. However, I think 90% or plus of the recipients could and should work! There is too much that could be done, such as, cleaning up roadsides, parks, etc. Why not have recipients work established companies in need of resources? If they don't work they don't get their money. In this way, the individual's receive necessary income and it stimulates growth. We have made things too complicated.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 8:47 PM, showmevad wrote:

    I believe that this issue is very easily solved. If allowing the financial institutions to profit and fail on their own by thier own actions they will most certainly be better "self regulators" of and and all practices including but not limited to lending proceedures, compensations, and derivitive innovations.

    In short, conduct business with a purely ethical mindset. Accept whatever consequences befall you.

    Evadmac

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 9:06 PM, drstocks1 wrote:

    The trading of stocks has long lost the basic rationale for the stock market, that is providing equity to allow companies to grow and expand. Short selling and those practices deliberately created to drive market prices down serve no function other than a gambling that a company is overpriced. Therefore I'd propose additional tax disincentives to limit the practice of gambling on downward movements of stocks.

    I'd like to also take this opportunity to discuss healthcare as a physician for over thirty years, I feel, I am quite knowledgeable. I also serve as an officer in a one thousand physician group that is involved in contracting with the insurance business as well as managing partner of a medical group billing in excess of $20 million per year. First the fundamental need for the medical industry is tort reform not only to reduce premiums but more importantly this would reduce significant over utilization as a defensive mechanism. Not a single doctor exists who does not live in fear of malpractice lawsuits. Second, it must be publicized that the federal government already supplies medical coverage to at least 1/3 of the american public and does a darn good job limiting overhead to around 10 % of premium dollars. Most insurance plans filter between 30 and 50% of the premium dollar to advertising, administration and profit. How many more Americans could we cover if we eliminated this bureaucracy? Thirdly it is time for every hospital in this country to have a compassion committee to make decisions regarding unnecessary care for those whose life is clearly over. Permanent respirator status, feeding tubes etc for those of us who have left us mentally should be compassionately discouraged by a committee of physicians, nurses, clergy and community leaders.

    Respectfully submitted, the gut doc

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 9:23 PM, popsie100 wrote:

    Congratulations, Fool, on your recognition of the need for reform and regulation. One of the reforms is that we have to control the merry go round of government retirees who work in high level jobs and go back to work for financial companies as lobbyists of same government agencies. Also candidates in federal elections should be financed solely by the government. That is the only way to keep it democratic.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 10:11 PM, plopg wrote:

    simple, never allow thieves and leeches making the rules, 'self-regulating' is a terms that those people want and the results are self-explanatory. Maddof is the by-product. and the poor are counting pennies and quarters.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 10:16 PM, AFoolishRN wrote:

    As a RN, I agree with the gut doc, and thank you for helping people realize that unecessary medical care comes in all forms, from unecessary testing to unecessarily prolonging a persons life with extensive and expensive life support mechanisms.

    I also want to say, no more bailouts, whatsoever. If businesses wish to be foolish with their operations and investments, then let let them suffer the consequences. For the debt they incur, make them pay it back to all who were affected.

    Create a system that calls for accountability, then I'll support you whole heartedly. I have to be accountable in my profession, risking my license daily working in a complex environment where all of my decisions impact people's health. Why do we allow financial institutions to make horrendous mistakes, then walk away, only to start over again? The gut doc and I, would lose our licenses for such poor performances, never to practice again.....

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 10:20 PM, zephod0 wrote:

    Thanks to LessGovernment for the hard facts, though I don't always find myself agreeing with someone with a name like that . We seem to have dismantled what good regulation we used to have (ex: GlassSteagal Act) and have over time instituted entitlements that are funded much like good ole Madoff's investments.

    Mr Obama, we need the type of reasonable legislation that has been dismantled over the last 10-20 years and we need to have a balance in Washington between the interests of the many and those of the special interests and corporations.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 10:25 PM, pauljfitzgerald wrote:

    I'm one of those people who started investing in stocks after 9/11, and felt like it was a vote of support for our way of life to do so. But as things ran up to the big collapse of 2008, I (a psychologist, not an MBA) kept being bothered by the feeling that people were making money and creating wealth without adding anything of value to the community - it was sleight of hand, a "house of cards," and an increasingly brazen shuffling of fictions - both "products" and management strategies - that were getting further and further removed from any meaning in terms of what people need and want to make their lives more livable and humane. I think it's foolish (bad) to think that wealth can be whipped up out of air and cleverness. But it's Fool-ish (good) to expect that sensible people will want to invest in responsible companies that also add value to society, and that treat their employees, customers,and suppliers fairly. Financial regulation is the infrastructure that lets commerce take place in a civilized manner. Like the highway system or the Internet, it's one of the sensible creations of a government that has a healthy respect for the markets and wants to help people succeed. It seeks to prevent the wild west from coming back to Wall Street. We're the best at the system we invented, which can create incredible growth for all, but unfortunately we're also the best at the art of the scam and the quick buck. Bernie Madoff was a lot more credible than a Nigerian e-mail scammer, but the same wide open atmosphere lets them both find their victims. Sure, it's always "buyer beware" in life, but why should I have to have every pound of hamburger I buy tested for disease? Shouldn't I be able to trust the banks and other financial types who hold my money to do the right things with it and not mislead people? This is not about partisan ideology, but about the healthy tension -- and the balance -- between ambition and civility. "Social contract" is the term that we need to remember. Successful companies that provide valuable services and goods, and pay steady dividends, should be the "real" pillars of our quest for growth, rather than inflated stock prices or slick derivative inventions. Those belong in Las Vegas,not in my retirement funds.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 10:34 PM, sodapops wrote:

    Many malign the government and cry that any regulation is socialism etc. but it is not the government that is the problem it is the special interests that own the government that are the cause of the problems. THe government will do what ever the special interest want because they pay for it. President Obama aside the special interests, banks, insurance companies will get most of what they want out of congress. President Obama has shown himself to be practical, he realizes where the power is and while he will try to instill some sanity in the health care and financial systems the special interests are more powerful and will not come out too bad. At least

    The Obamaphobics don't really have anything much to worry about.

    Those who show so much anger and distrust of their government would do well to dig a little deeper and look closer at the governments keepers. That is where the problem lies.

    As for a suggestion, for one thing, I get newsletters from Motley Fool and, dare I say others, for advice, research and opinions on stocks. Why not run the bond business the same way, that is investors pay for opinions, ratings, on bonds instead of the seller paying a rating company. The rating companies

    played a large part in the recent financial follies. Last winter while the market was at the bottom I looked for bonds to buy and found ridiculously ratings on bonds from some of the big banks that were in deep trouble. I think this rating system needs more of a free market approach.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 11:36 PM, Scoobrs wrote:

    Tell our president that American industry needs single payer, Medicare-for-all healthcare in order to stay competitive and succeed on world markets. It's primarily not the minimum wage that prices Americans out of the global job market.

    Also, we want to know that retirement options are available in our workplace portfolios. Companies should not be able to negotiate kickbacks in exchange for limiting self-directed retirement options to their employees. Every plan should offer the option of safer investments like U.S. Treasury instruments and FDIC-insured certificates of deposit for consumers to diversify their retirement savings.

    While some regulation is needed for commodities, we shouldn't impose simple portfolio caps or other rash actions that would erode the value of massive ETF and ETN investments without addressing underlying market manipulations. We should start bringing back regulation by enforcing the laws we already have against subprime mortgaqe lenders and ratings agencies who committed acts of criminal fraud in selling NINJA loans as AAA investments.

    Finally, the days of Fannie and Freddie as taxpayer-backed, commercial entities should end. Either they are public entities operating in the public interest or they are commercial entities operating in the interest of profit. They can no longer continue to survive working in self-regulating, dual roles which serve neither investors nor taxpayers well.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2009, at 11:57 PM, predfern wrote:

    1) Ask the president why he wants to impose socialized medicine when it has been a disaster everywhere it has been tried leading to longer wait times for medical procedures, fewer prescription drugs, less high tech medical equipment and lower cancer survival rates?

    2) Ask the president why he insists on cap and trade (originally pushed by Enron) when it has been a disaster in Europe and recent scientific studies contradict global warming. Has he read the Spanish study which shows that for every green job created, 2.2 other jobs are destroyed and alternative energies are ridicuously expensive even when heavily subsidized?

    3) Ask the president why he insists on the economic stimulus package when this strategy has been thoroughly discredited by history? Does he know that Japan is on its second lost decade with government spending and a new study by a Harvard economist shows that the Keynsian multiplier effect is wrong and the best way to stimulate the econony is by cutting taxes? Has he talked to the Swedish finance minister who told Forbes that Sweden had two lost decades because of the welfare state and is finally turning things around by privatizing industries and inplementing free market healthcare reform?

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 12:11 AM, chaz572 wrote:

    The bottom line is that in order for corporate greed not to run amok, it can't buy the government. That means political campaigns should be largely public-funded, with contributions coming only from individuals (no corporations or interest groups), and capped at a very low limit per individual, per candidate, per campaign cycle. Low meaning in the range of a couple hundred dollars. No, campaign contributions do not qualify as free speech. We need a set of Supremes that will make that crystal clear.

    Further, the two party system sitfles political discourse, and misrepresents the broad spectrum of views that people hold. I think I can speak for most of us when I say that I don't agree with either major party's platform more than 2/3rds of the time, and I don't disagree with the other party's position more than 2/3rds of the time. Why, then, are we always forced to vote for one or the other? Two things can break the stranglehold of the two major parties. 1) Abolish simple plurality vote. It forces us to vote against our fears, not for our hopes, and it has been scientifically proven to WORST represent voter intent of all of the major, respected voting systems. Instant runoff is much better. As is condorcet. Either would be wonderful. 2) Force all public debates to allow in any candidate that is polling at 1% or better, and give them equal time in the debate. Face time in debates is how we get to know candidates and their beliefs. It shouldn't be the exclusive province of the two biggest parties.

    From here, I shall simply point to the excellent posts above mine for pointers on what specifically to do about the present situation. I just question how effective any of it will be until the government is out of the corporations' and special interests' pockets. That's the true foundation of the problem.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 1:00 AM, mizzensheet wrote:

    Up the post from the fool place to go to the paper that was givin to the fool to comment on, Financial Regulatory Reform, a most read most read for all the beside the socialist and non-Americans that wrote such ******** . This paper wants to give more power to the Fed. Put most our finaces under the world bank a most read for a fooldom and all citizens. Andy

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 1:13 AM, stan8331 wrote:

    To all the folks on both sides of the political fence who are using this post to rant about their political beliefs that have nothing to do with financial regulatory reform, PLEASE deploy your diatribes in a more appropriate venue.

    My greatest concern is that we could end up not truly addressing the issue of too big to fail. It's simply not enough to put in many new regulations to restrict the activities of companies engaging in financial activities. History tells us folks will always search for and usually find ways to get around the rules.

    If a company is too big to fail, it's too big to exist. This new regulatory entity needs to be charged with the task of certifying whether specific companies are too big to fail, given the tools at our disposal to mitigate the systemic impact of failure. Bringing new tools to bear, such as using a variation of the FDIC model, could certainly help. But if a firm is still too big to fail without bringing down the whole system with it, then anti-trust law must be used to transform it into a company that is not too big to fail.

    Human nature is what it is - any company that sees itself as being too big to fail will inevitably take risks at the taxpayers' expense. Finance became far too large a part of our economy, and great sums of money were made from thin air. We need to get back to using finance as a means to produce tangible goods and services - not as an end in itself. Restoring Glass-Steagall would probably be a good place to start. It will always be easier to prevent companies from becoming massive financial entities in the first place than it will be to figure out how to mitigate the systemic consequences of a massive failure.

    It's also critical that we keep new regulation pragmatic and targeted. The last thing we need is to allow those who have ideological axes to grind to create a regulatory environment that chokes off legitimate, healthy financial activity.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 1:31 AM, Shaun2472 wrote:

    Government regulation, like Fannie and Freddie? Republicans were pushing for reform when Fannie and Freddie were pushing risk-taking to a max with the idea that everyone needed to have home ownership. This contributed (though not singlehandely) to the bubble that wiped out trillions in wealth. I think the government needs to keep their hands out of more beaurocratic creations and just improve the existing regulatory bodies. The SEC and FINRA (formerly NASD) both missed the biggest frauds out there (think Madoff and others), so apparently the organizations set up to protect investors weren't doing their jobs in the first place. I don't think new organizations and new laws will help. They need to focus on enforcing existing laws, and primarily, STOP TRASHING CONTRACT LAW like they did with GM and Chrysler. A huge Union payoff instead of treating the bondholders according to contractual obligation. The financial community is freaked out because the administration is rewriting a sacred part of what makes this country great. Risk taking must be encouraged, not "fairness". An ideology surrounding salary and "bonus" control does not make us safer, it just means the good talent gets shipped elsewhere. Europe is salivating right now because things are about to get a lot "fairer", meaning we'll lose more of our competitive edge. AIG, Lehman, Fannie, Freddie, and Bear Stearns could've swapped debt for equity and created more liquidity, thus diluting existing shareholders but improving the chances of survival, but instead the government scared everyone by warning of imminent collapse and just took control of the situation. "I'm the government, and I'm here to help" should be met with skepticism based on history of government's ability to solve what it sets out to solve.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 5:13 AM, BarbieDal wrote:

    Advocate for financial literacy--starting in kindergarten.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 7:51 AM, cjb44 wrote:

    Simplify the rules, then enforce then. We have an administration full of people who couldn't figure out the proper way to do their own personal taxes. If the Secretary of the Treasury can't figure out how to file his taxes, how can the average small business? (and I'm probably being generous saying Geitner made "honest mistakes")

    We don't need more rules, we need clear, simple regulations that can be easily enforced. When you buy a House the government mandated rules and warning you have to sign off might as well be written in Chinese to the average American who doesn't read them or probably couldn't comprehend anyway.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 8:51 AM, pkt005a wrote:

    I like parts of the Shareholder Bill of Rights. Some of them address the structural issues we're facing. I would go no further, and argue against parts of it.

    That said, +1 Prose976

    And, I don't need further market/product regulations to protect me. The Government CAN'T protect me from myself. Trying to protect me by styfiling innovation will not solve the problem. I feel the SBR will do a better job of protecting the consumers and the markets than any added government agencies, or short-sighted rules making.

    R

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 9:03 AM, clydejazz wrote:

    I agree with previous posters that we need:

    1. Single-payer health care

    2. To bring back Glass-Steagall, Glass-Steagall, and Glass-Steagall (did I mention Glass-Steagall?)

    3. Break up any bank or institution that's too big too fail (we used to have anti-trust laws)

    4. Unify regulatory boards so that banks can't go shopping for the most lenient regulator

    5. Consumer Protection Financial Services Board

    6. To base executive compensation on long-term results

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 9:07 AM, howboutme wrote:

    PROSE976

    You said it all, nothing more to say- this is all a left wing scheme to pray on the stupid. Let me add that it was the Clinton administration (DNP) that started the ball rolling on this financial disaster and now we are to believe that the Obama administration (DNP) is going to fix it without their own hidden agenda embedded deep into the master disguised plan?? The left wing is destroying our country and it is going to slowly kill me but I will resolve to the end and be the last one to say I told you so even if it takes my life. The rest I leave into the hands of our Father in heaven, Creator of all. Stand firm, for he may let a battle fall, but in the long run you win the war.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 9:38 AM, gsprad wrote:

    LESS GOVERNMENT! They run everything they touch into the ground. Get back to doing what the Constitution intended. The original Constitution intended to create a federal government that was specifically designed to address matters that were essentially federal in nature--such as national defense and interstate commerce, currency, a post office, and so on. The taxing power was also greatly limited. The U.S. gov't is supposed to be a gov't of limited powers, although that is almost a joke today--the federal government, particularly Congress, seems to exercise almost plenary powers.

    I believe in PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. I had a lender offer me a subprime, no-doc loan. Guess what? I had the ability to say "NO". I got a credit card offer at close to 16% ... I said "No Thanks". Everyone should be encouraged to use their brains, take responsibility for their actions and stop asking Uncle Sam to fix everything. HE CAN'T DO IT.

    Post Office: Broke

    Fannie Mae: Broke

    Freddie Mac: Broke

    Medicare: Nearly Broke

    Social Security: Nearly Broke

    National Debt: $12 Trillion (12,000,000,000,000)

    The Deficit: $1.2 Trillion expected in 2009

    If it were a private business they'd all be fired. Maybe Congress should be contestants on a new Donald Trump show ... The Government Apprentice!

    Wake up America ... www.BlowOutCongress.com (Taking Our Country Back One Incumbent at a Time)

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 9:46 AM, pberardi wrote:

    Laissez Nous Faire! Leave us alone.

    Our biggest priority is sustainable economic growth. Without economic growth, deficits will crush our standard of living.

    Without economic growth, taxes will go through the roof and economic growth wil be destroyed.

    Please, I beg of you people, stop inviting government to come into our lives and regulate bonuses and salaries.

    Freedom is too big of a price to pay for getting out one's angry motives.

    It's economic suicide to even contemplate such thoughts!

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 9:54 AM, lution wrote:

    RE: 2. Bonuses should be spread out over several years (5-7). This forces people to make good long-term decisions since they need to stick around long enough to reap the benefits.

    If we push for that then we also need to include: no options may be back-dated or repriced. Ever!

    -Shane

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 10:03 AM, pfmcm wrote:

    Everyone keeps stating that American businesses should not be regulated. I believe that Corporations are a special case. They should be regulated to protect the shareholders (the owners). If the CEO's and Board Members want a free hand at running a business, then run a privately owned business. They would not be able to get away with their "good old boy" (I hire you if you hire me. We'll all vote for big bonuses) tactics in a private company.

    I also think that "bonuses" are ridiculous. Everyone talks like these things are a given. Bonuses (or at least these high bonuses) are a relatively new phenomena. Why can't a person do his or her best for a given salary. Why does one need to be rewarded for doing their best.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 10:23 AM, telliott4 wrote:

    "The White House Wants to Hear From Fools"

    The White House already hears from fools every time they consult with Congress.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 10:43 AM, 3rdirwin wrote:

    My message is this:

    To the President - get the foxes out of the hen house (Geithner & Company for starters). We're mad as hell, Mr. President and I wish I could confidently say that we're not gonna take it anymore. But it's hard to be optimistic that any government decisions will be well reasoned when those decisions are being so thoroughly and effectively influenced by big business.

    To the Congress - I am disgusted by most of you. Grow a backbone. Reinstate Glass - Steagall. Cut yourselves off from industry lobbyists' legalized bribes. Take off your party uniforms and have productive conversations. Disagree, but then find the most middle ground you can. It's what we expect of our kindergartners.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 10:59 AM, ziq wrote:

    I'm not a raving socialist, nor do I worship at the alter of Free Market. Regulating executive pay for the banks we own now may be on the table, but it shouldn't be otherwise. The reason market pressure did not prevent executives from getting outrageous pay unrelated to performance is lack of transparency.

    Market theory assumes, among other things, free flow of information so that people can make rational decisions. This is what regulation should be emphasizing.

    Regulation is not inherently bad, but it has to be the right regulation. Unfortunately, American democracy is not necessarily optimized to produce it. That doesn't mean we should give up and let simplistic jingles like "greed is good" rule the world.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:02 AM, ziq wrote:

    "Altar", sorry. (Spell check doesn't flag the wrong word, only incorrectly spelled words).

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:05 AM, jfenlon wrote:

    Congress is full of lawyers who never held a real job. They know nothing about business and economics and could care less. They are the reason we have an incomprehensible tax code. They are the reason the U.S. has the second highest corporate tax in the world. The electorate, which is uninformed and incapable of critical thought, will keep electing the Chris Dodds', Barney Franks', Joe Bidens', Nancy Pelosis', and Barack Obamas in perpetuity. It is pointless to offer advice to this group, they are not interested. They are so commited to their socialist agenda they cannot be reasoned with. The American people are getting exactly what they voted for.

    Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld gave the Liberals the opening they needed to attain a political majority. If the conservative movement could come up with a comprehensible alternative to which they would adhere if elected someday this country might regain some semblance of reasonable government. Don't hold your breath. We are on the path to European socialism and the sell out of the Republicans who proved they were the party of the country club set bears much of the blame.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:13 AM, blueh wrote:

    The American consumer has been greedy and stupid. The large banks have been greedy and stupid. The government is greedy and stupid. Where do we start but at the top. Reform and regulate the government first. Stop politicians' from collecting their obscene bonuses. Do not let them keep their campaign warchest when they leave office. Stop all of the politcal patronage and appointing "czars" to pay off the groups who put you in office. Get rid of the corrupt politicians no matter what party they are in. When we reform government and instill some personal responsibility there first, then the rest will follow. What ever happened to avoiding even the appearance of impropriety?

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:20 AM, Hetepheres wrote:

    I agree with Option1307 in many items here, in particular the issues with the Fed, Glass Steagall and that Gramm Leach Biley should be repealed.

    And a regulatory agency should be a Gov. agency with full force and power of the government behind it.

    <b>"5) The Glass Steagall act</b>

    <b>Why is this not addressed? I would like to see the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm-Leach-Bliley_Act" target="_self">Gramm Leach Biley act</a> repealed as I fele this cretes a huge conflict on interest and ultimately played a significant role in the crisis. Can we at least talk about this people? I think this is a huge issue for a lot of people, but this reform, from what I've read so far, doesn't really address this too much."</b>

    I also don't see why the Glass Steagall Act was not mentioned. </p><p>Devandev was right on also with the aspects of Banking and commercial investing.

    <b> "Every bank that writes a mortgage should own it for its entire lifespan. No selling it to someone else." </b>Emphasis mine.

    Responsibility comes with ownership. They'll be sure the loans are ok if it is absolutely the thing that they, THEMSELVES, will eat the loss if it fails.

    <b> "No bank may invest its depositors' money into the stock market or anything else that can depreciate in value. Use those deposits to make loans; you know, the way banks used to make money.</b>

    <b>Reinstate the line between commercial and investment banking."</b> YUP. Again: Reinstate Glass Steagall and Gramm Leach Biley should be repealed.

    <i>"Will these measures cut bank profits in the future? I'm sure they will. Do I care? Not even slightly."</i>

    <i>"Requires non-binding shareholder votes on executive compensation packages."</i>

    What good will "non-binding" do? Make the votes BINDING.

    I don't care about their profits either. They can learn to make do on a bit less in exchange for staying in business so the rest of the nation/world can stay in business without these bubble popping things happening.

    How many depressions do we have to go through before we get it that when market folks get unruly, the rest of us will SUFFER?

    Greed will always be a part of banking, maybe not all parts, but it is there and must be addressed. This is why the banking industry, in all it's aspects, needs to be HEAVILY regulated.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:34 AM, mawnck wrote:

    I want to hear Obama explain in his own words precisely how his economic policies are going to solve the economic crisis. I'm not talking speechwriting generalities, I'm talking about a genuine description of how the mechanics of the "rescue" are going to work to our benefit.

    Naturally I would expect someone like you guys to be there to explain to him in plain talk where he's going wrong.

    I am still operating under the perhaps delusional belief that the guy means well and has just been listening to terrible advice. Perhaps this is an opportunity to get the alternative, non-Goldman viewpoint into his head.

    Note to some of you Fools ... the Nobel Peace Prize has nothing to do with nothing. It's just a campaign donation from a bunch of Scandinavian guys, far less than the insurance industry gives out annually to your average congresscritter. All the bitching about it has become the new "birther" litmus test to detect loons who are motivated by hate for the President rather than a rational concern for the country. Just so you know.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:40 AM, ChickSusan wrote:

    I'd like to see the government take a look at how other countries with higher regarded more secure banking systems charter, and oversee their financial institutions. I believe Canada has the numbe 1 bnking system in the world int erms of security. I'd like to see our American government take a cue from our northern counterparts and implement many of their security features which prevented their economy from collapsing as deeply and which is enabling them speedy recovery. Furthermore Canadians seem to have security in their banks, and don't seem to have the problem of "fear" anmistrust and anger that we have against ours. Perhaps in this area capitalism is a failure....at any rate just to have the Feds bring in some of the security of the Canadian banks would be great

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:46 AM, catoismymotor wrote:

    *****Okay, Fools. We are repeatedly covering the same ground. I appreciate your passion. But as a fellow passionate fool I have to point out that we now have almost 375 comments for the staffers to filter. It is time to move along!*****

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 12:40 PM, ellevee wrote:

    to the government;

    be held to the same standard the public is held to, if I goof up on my taxes, Giethners excuse won't ge me off the hook

    stop spending money you don't have, i.e. the taxpayers/mine

    stop punishing the responsible consumer/taxpayer/bill payer just so you can give to someone who refuses to pull their weight be it Goldman Sachs or the welfare case

    get tort reform for everything, make people responsible for their actions and themselves

    get rid of the FED

    and thats the short list------

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 12:49 PM, CatFoodMoney wrote:

    heh heh

    this sure is getting a lot of attention

    god knows i don't know what to do to make anything better, but congratulations to the motley fool and the motley fool community for being recognized by the government. whether you think it will actually help anything or not, it's still a positive thing to be asked to voice your opinions.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 12:51 PM, IIcx wrote:

    I've no idea why everyone keeps point a finger at the Federal Reserve and Treasury. It actually looks like Congressional legislation like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley_Act and the SEC were the true cause.

    Wikipedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm-Leach-Bliley_Act

    See also: 2007 Subprime Mortgage Financial Crisis#Causes

    Gramm-Leach-Bliley_Act Criticism

    President Barack Obama believes that the Act directly helped cause the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis.[22] Economists Robert Ekelund and Mark Thornton have also criticized the Act as contributing to the crisis. They state that while "in a world regulated by a gold standard, 100% reserve banking, and no FDIC deposit insurance" the Financial Services Modernization Act would have made "perfect sense" as a legitimate act of deregulation, under the present fiat monetary system it "amounts to corporate welfare for financial institutions and a moral hazard that will make taxpayers pay dearly".[23]

    Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has called Senator Phil Gramm "the father of the financial crisis" due to his sponsorship of the Act.[24] Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has also argued that the Act helped to create the crisis.[25] An article in The Nation has made the same argument.[26]

    Contrary to Phil Gramm's claim that "GLB didn't deregulate anything" (see Defense), the GLB Act that he co-authored explicitly exempted security-based swap agreements (a derivative financial product based on another security's value or performance) from regulation by the SEC Commission by amending the Securities Act of 1933, Section 2A, and similarly the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Section 3A, to read, in part:[27] [28]

    1. The definition of "security" in section 2(a)(1) does not include any security-based swap agreement (as defined in section 206B of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act [15 USCS § 78c note]).
2. The Commission is prohibited from registering, or requiring, recommending, or suggesting, the registration under this title of any security-based swap agreement[.] ...
3. The Commission is prohibited from ... promulgating, interpreting, or enforcing rules; or ... issuing orders of general applicability; ... as prophylactic measures against fraud, manipulation, or insider trading with respect to any security-based swap agreement[.]

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 12:56 PM, hacanada wrote:

    The meltdown in the US affected everyone in the world, including your closest neighbor and largest trading partner Canada. We in Canada were affected, even though our banking system was suitably regulated, and survived very well. (Take a look at the newest world ranking of banks.)

    I suggest that the US administration take a close look at the Canadian regulatory system -- not to emulate it, but rather to learn useful and applicable lessons from it. For example, a single agency needs to be set up with great care, and draw input and members from a very wide base -- to be effective and not overly regulated.

    thanks, good luck in your meeting

    hacanada

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 12:58 PM, circa1850 wrote:

    Let the free market bells ring. Supply and demand economy, not a manipulated false economy...Thank you, Allan Greenspan, et. al.

    And speaking of marketing...I feel like O'Bama is selling his image through the popular media, e.g. being Mr. Cool Dude on commercials for George Lopez, etc. I'm sick unto death of commercials.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 1:15 PM, IIcx wrote:

    sorry, I shouldn't have said the SEC in my last post:

    "...explicitly exempted security-based swap agreements (a derivative financial product based on another security's value or performance) from regulation by the SEC Commission by amending the Securities Act of 1933."

    Maybe the best suggestion is to simply veto everything until the budget is balanced. ; )

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 1:37 PM, ars120 wrote:

    I have a better idea than regulation. How about getting rid of lobbyists. that will help everybody!

    After all, Congress passed a law that doctors can't receive notepads and pens from pharmaceutical reps.

    Turnabout is fair play

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 1:44 PM, willowreed wrote:

    In a land with a form of Government called a Republic where the the government is of, by and for The People we naturally do not want a government controlled i.e. Socialist answer to this current economic problem that Lehman Brothers started so I read, with their irresponsible actions.

    We naturally should not want anymore Socialist maneuvers from within our Government and should any future ones in their tracks while working to undo the ones in the past that have been successful our government is supposed to small and unobtrusive to The People and out of the Free Market..Stay our of The People's way and let them go create...then our nation will be prosperous

    Corporations should not be married to private International Bankers who run the Private Federal Reserve which now seems to married to the US Treasury Department and in effect seems to telling OUR government what it can do.

    America can have its own money and Banks per the Constitution and do well our history has shown that.

    The Mortgage brokers etc. should be made to use language in their contracts that a lay person can understand and yes education on money, banking, economics locally, nationally and globally since all are now interconnected...the big picture and the details of financial transactions and education on ways one can be duped.

    The main thing is not to sign over our form of government to a Socialist/Communistic one, piece by piece anymore then already has been done.

    A problem created, a Socialistic resolution given for the problem, that has been the way of it in the past as I see it and it looks like it is still the same unending Socialistic maneuvers.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 1:52 PM, BandBandB wrote:

    eI appreciate that the President wants to regulate the financial services industry more heavily, it is about time. But I am afraid that vigorous regulation will not happen until we have a revolution in election finance. Congress is going to water down any legislation that will be good for consumers.

    I believe the system has become completely corrupt. Our representatives have been bought and we will lose again when the next financial crisis comes along. Next time around the big banks will truly be too big to fail.

    Barbara McPherson, Seattle

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 2:05 PM, F7A9G wrote:

    i AGREE WITH THE PERSON WHO SAID THE GOVERNMENT WAS THE CAUSE OF THIS MESS - IMPOSING REGULATIONS ON BANKS TO MAKE LOANS TO KEEP UP WITH FREDDIE MAC AND FANNIE. fREDDIE MAC AND FANNIE MAE NEED TO BE SPLIT UP AND PRIVATIZED.

    THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STOP PRINTING MONEY AND ADDING TO THE DEBT

    THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO BE FISCALLY ACCOUNTABLE - STOP SPENDING MONEY THEY DON'T HAVE

    THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STOP HAVING AN ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY - THEY NEED TO FIND THEIR OWN PENSIONS - THE TAXPAYER HAS TO FIND THEIR OWN PENSIONS

    WE NEED LESS GOVERNMENT, NOT MORE

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 2:10 PM, sal683 wrote:

    I a not used to making comments in this arena but it is time for an ordinary octogenarian to speak up. It is really distressing to see the same big banks and brokers take taxpayer money (billions), when it is their irresponsible activities which got us into the economic mess we are in. They all should fail and lose their ill -gotten gains.

    Know that there are thousands of reliable, responsible banks, brokers and investors in this country. Our tax money should go to support reliable banks and brokers. The high-risk takers should get their rewards: when the risk fails, your reward is zero: failure. Top management should suffer the most. Lower-rank employees need to be protected.

    New regulations must be made so as not to reward the greedy. No matter how you slice it, greed is never good.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 2:54 PM, 2xdrb00 wrote:

    hey, too fast to last. we have little trust in the present administration. big hurry for others but slow motion on their part. i.e. iran

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 3:05 PM, 181steward wrote:

    It's an old concept. Think and act based upon the positive or negative impacts expected seven generations into the future.

    Review the difference between Social Democracy and Democratic Capitalism.

    Apply Social Democratic controls to public health, public education, public financial institutions and public infrastructure. i.e. create and maintain a single-payer, non-profit, universal coverage approach to public assets and services. Pay for it with a flat rate income tax structure on all income. Social Democracy means the citizens get to participate in the decision making based on majority voting. Corporations and the business sector do not.

    Allow Democratic Capitalism to work in the private markets. i.e. allow multi-payer, profit-generating, selective customer agreements and performance to generate owner profits, a portion of which becomes the tax base to pay for creation and maintenance of public assets and services above. Stock holders, governing boards and individual owners get to make these decisions with government regulation to protect public safety and public resources. The public as a whole does not.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 3:20 PM, Creola0130 wrote:

    I really do not know where to start. So many good and bad comments have already been offered. I have written my Senator, Congressman, and House Chair Pelosi about my concerns in some areas. The one that I am most deeply concerned about is health care insurance cost. I realize in part it is the result of high health care costs; however, it also is about the bottom line for the insurance companies - and, again, as an investor I also know they need to make a profit. My son, who is a diabetic, with income of about $35,000 per year is now paying $1,140 per month for a $5,000 deductible policy. Has never gone over the deductible therefore has paid thousands without using it (for which I am thankful). However, over $13,000 per year is just outrageous. He is reaching the point of having to decide if he walks away from his house or his insurance policy. He is 57 and single. I will help as much as I can; however, there is a limit as I am a military widow on fixed income. Please take my plea that if they do not fix this one area, they are not helping middle America as there are many more out there like my son. Being diabetic he has limited ways to increase his income as do many other Americans with health problems.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 3:29 PM, monmlee wrote:

    I believe regulation must be extensive for the "too big to fail" financial organizations. Reducing the possibilitiy of extraordinary leveraging (30+:1 - outrageous) is critical. The failure of ratings companies to identify properly risky investments is also critical.

    On the other hand, lighter regulation of smaller (not too big to fail) institutions is also important in order not to limit creativity, innovation, dynamism in the economy. We should be cautious about not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Derivatives contributed to the crisis but, like morgages, they play too important a role in growth to be severely restricted.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 4:05 PM, willowreed wrote:

    This Bill was just introduced it is in Committee

    Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009

    A summary and Full Text and status etc of the Bill can be found at this site:

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-3126&...

    Regarding the above comment about Social Democracy, I looked it up to see its full implications which is what we would get eventually if we let it in by piece meal this time possibly as way for financial reform...reformisn? this article addresses that too. it can be found at:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy

    Excerpt:

    The modern social democratic movement came into being through a break within the socialist movement in the early years of the twentieth century. Speaking broadly, this break can be described as a parting of ways between those who insisted upon political revolution as a precondition for the achievement of socialist goals and those who maintained that a gradual or evolutionary path to socialism was both possible and desirable.[1] Many related movements, including pacifism, anarchism, and syndicalism, arose at the same time; these ideologies were often promulgated by individuals who split from the preexisting socialist movement, and held a variety of quite different objections to Marxism.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 4:40 PM, willowreed wrote:

    Knowledge is power so I am submitting this.

    Apparently this proposed amendment sides with the Banks.

    Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) will offer an amendment to the bill (Consumer Financial Protection Agency (H.R. 3126) that would strip the right of states to have stronger consumer protections than federal law.

    Article found here:

    http://www.progressillinois.com/10/1/09/bean-the-banks-and-C...

    H.R. 3126 at this point in time the Bill has been introduced by Senator Barney Frank and is in Committee (mini congress) and isn't up for vote yet

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 4:50 PM, dwscho wrote:

    The government needs to get away from the "too big too fail" mindset. If an organization is too big too fail then it needs to be cut down to an appropriate size.

    The government should not set up anymore agencies to regulate anything until they do away with the one which is the least effective. This is just another atempt to create a bigger government. If the want a Consumer Financial Agency get rid of an ineffective Agnecy like the Dept of Education and use the money saved to cover the cost of the new agency.

    The government should get out of the position of trying to run business. They have no business taking over car companies, banks, insurance companies, etc. The government can't manage itself so why should we believe it can manage business.

    The government should not be regulating compensation. Shareholders should be given some real control to dictate how it wants to compensate its managers. Provide more shareholder rights not, more government control.

    The government needs to realize that social engineering is as much to blame for our financial crisis as is financial greed. The whole notion that people should be placed in homes they can't afford is just plain stupid. The architects of this failed notion, i.e. Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Chuck Shumer, Nancu Pelosi and the other guilty parties should be severely censored and in fact, should be fired for gross negligence.

    The federal government should have the same requirement as state government to operate under a balanced budget. Deficit spending needs to end. Our country can't afford the debt we have currently let alon more. They have no business trying to come up with a government healthcare program when they have some badly managed existing government insurance and other programs like social security. Why should we trust them to do any better with a new program?

    We need real government reforms. Campaign finance reforms, term limits, greater limits on spending are absolutley necessary to bring our financial house back under control. Stricter regulations against lobbying is imperative.

    We need tax reductions to stimulate investment not more bogus stimulative programs. The only infrastructure I see being enhanced are newly paved roads. State governments are not fixing the bridges that are falling apart. Stimulating business with reduced taxes has demonstrated in the past that government revenues increase over time. Stimulus packages dfon't show the same result.

    I realize some of these ideas go beyond the scope of the topic to be discussed on Tuesday. However, if the government really wants to do some good, they should look in the mirror and realize just how much of a culprit they have been in creating and continuing our financial crisis. We need real government reform not more regulation.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 4:59 PM, willowreed wrote:

    This Finance Reform is a result of what I believe to be a "created" problem so that a Government owned/controlled Agency would have power over Financial Institutions as a result of Bills of Reform, that is in affect, Nationalization, and that is Socialistic..

    It is my humble opinion there should be regulatory agencies over financial institutions but owned and run by State Consumer Advocates set up in each State paid for by consumers tax money, the money consumers will save or get to keep as result of this regulations will be worth it,

    Socialism is all about taking power away from individual States (piece by piece or by the whole) and States sovereignty if The People let them get away with it, that is one of the reasons our Founding Fathers warned us to be ever vigilant to keep our freedom and the above commenter is right, there are a lot of foxes in the hen house already, slyly trying to dismantle our Republic form of government by creating problems and offering resolutions that will install Socialism piece by piece until finally our form of government will be dissolved and replaced.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 5:07 PM, semigator07 wrote:

    Let's not forget the housing component of reform. We need to revamp the residential mortgage origination vehicle.

    For too long, the risk taking in residential lending has been divorced from the profit making portion of the system.

    I was a responsible residential mortgage account executive and an underwriter for 20 years. I personally watched as ever more risky mortgages were originated by major culprits like Countrywide, whhich were aided and abetted by the ratings agencies and mortgage conduits.

    I watched as unprofessional, unscrupulous, individuals who had no business being mortgage originators gorged on the commissions made by selling "liars" loans and by using questionable competitive practices. Every Tom, Dick and Harry and their brother thought they could sell mortgages, with the result that dedicated 20 - 30 year professionals, who refused to originate time bomb loans and valued professional ethics, were driven out of the business.

    The unscrupulous originators were aided, abetted, and encouraged by their correspondents and wholesalers, who laid the loans off to Fannie, Freddie, Indymac, and other boutique conduits. These conduits, in turn, packaged the loans, slicing and dicing the loans into "Tranches", endeavoring to turn C and D paper into "A" paper by cash flow slights of hand. Then they got the ratings agencies to turn a blind eye and give these garbage securities a credit stamp of approval. Everyone points a finger at everyone else, so the end result is that nobody gets called to task for this mess.

    Congress needs to 1) enforce strict training and licensing for mortgage originators. Mortgage brokers licenses are a joke in almost every state in the US. A mortgage originator's exam needs to be as rigorous as a securities/insurance agent's license. There needs to be a centralized board that enforces the rules and deals harshly with the violators. The current industry practice of commission compensation needs to be scrapped. Paying a good salary to a 20 year professional for his/her expertise removes the incentive to stretch the truth and removes the incentive for the low lives that predominated the industry for the last 10 years to enter the profession in the first place. In lieu of that, at least there needs to be recourse to take back commission in the event of default 2) the ratings agencies need to have a structure similar to the PCAOB auditing them and setting regulations for them 3) the originators of MBS's need to be forced to either retain a portion of the security, and hence the default risk, or there needs to be repurchase provisions for subpar performance, as opposed to repurchase for fraud reasons only, and the practice of creating Tranches needs to be severely restricted.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 5:13 PM, prose976 wrote:

    I can sum it up very quickly.

    The Congress, President (and his cabinet) and Federal Reserve are incompetent. Government should not attempt to run anything. It was put in place only to facilitate private enterprise and to ensure the sovereignty of our country, preserve our rights and liberties and the enforce our Constitution as written by our Forefathers.

    EVERY attempt by elected and appointed officials comprising government to compete with or create "businesses" or services has resulted in massive losses, greater public indebtedness and unncessary confusion and distratction of the populace. The government continues to fail in the enforcement of existing laws (i.e. immigration) yet plows ahead adding more laws.

    Stop the insanity. Government should limit itself, scale back elected official pay, benefits and priviledge, install term limits. In essence - get out of the way. Government is the PROBLEM NOT THE SOLUTION!

    Simply put, the increase in size and scope of government has always and continues to result in the decrease of rights, liberties, freedoms, economic and personal success, education, etc.

    The government is by its very make-up, a lumbering, idiot of a giant. Wherever it goes, it crushes lives, businesses, individuals. And it's sheer weight is crushing the foundation of this once greater country.

    Unfortunately, Government is like the Blob, from the movie in 1958, and it has an insatiable appetite. The only thing that will stop it is when it has devoured EVERYTHING in its path. By then, the great United States of America will be no more.

    In the movie, first the citizens run screaming in fear of the Blob. By the end, they are all hell-bent in getting rid of it altogether. The question is, how many citizens will it take to freeze the oozing, voracious, bloodsucking amoebe that has become our government?

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 5:51 PM, cosmo47 wrote:

    I am concerned about the spending that is going on at the White House. We are in a recession and people are out of work and trying to figure out how to meet their obligations and then I read about our First Lady having hired more assistants than any other First Lady in the history of our nation. How come? Our President makes trips to be on talk shows and it costs us millions of dollars and I don't understand the purpose of this spending. The working people are not spending lots of money because they simply don't have it to spend, but it seems that unnecessary spending is occurring in Washington and I feel like the working class people are going to have to always pay and pay and pay. Why can't the spending be curtailed at the White House too?

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:11 PM, enideckert wrote:

    Put serious limits on bankers, Wall Street, and health insurers.

    But nothing will improve unless we get rid of lobbyists.

    Also, there is no point in having a new agency to oversee these new rules unless:

    (1) the current agencies are abolished and

    (2) that watchdogs in a new govt., department are held accountable for their failure to catch problems in time to prevent another disaster.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:46 PM, murphyslaw2 wrote:

    In California the local county government income sources continue to be comandeered by the state in an effort to offset the defecit spending and declining tax revenue base. How about setting up a stimulus package for all the states (with the stipulation that it be utilized for reimbursing local governments). That'd be investing in America.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 7:25 PM, forestfan wrote:

    Do so few people understand Keynesian economics? What does right wing radio teach these people?

    Government should stop spending in this economy?

    It's called a depression, folks.

    If the Government limited spending to its current receipts, the economy would sink like a stone.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:26 PM, jgtiques wrote:

    Change long term capital gains back to 6 months.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:56 PM, PatentAtty wrote:

    TEA, Taxed Enough Already. Please abolish the inheritance tax and the capital gains tax. The federal government got their cut on the income tax.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 12:24 AM, BethLeonard wrote:

    Regulations frequently have unintended consequences.

    Education is power.

    My biggest recommendation is that all members of congress, and all american High School students obtain an education about supply and demand, using capital to start a business, interest and loans, balancing a checkbook, and making a budget for buying a big ticket item in the future.

    "Those greedy wall-street guys" can't take advantage of us if we're educated. And if we don't let them over-leverage, many of the systematic risks decrease.

    --Beth

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 12:38 AM, BethLeonard wrote:

    FDIC insurance allows banks to borrow at significantly lower rates than every other institution. While I do not flat out advocate abolishing the FDIC, we should look at the consequences of FDIC insurance and see if it can be tweaked to encourage less risk taking on the part of insured banks.

    There is strong economic incentive for banks to leverage. In the presence of deposit insurance consumers have no motive to look at how sound their bank is. Consumers usually choose a bank for deposits based on it's location relative to their home or office, not based on how likely it is to never return their money when asked.

    This gives banks access to near-zero interest loans that other institutions do not have. These zero-interest loans are frequently leveraged inappropriately. FDIC insurance premiums should be based not solely on the dollar amount insured, but also on the bank's mark-to-market leverage ratio.

    Banks making risky decisions should pay higher premiums on the FDIC insurance. This discourages the excessive leverage that other corporations don't dare take.

    --Beth

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 1:18 AM, sweden4hgs wrote:

    What's the matter with you people,don't you know, this CFPA is part of Obama's plan to help cut into the unemployment.This will take 500 people out of the job market and add them to the feds. The ten million in the private sector will have to wait a while. About 95% of the new or saved jobs are in Washington.It's about time they got their unemployment up to 10%.

    Our only cure is to put TERM LIMIT on the ballot and in the next election get rid of some of the garbage.

    WEE

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 2:16 AM, alankaye53 wrote:

    From Wallstreet to the Whitehouse, we all want to maintain and grow and benifit from a free market economy that allows for the creation of wealth and normal business risk and reward atributes.

    So the TRICK is, how to we make sure there are products that include risk and reward, ups and down, but restrictions that guard against shams, scams and unrealistic investment oppertunities? On some level we have always had this in place as pyrimyd schemes are not legal. Correct?

    So, I think a bottom line is not a general judgement of risk and reward regulation, but an analysis of pyrimid schemes and when they might blow up and a way to monito potential perymid investment schemes, such has bubbles like we have seen in housing, and IT in the past.

    Regards,

    Alan Kaye

    akaye@att.net

    23512 ollins St.

    Woodland Hills, Ca 91367

    PS, if this is being past on to the WhiteHouse, please Spell check it for me. THanks.

    Alan

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 2:33 AM, xiaolifeidao wrote:

    My message to President Obama is:

    Please say it "SUPPORT ME, OR SUPPORT THE MONOPOLY!"

    Thank you for starting to fix the health care system. The current players, including medical schools, doctors, hospitals, insurance, pharmaceutical company's, work together to maintain a high cost, low efficiency monopoly for their own unjustifiable high profits. The MARKET RULE DIED in health care.It is not a free market, it is not even a market.It is a monopoly and a blackmail. No job, no health care. If you lose job for only 3 months, you can lose all properties that you build in your life if one of your family members has any non-minor health issue that need a surgery level of services. This is like a BLACKMAIL on all mid-class Americans . This huge monopoly has hundreds of billions dollars power to break any challenges . The only exit for Americans is to support President Obama to use the votes, use the tax payer money, to build a government owned, voters monitored, health care system, outside of the current system controlled by private parties to break the monopoly. Many middle-class Americans were misguided and used by the parties who benefit most from the current health system to go against the health reform. President Obama, please make this clear and loud to American people on health care reform: "SUPPORT ME, OR SUPPORT THE MONOPOLY!"

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 7:40 AM, pborst wrote:

    I live in NY State. While searching for MediCare Supplmental Insurance one company told me, "I'm sorry the government will not allow me to sell in your county". What?! Insurance companies should be allowed, actually required, to sell their insurance to anyone who wants to buy regardless of what city, county or state they live in. The government says they want to incourage compitition, if they would just stop restricting it it would help!

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 12:51 PM, ScottRichard wrote:

    Clearly, we have seen the results of unregulated greed. Sadly, we, our children and our children's children will pay the price for the selfish shenanigans on Wall Street. I believe we need to prepare the American people to understand the institutional consequences of poor risk management and hold the perpetrators of the abuse accountable. Never again should we have institutions too big to fail and never again another bailout.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 4:55 PM, mydogsnot wrote:

    Please,

    May we just let Obama pick our cotton and just forget about what Bush did to us for 8 yrs, (thanks rich boys). Shoot me.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 5:14 PM, ynotc wrote:

    I agree with the posts that state that the laws are already in place they just need to be enforced and the post that states that this is just a Public Relations photo op for the administration. Government never fixed anything and in fact they tend to make it worse. For our Canadian friend; if Canada has it all figured out than why are you investing and reading about the U.S. markets?

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 5:42 PM, DaveTudor wrote:

    If a bank is too big to fail, and it fails, it should not be rewarded with a bailout. If a bailout is necessary, as it apparently was, the top ten per cent of the officers of the bank should be banned from the financial services industry or holding public office for life, and the bank should be divided into five parts if that is enough parts to assure that the new bank is not too big to fail by a comfortable margin. The members of the boards of directors of banks too big to fail who receive a necessary bailout should be ineligible to be elected or reelected to the board of directors of any public company for life.

    The same policies should apply to quasi banks such as Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and AIG.

    The criminal law also needs to be amended. Why should the person who decided to accept mortgages with no documentation of income or financial stability and the securitization of such mortgages by Wall Street receive no prison time, when bank robbers and Bernie Madoff fill our state and federal prisons for much less significant crimes? Why has the criminal law not been amended to make the perpetrators of such crimes the criminals they should always have been.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 5:58 PM, StoneFX wrote:

    The pay structure and no accountability. Much of the industry is very low value added, sometime if any, and in many cases, value destroyers. And the bonus structure reinforces this. They need to be held accountable for their actions. If something they do ends up causing problems, they should be held fiscally and if warranted criminally responsible.

    Related to this is the short term mentality. Maybe we should only report earnings twice a year, since earnings season in the U.S. appears to be year around.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 6:12 PM, ChickSusan wrote:

    Basic universal services and needs such as MONEY and banking and (OMG healthcare) should be absolutely regulated, and controlled by the government. Socialism is not a four letter word. It works very well in every other developed country in the world, so well, that the US often places below other industrialized nations on basic securities such as mentioned above. In no ther country do you have to work two or more jobs just to keep yourself alive, nowhere else is it possible to go bankrupt b/c of healthcare or your bank "going under"....lets get real, and look outside our borders and our introspective habit. Its no wonder the dollar is falling!!!!! Would you want to invest in the USA with all its fragility and potential problems, where is the safety???? It would be nice to know that every bank that I deal with in the US has the full unending support and insurance of the Federal government and its financial products and decisions are at some real minimum of standard for practice dictated by national regulation ...no matter where I go in the country, no matter what bank I choose, no matter how old, young, rich or porr, I am alwasy safe, my money is always at the very mimimum fully backed and my bank of choice is fully approved operating in accordance with the principles of the American governemnt. I'm a whole lot more confident in the American government then I am in "bankers and brokers for greed and profit" that we have now.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 6:34 PM, foolerymom wrote:

    This is hilarious.

    1. Politicians are going to watch over corruption.

    2. The white House is going to listen.

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2009, at 2:08 AM, JustEconist wrote:

    Are some of the comments censored? I don't see mine and few others which were very frank . Hope fools are smarter than third world smarties!

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2009, at 5:06 AM, gigiobc wrote:

    I have a dream

    I have the dream that this sort of letters will be sent

    Dear rating agencies,

    Premise:

    In the past very optimistic ratings like AAA has been attributed to financial product with very poor history of solidity.

    In the future:

    1) Financial products with at least 50 years of history will be deemed widow and orphan grade and rated as ususal.

    2) Financial product with history ranging from 10 to 50 years will be deemed speculative and will NOT be rated with ratings beginning with A ( or equivalent).

    3) Financial product with less than 10 years of history will NOT be rated at all, for they lack the data necessary to calibrate ANY risk model.

    Yours sincerely

    The USA Government

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dear Banks,

    Premise:

    1) In the past very loose credit standard has been applied

    2) Long term this impose heavy cost on the country

    3) All recent reforms of the bank industry (Basel II, mark to market accounting) only increase procyclical credit managing.

    In the future:

    1) Mortgage to prime customers will require minimum 1% Mandatory reserve (long term average default rate), even in good times.

    2) Mortgage to subprime customers will require minimum 10% Mandatory reserve (long term subprime average default rate), even in good times

    3) Any Mortgages with 20% down payment will require minimum 1% Mandatory reserve

    4) Any Mortgages with 0 to 20% down payment will require minimum 10% Mandatory reserve

    5) Morgages with negative balance require 20% Mandatory reserve.

    Yours sincerely

    The FED

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dear Banks, Insurance Companies, Financial institutions,

    Premise:

    1. In the past very high leverage has been the norm throughout the financial system, which pose a long term risk on the country.

    2. Due to the big dimension of financial companies some of them gained the unofficial status of “too big to fail”.

    3. This status is an unfair advantage over regional / local / smaller financial institutions.

    In the future:

    1) Financial Cos with assets greater than 1% of GDP will leverage up to 15:1 maximum.

    2) Financial Cos with assets greater than 2% of GDP will leverage up to 10:1 maximum.

    3) Financial Cos with assets greater than 4% of GDP will break up in pieces in order to decrease their systemic risk.

    Yours sincerely

    The Antitrust Authority

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dear Companies, Financial operators, Traders,

    Premise:

    1. In the past booms and busts of trading activities in commodities exchanges have lead to booms and busts of the trading prices.

    2. speculative activities can be blamed for that.

    In the future:

    1) New Financial contracts for commodities trading essentially based on PHYSICAL DELIVERY will be instated.

    2) Old contracts which allow cash settlement will be separated out and will trade on different boards.

    Yours sincerely

    The SEC, The Chicago Exchange

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dear CEOs,

    Premise:

    1. In the past many boards of director have been too sleepy with respect of watching over CEO practices (like granting of stock option, re-granting of the options when out of money, absurd compensations, costly benefits etc)

    2. The Shareholders interest are greatly misaligned with Managing boards

    In the future:

    1) The qualification of Shareholder Frendly Compliant Company (SFKC) will be instated which the CO will report in all communications like web site, SEC reports, prospectuses etc.

    2) In order to gain SFKC status the CEO, COO compensation will be at least 50% base on stocks grants with a lock in period of 5 years.

    3) The compensation and internal auditing committee will be composed only of independent directors which will be proposed and elected only by shareholders (Internet vote will be allowed), and which will be compensated with a fee and a stocks grants with a lock in period of 5 years.

    Yours sincerely

    The SEC

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2009, at 9:12 AM, AnnGP wrote:

    While pressure was put to lend to minorities, pressure was not put to take advantage. There is so much blame to go around that what we are doing is standing in a big circle blaming one another.

    The unregulated financial industry brought us to

    our knees. If regs were in place that were not enforced, then we must find a way (other than putting people in place who take their jobs seriously) to make certain this doesn't happen again. We need a happy medium between totally free enterprise and regulation. Sometimes, this means overkill until the boat rights itself. Those opposed to regulation must not have lost money like the rest of us. We will not survive as a country if our financial system is left

    to function as has in the recent past.

    catty2

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2009, at 10:44 AM, wyrdmage wrote:

    No future bailouts. Businesses have been taught that they can do anything and get away with it through bailouts that save them from their greed or stupidity, so the motivations to NOT be stupid have been removed. Before bailouts, natural selection used to occur in business by culling out those that couldn't benefit consumers the most, and those that survived were the ones that consumers supported the most. Now the government determines who succeeds and who fails.

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2009, at 11:11 AM, MikeMiser wrote:

    Listed in order of importance.

    1. Catastrophic Medical Care guaranteed. Legislation to force insurers to handle this with a backup plan from the US government. Portability of plans.

    2. Tort Reform - Caps on medical malpractice suits.

    3. No more Bailouts.

    4. Bank and Credit card lending.- Legislation to force lenders to only lend a percentage of a persons income or wealth. No more 500K mortgages for people making 50K

    Mike

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2009, at 11:42 AM, Boomerchef wrote:

    Mr. President,

    I voted for you because of your intelligence and savvy in mastering the congressional minefield. Health care reform has made it abundantly clear that ELECTION FINANCING is the elephant in the room, and MONEY to get re-elected is the prime issue every congressman and representative must live with. The dollar amount has become obscene. It has strangled health care and threatens to bankrupt the nation so that insurance companies can satisfy wall street. You can't do anything truly significant with the current form of election financing. Please use your intelligence and your fine advisers - to get this elephant out of the halls of congress.

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2009, at 4:46 PM, willowreed wrote:

    Article titled: THE END OF MONEY AND THE FUTURE OF CIVILIZATION.

    Very educational and relates what other countries did to save their economies and money. Written by an author that really understands the details of what is really happening.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15...

  • Report this Comment On October 15, 2009, at 1:34 AM, WillRackliffe wrote:

    "In the early days of the world, the Almighty said to the first of our race "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread"; and since then, if we except the light and the air of heaven, no good thing has been, or can be enjoyed by us, without having first cost labour. And, inasmuch [as] most good things are produced by labour, it follows that [all] such things of right belong to those whose labour has produced them. But it has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have laboured, and others have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To [secure] to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government. But then the question arises, how can a government best, effect this? In our own country, in it's present condition, will the protective principle advance or retard this object? Upon this subject, the habits of our whole species fall into three great classes — useful labour, useless labour and idleness. Of these the first only is meritorious; and to it all the products of labour rightfully belong; but the two latter, while they exist, are heavy pensioners upon the first, robbing it of a large portion of its just rights."

    -Abraham Lincoln

    from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume I, Roy P. Basler, editor, p. 411-412 (Fragment on tariff, December 1847).

  • Report this Comment On October 15, 2009, at 4:46 PM, globalsailor wrote:

    Why don' t they just break up all of those companies that are too big to fail. We have anti-trust laws for a reason.

  • Report this Comment On October 15, 2009, at 5:07 PM, tazjazz wrote:

    Any company that is deemed too large to allow to fail is a monopoly by definition and should be broken up to a more serviceable size.

    When accountants and auditors cannot figure out what a company's financial statements are telling them, they are probably looking at enough lies and distortions to be considered illegal. Investors count on the unbiased evaluation provided annually by these groups and if they sign off on these without understanding them then they have a major part of blame and accountablity to answer for. Arrest these criminals and hold them accountable. How can Moody's or Standard and Poors give unbiased ratings when they are being paid by the very companies they are evaluating?

    Most of the tools, laws, and oversight regulation committees are allready being funded by our tax dollars to get the job done...all they have to do is DO THEIR JOBS! I doubt creating more agencies at a cost of ? (billions?) will help anything except employ more bureaucrats at public cost.

  • Report this Comment On October 15, 2009, at 7:47 PM, Gardnermiles wrote:

    Let's return to the point where America DERAILED.Bring back honesty in our business transactions. Remove the fine print that gets everyone into trouble. Plaster the Golden Rule on every business office wall. Business's need to guide their loan exec's away from shady but legal activities. All financial dealings should leave you with a clear conscience. We are fueled by greed and desire for power above all else. In actuality this will bring you down at some point. Give LARGE LARGE tax breaks to entice industries. Their employees social security and regular state taxes return pecuniary benefits

  • Report this Comment On October 15, 2009, at 7:56 PM, ironyworks wrote:

    Any business or institution " too big to fail" is a clear threat to national security,

    Take them down into their component businesses and let parts fail if they must.

    The rating agencys need to be held liable.

    Constructs like derivatives should be outlawed.

    Single payer health care is desirable. A robust and all encompassing basic public option is essential

    Small banks with prudent policys should be saved..imprudent banks should sink.

    A cost-benefit analysis of all ongoing wars or conflicts ongoing needs to be done. IW

  • Report this Comment On October 15, 2009, at 9:00 PM, rmiers1 wrote:

    No more counterfeiting of common stock

    (shorting stock without borrowing it)(naked short)

    No more short stock missing payment

    (not paying for a trade gone bad (a real real naked short) and the

    institution (goldman, bear, merrill) letting it

    slide because they are large traders (conspiracy of the highest order)

    No more communicating with other funds

    (ganging up on a stock to force it down)

    No more phony news, downgrades, rumors and

    untruthful information spread before earning reports

    (see Jim Cramer, "said on tape he could take down

    a stock six bucks with a few bucks"," easy money," he said". Great quarters and stock still falls for no reason

    Be very proactive about "funds" that destroy rather

    than invest. (tighten up short sale rules"

    In large thefts, creat a "one strike and you are out"

    Do not settle on the cheap for massive thefts

    Cut the cancers out or lose all confidence and your souls (if you have one)

    Finally, interview D. Patrick Byrne CEO of overstock.com...he has evidence....lots of it

    Firmly believe this will never see the light of day

    Kinda like Jamie Gorlick on the 9/11 commission when she crafted the rules only allowing searches of on"middle eastern type" per plane. From there, she went on to garner 25+million from fannie.....nice lady. typical of washington

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 12:52 AM, m0j0m0j0 wrote:

    do you really think iran and north korea's leasers give a rats ass about anything you tell them will change their psychopathic murdering minds the only thing that will work is they scared to death by the usa and can you be convincing enough to put their survival in dough and if they don't stop making nuclear bombs or if one goes off anywhere we will nuke them til they glow regardless where the bomb came from

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 12:41 PM, farrockgrad wrote:

    The message I want to convey is I totally agree with the need for regulation and similarly that healthcare reform is a must including, in my opinion, the need for a public option.

    Therefore, I want the President to be aggressive in pushing ahead with these issues and to do so regardless of support from Republicans. Bi-partisanship does not seem viable so he should focus on gaining support of more moderate Democrats and say to Republicans we'll go it alone if we have to.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 12:53 PM, Winks13 wrote:

    Does anyone look at this and think "yeah big government is better"? This administration is all about power, their own. The more government jobs they create, the more power and support they will receive. When most of America works for the government what will we call it; not capitalisn, not democracy.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 12:59 PM, jskater wrote:

    - Need more than one federal group to do this for checks and balances.

    - No regulations on pay. After 'they' are regulated who is next? insurance companies, Drs?

    - Let Capitalism work on its own.

    - STOP spending more money and learn to create and stay within budget.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 12:59 PM, stevmerus wrote:

    Before asking the financial industry to be responsible, the President and others in Congress who were responsible for the financial disaster need to acknowledge their fault, apologize and promise not to do it again. The primary reason for our financial disaster was government laws, rules and actions that required, cajoled, threatened, forced, encouraged and supported banks to make mortgage loans to people who could not afford them and who could never be expected to re-pay them. All of the rest of the things that resulted in the disaster followed from that governement interference in our economic activity, which hurt everyone but most of all the very people the politicians (including Obama) said they were trying to help. Of course we should regulate credit default swaps, deceitful lending practices and packagin of bad loans. But first, we need to regulate the idiots who caused all of this.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 2:53 PM, swiver wrote:

    As a British citizen, I feel that one of the duties of a government is to run a national health service. But it seems impossible here because of the triangle of doctors, lawyers, and insurance compaines. I applaud BO for trying to introduce some sense into the current system, but fear that it is too large a task.

    Eliminate lobbies. That should thin the traffic in Washington out a little.

    Rebuild the railways and get the number of 18 wheelers down.

    Regulate the financial industry.

    Aim to reduce the tax code to where people can understand it, and close tax loopholes.

    No bonus above 10% of salary. (i never got one motre than that!)

    Send a lot more white collar crooks to the lock-up. i.e. make it a lot more unpleasant for breaking the law.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 3:03 PM, kspontak wrote:

    We need a fundamental re-thinking of how we value work. Wealth is not created by those who move money around. Wealth creation is the product of physical work, manufacturing, invention, extraction of minerals, use of natural resources. Investment provides the grease that helps wealth grow, but don't mistake it for the real activities of creation. Without them investments are useless.

    We have lots of people in this world who do this basic wealth creation.

    We also have those who manage the businesses where people work, and keep track of the accounts, and the products. We have people who transport goods and market products. Although these services are essential in our larger economic scheme, all of us doing these jobs are not creating wealth. So the value of our services as an enhancement is dependent on the underlying value of the wealth created by others.

    And so it follows up the line, layer upon layer. We have businesses that provide insurance and health care and a host of other services. We have governments that provide services. We have banks and investment companies that provide services. All are dependent on the wealth that is created by someone else.

    Thankfully, there are many who do create wealth day in and day out.

    Unfortunately, we have a tendency to undervalue their contributions. We tend to ascribe higher value to jobs that are cleaner, seem more desirable, and perhaps are harder to fully understand. Knowledge and the ability to use it can demand premium prices.

    Those of us who provide services need to keep always in mind that the wealth we receive for our endeavors is not something new we created. Our wealth is a by-product of the work of others. So it behooves us to make sure those who really create wealth are well cared for, because if they stop, we are all doomed.

    The investment banks that are still offering outsized bonuses to people so far removed from real creation of wealth need to re-think their whole industry. They nearly succeeded in killing off the essential work of wealth creation by their skewed priorities. Fear of what might happen to all of us in the layers in between led us to sacrifice a lot of future wealth to bail them out. Far from humbly thanking all of us for our intervention, they have gone on to escalate their demands on the total wealth available. Their short-term profit taking hurts all of us.

    Every person whose work produces a service rather than a product needs to remind himself or herself that someone else had to create the wealth that they are now enjoying. In a world that works for everyone, we need to each make sure we are not grabbing more than our share. Neither stealing from each other, nor stealing from the future works in the long run.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 3:10 PM, realistickiwi wrote:

    Good luck Mr President. We have a failed national health system down here in New Zealand, modelled on the British national health system. Most of the taxpayers' dollars are wasted on bureaucrats' salaries and their incompetence. The docs and other health workers at the coalface are sidelined from the decision making process. What was once a good scheme is now highly politicised and run by idiotic politicians and their incompetent appointees.

    Those of us who can afford it take out private insurance cover - which is not tax deductible. Most of the best docs have gone into private practice or left the country. The so-called "free" system is largely staffed by immigrant doctors, many of who are poorly trained. So you take your chances as diagnostic and treatment errors are common. Waiting lists are horrendous, and some die while waiting for procedures such as heart surgery.

    Please, Mr President, take a long hard look before you rush into making your final decision. There ARE some quite good schemes, such as in Canada - which also have their flaws. You also have examples in the US which could possibly be used as templates. Yes, your system needs improving, but any good doctor wil tell you to get the diagnosis right before you write out the prescription.

    Good luck from down under.

    .

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 3:39 PM, nshermdog wrote:

    we don't need new agencies, and their associated bureaucratic costs, everytime we want to fix something. Put the consumer protection legislation within Dept. of Justice and add more people to enforce the legislation.

    Open the roles of the health care plan afforded government workers to the uninsurable and those that can't afford insurance. Obama said that he would provide the same insurance he gets to everyone. Let him do it without creating a new and costly agency. If it is good enough for everyone else, why not take him at his work and put it within the existing government healthcare system.

    Where is the energy plan that was supposed to create new high tech jobs and get us on the path of energy independence?

    Why are we taking so much time to make a troop decision in Afghanistan when our men are at risk, and yet we want to rush into a health care plan which only costs a lot of money(healthcare improvements won't kick in for several years). Spend more time on working out a good health care plan, and make a troop decision now. Let the public and congress see the final versions of the healthcare plan, with good GAO data, for several weeks before voting. Listen to the voters.

    Keep spending minimal and create new, non-government jobs. Contain the national debt, and minimize devaluation of the dollar.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 3:49 PM, JunkieForGames wrote:

    A company should not be too big to fail. Any business starts out on the ground floor with the potential of not making it. That is why it is called entrepreneurship. Bonuses should be tied to performance and golden parachutes should not be given just to get rid of someone who is not performing up to par. I am all for rewarding those that need to be rewarded, but the last year has not vetted many that would get my vote.

    As far as Wall Street - my opinion on that is, it is a risk. And if you cannot take the downs as well as the ups, you should avoid it. Someone who is willing to gamble and short a stock as an investor should not be punished because they want to take that opportunity. There were just as many people plowing their money into the stock itself hoping to gain a bargain and eventually a payday. Some won, some lost. It is a risk vs reward system.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 4:08 PM, hexgod wrote:

    I would like to see some of that transparency we were all expecting. Right now, I see about as much as I could trying to look through a locked door. Keep your word and give time for each bill to be READ and DISCUSSED by the American people--remember us, the people that elected you.

    Reduce government waste and spending. No more private jets for the SPECIAL people in Congress and the million other perks I am sure I know nothing about. Try living like the rest of us in middle American, just trying to keep our heads above water.

    I want health reform, but not what I've seen so far. If we are going to force people to have insurance we need to make sure the fine is high enough that they will actually get it and not keep living off the rest of us.

    Immigration Reform--remember that promise? Living in an area where it is a problem, I naturally would like to see something done. The Mexican Drug Cartels run many of the border towns, using violence. Put pressure on the Mexican government to weed out their corruption and put these guys out of business. Next, please reform immigration so that people can actually get here legally. Right now it's all bass ackwards. Illegals get rewarded for BREAKING

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 4:15 PM, JTHbull wrote:

    Mr. President,

    1. Please make available additional and significant funding for basic research so that the nation will continue to have, long term, the ability to lead the world in fundamental discoveries and inventions, from which new technology and increased productivity will result.

    2. Regulate the financial institutions to avoid further destruction of our morale and monetary systems.

    Thank you.

    John Hand

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 5:38 PM, orchardhill wrote:

    I totally agree we need to make sure that there is no more "too big to fail, but not too big to bail." Bring back the Glass-Steagall act, make sure any securities offering some type of insurance (whether it's technically an "insurance product" or not) are backed up by a reasonable percentage of real funds.

    Secondly, to get the trust of the American people, we are going to have to fire some of these losers who screwed everything up. Geithner and Summers and all those other insiders in the administration are too much on the Wall Street inside, and they don't have the stones to get the job done. Fire them first and get somebody in there who is ready to clean up and not be sorry about it. There needs to be some justice, not this policy of letting the talk die down and secret bonuses. This is key--this is where the people will get behind you--there is no excuse not to put that anger to good and higher purpose.

    Get a full investigation going and open it wide up. Investigate the whole naked short-selling issue. Publicize which congresspeople are getting what funds from the financial industry.

    That is the leadership the administration can provide. Then you will get the people behind you for some real reform. This waiting around and hoping people are going to rise up on their own is not leadership. Take charge! (Same works for health care, by the way.)

    All the best and good luck.

    James Davidson

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 8:01 PM, AZOptionable wrote:

    Unfortunately, the Administration will look to make this effort a "made for TV" political effort that will actually harm the economy. Some government oversight might be helpful, but it should be strictly limited.

    For example, when regulating credit cards and the interest rates they carry, the Administration should keep in mind the sanctity of contracts entered into by people who are of the appropriate age and mental capacity. They accept those rates themselves. Nobody forces them to accept credit cards carrying those rates.

    Limiting interest rates on credit cards issued to those with spotty credit histories WILL limit the rates they pay on their cards. It will also quickly dry up the sources for them to obtain credit, as nobody can make credit card issuers issue cards where they do not believe they are adequately compensated for the risk of default. In an economy that is roughly 70% dependent upon consumer spending, reducing the availability of consumer credit will have a further depressing effect.

    In addition, the Administration should not propose significant new regulations without first admitting the role the government has played in CAUSING the current economic situation. The government both encouraged mortgage loans to borrowers who could not afford them and set up government-sponsored entities as the guarantors of those loans. If it had been clear all along to mortgage lenders that they alone would suffer the consequences of issuing mortgages that were not repaid, they would not have issued all the debt instruments that are now blamed for the financial crisis. By encouraging loans to borrowers who could not afford them and then setting the taxpayers up as the guarantor of last resort when those loans went bad, the government played a substantial role in the problems. Unless the government is willing to recognize its role in the crisis (and I have yet to hear a Democratic politician admit that), this latest effort will be more political grandstanding meant to get Obama, Reid and Pelosi on TV, claiming to have the interests of the little guy in mind and blaming the "predatory" rich guys on Wall Street.

    The Motley Fool is being set up to act as cover for the Administration's grandstanding. You will damage your own credibility greatly if you offer willing participation in an effort that does not first acknowledge the very real damage the government has already done through financial "regulation."

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 8:52 PM, jester112358 wrote:

    Well, if this administration is really interested in transparency, the first place to start is to reveal the contents of the FEDs balance sheet. That means, the institutions who borrowed from the FEDs many programs in the last year, how much they borrowed, and what was the nature of the collateral/toxic securities (perhaps we should say insecurities) they used to back up the loan. The FED should stop acting like a giant hedge fund buying up toxic MBS and agency debt and loaning funds to JPM, GS etc. to speculate in the capital markets (the only reason for the stock/bond rally, by the way). This FED loan "collateral" wouldn't even get a BBB rating, much less a AAA as required by statute for FED borrowing. Why is Obama administration appealing the ruling by the NY courts under the FOIA filed by Bloomberg that the contents of the balance sheet (now $2.1T and counting) be a public matter? After all, its the taxpayer who takes the loss when the collateral is impaired. Thus, profits are privatized and losses socialized. And we all know the loan collateral is impaired (probably worth much less than face value-but loaned at full value) since its surely the same junky CDOs backed by housing mortgages, car, credit and student loans which should have sunk the money center banks last September. Too bad congress was suckered into bailing out the banksters though the American people opposed the TARP bailout by over 100:1!

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 9:30 PM, underdone wrote:

    I briefly read some of the above comments. Most of the problems or suggestions made could be solved with a very simple regulatory change.

    1) Re-name the current floating exchange rate the Ponzi exchange rate.

    2) Develop an exchnage rate mechanism that actually works. Such a mechanism would incorporate the benefits of boh the current floating exchange rate system and the fixed exchange rate system. My suggestion would be to adjust the existing floating exchange rate mechanism by imposing legislated exchange rate caps on long term term deficit economies and legislated floors on long term surplus economies exchange rates. This would allow the market some freedom to adjust exchange rates for supply and demand while maintaining control of overseas debt and liquidity in the economy and prevent Wall Street broker / dealers and other large international market makers from creating bubbles that are bound to pop destroying the wealth, jobs, and lives of millions of people around the world.

    3) Call this system the floating exchange rate and supervise dealers to ensure they trade on a supply and demand basis rather than allowing their competative urges to momentum trade and screw up the financial system. This would assist in maintaining control of inflationary pressures.

  • Report this Comment On October 17, 2009, at 1:07 AM, drborst wrote:

    A few thoughts:

    1. End too big to fail. I suspect that now that they've eliminated their competition, Anti-Trust laws might apply to Goldman Sachs. Citi never should have been allowed to get a big and messy as it did. And and AIG failure would have taken down a lot of Asia (we seem to forget that).

    2. Messing with compensation will likely have unintended consequences (It did last time). It's probably a lot easier to adjust the tax code (and c'mon, tax private equity managers as income instead of capital gains).

    3. Find a way to kill the AMT. One convoluted tax code is bad enough, but why have two? And we really need to simplify it. (Or maybe we could tweak the AMT and make everybody use it, killing off the normal tax code).

  • Report this Comment On October 17, 2009, at 2:31 PM, Highpointer wrote:

    The current system where financial companies utilize leverage and other risk strategies without restraint is untenable for those firms that are deemed too big to fail. Too big to fail means that damage to the nation's (or world's) economy is too great to allow, thus requiring a government (taxpayer) bailout. This situation privatizes gains earned via extreme risk strategies and socializes losses. This extrardinarily regressive situation allows a small group of wealthy to extremely wealthy people to profit from risk underwritten on the financial losses or often financial ruin of many low-to-moderate income households, and all taxpayers. It is an outrageous subsidy of the reckless and privileged. It is certainly not capitalism - capitalism asserts the right of anyone to assume risk and to enjoy the subsequent rewards, but also demands taking full responsibility for any losses, including failure and bankruptcy. I fully support CFPA as one way to deal with this and the proclivity of many large financial firms for financial predation, but also strongly advocate using or augmenting anti-trust laws to prevent the formation of any too-big-to-fail entities.

  • Report this Comment On October 18, 2009, at 8:01 AM, DWBH wrote:

    This great country has a history of minimum government regulation until an industry proves that regulation is needed. Consider anti-trust laws, drug regulation, labor laws among many others. Sadly, the financial industry has proven that there is a need. Bring on the regulation and do not be shy.

    Pay for it with greatly increased taxes on the huge bonuses and salaries for profits and decisions that are not aligned with the long-term interests of shareholders, customers, and society. Also, get rid of the lower tax rate for capital gains. Why tax investment income at a lower rate than income from other honest ways of earning a living?

  • Report this Comment On October 18, 2009, at 10:20 AM, PIUMA6 wrote:

    as long Obama surrounds himself with Wall street crooks, no regulation of the crooks that he or anybodyelse will suggest/propose will ever see tha light of day. So far, Wall street controls the White House and not vice versa. Enjoy your trip to Wash.!

  • Report this Comment On October 18, 2009, at 10:41 AM, 3gberserker wrote:

    Not only has my email been deleted, misrouted, and blocked, my brokerage firm has decided to show me they know how to mess with my mind and mess with my money.

    All of this could be related.

    Or am I paranoid?

  • Report this Comment On October 18, 2009, at 6:27 PM, 30retiredteacher wrote:

    WH already knows what they are going to do.

    They want your input for two reasons.

    1. You agree with them and they want to take your support and multiply it by 1 million.

    2. You disagree with them and they have the concept of why you disagree so they can classify you as a republican and radical.

    They forget two things:

    1. Medicare is in such a mess because President Clinton signed a change in law that REQUIRES seniors to take Medicare if they want their Social Security check. And every private medical plan got off the hook for older people who use medical services. Now they have plans that pay secondary to Medicare. Guess that's a good reason Medicare costs when through the roof.

    2. Housing mortgage companies were required to make loans to people with limited financial abilities to pay them back. And those loans were mixed in with loans to people with good financial abilities to pay back. And no oversight with the packaging and reselling of all these loans almost put us in a depression. Both Democrats and Republicans can take blame for that.

    But the cure to these two problems is to completely overhaul the Healthcare and the Financial Services industries so the Federal government has total control.

    Welcome to the New world as seen through the eyes of our new Socialist President.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2009, at 2:37 AM, willowreed wrote:

    I ran across this informative article about Goldman Sacs. I read somewhere recently that Goldman Sacs is at the top the of the pyramid scheme, anyway is the the site:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/dylan-ratigan-goldman-sachs-i...

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2009, at 12:30 PM, willowreed wrote:

    I have done a lot of reading on the subject of world and US economies. In regards to the big picture of the worlds economies it looks like all the worlds wealth has been and is shifting upward into a few hands and in the aftermath of this process it leaves countries that were doing well with what is called a third world status...I think that is what is happening to the US...it doesn't happen overnight and the dollars has been losing value for many years already. Here are some resources to get the details as how this is being done.

    The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

    by Michel Chossudovsky

    http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/GofP.html

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15...

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2009, at 7:35 PM, KayakNurse wrote:

    In his speech to Congress and at numerous other times, President Obama stated that 25-30 percent savings could be achieved in Medicare. Medicare, social security, the postal service, (and the list goes on) are all running in the red or projected to do so in the near future. I think the public - Republican and Democrat - would be much more receptive to overhauling healthcare if this administration could demonstrate that they can fix JUST ONE government program by starting with Medicare and showing they can correct its problems and demonstrate government's ability to achieve those savings.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2009, at 5:03 AM, faber100 wrote:

    The lobbyists need to be more tightly controlled. Stop all of the influence in our government by big business. Pharma and Finance are the lobbyists who got us here, and now they are paying up to control the eventual fix???Where can we see how much each Congressman is taking from Pharma and Finance? Is there a link?

    Secondly, our country was much better served when newsmen like Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings, and Tom Brokaw delivered the evening news with meaningful stories on world and national affairs....we are now left with Jon and Kate + 8, Octomom, fake child/balloon stories, reality TV updates, etc...as leading news stories??? And we only want more of that??? And when we want "news" we turn to Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Chris Matthews etc??? As patronizing as this is going to sound, we, as a country, are not making the right choices for future success/prosperity. America has always been about freedom of choice, but we need to make better choices. We only want the information equivalent of junk food....yes, you can have it, but there will be a cost.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2009, at 5:10 AM, faber100 wrote:

    Oh and one more thing...naked shortsellers are the new "regulators".....putting their money where their mouth is, and uncovering all of the bs that large companies are trying to pass off as "financial reporting". Criminalizing it is a ridiculous suggestion. Read what David Einhorn figured out at Lehman prior to its collapse. If we criminalize anything it should be for CFOs and CEOs who try to hide horrible financial news in footnote 26 of a 100 page filing!!!!

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2009, at 5:17 AM, faber100 wrote:

    Here is a link to Einhorn's speech about shortselling and Lehman....

    http://www.garp.com/blogs.aspx?id=1538&blogid=332

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2009, at 2:54 PM, Sytsr wrote:

    I fear I might be too late, but want to feed in this thought anyway.

    I am so very glad the White House call on MF. I do really trust you folks to represent US, not the financial institutions.

    My concern is that I hear much about the individual investor being the one who needs to watchdog al the various contracts and forms that accompany investing. That is we are the ones to be the watchdogs.

    That won't work until

    agreements can be written in plain English including the benefits and downsides of a particular transaction.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2009, at 3:02 PM, Sytsr wrote:

    Hope I'm not too late:

    I hear much about the individual investor being the one who needs to watchdog companies' transactions. That will not happen until contracts and forms are written in plain English, agreements are no more than 2 pages long, and specific professional "biz words" are kept out of the text.

    I have invested for 35 years, and love it and have benefited from it. But I don't clain to be an expert at corporate finance and am not in a position to learn all about the internal workings of every company I buy. I do have ways of selecting my investments, of course, and they include financial tools. But I take exception to the idea of leaving watchdoging primarily to the individual investors. We can, and should, be a back-up to an agency that has knowledge, authority, and will to oversee capital markets and transactions.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2009, at 10:17 AM, mcfool2go wrote:

    Fully repeal the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. This legislation paid for by Corporate Communists set US up for too big to fail investment banking and insurance corporations.

    Derivatives should be:

    1. Traded on exchanges only, NOT a clearinghouse,

    2. Counter-parties must be adequately capitalized, transparently disclosed, and carry appropriate reserves,

    3. Where derivatives are acting as insurance, state insurance commissions should have oversight and audit capability.

    4. NO Exemptions allowed.

    Amend Sherman Anti-Trust Act to repeal the two exemptions of this excellent law: NO exemptions allowed for health insurance companies and major league baseball.

    Prolonged negligence of voters’ representatives, created our current healthcare system in which a single health care company monopolizes at least 30 percent of the insurance market in 95% of the country, including states like the following:

    •Maine where Wellpoint controls 71% of the market,

    •North Dakota where Blue Cross controls 90% of the market,

    •Arkansas where Blue Cross Blue Shield controls 75% of the market,

    •Alabama where Blue Cross Blue Shield controls 83% of the market.

    This monopoly, combined with incentives that trap people in employer-based health care, caused skyrocketing health care costs of US corporations as well as the nation’s debt forcing the nation towards bankruptcy.

    End this unfair legal protection for a healthcare industry that shamelessly pays off US Congressional members to ruin our country with their non-competitive practices.

    End the congressional members’ foul bribed behavior to give taxpayers a meaningless public option that wouldn't be accessible to almost 85% of the population.

    The big truth is US corporations have a hard time competing against foreign nations because, except for US, all industrialized nations HAVE universal healthcare.

    Congressional members who get a lot of money from the healthcare industry prefer to ignore this fact. Republicans who won’t question their ideology, even for the good of their nation’s survival, prefer the lie that taxation, of corporations and the richest 5% of the US population, hampers US global market competition. The reality is that non-competitive private US healthcare hampers US global market competition and drives corporations to place jobs overseas. Look for the facts for who, around the world, has universal healthcare:

    1. Germany models the world’s oldest universal healthcare. All industrialized countries, except for US, have universal healthcare.

    2. Emerging markets in the Americas have universal healthcare: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

    3. Emerging markets in Asia have universal healthcare: Bhutan, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Pakistan, and Thailand.

    4. Australia and New Zealand have universal Healthcare.

    5. These European countries have universal healthcare: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2009, at 10:25 AM, mcfool2go wrote:

    End the too big to fail scenario by consistently using US anti-trust law to halt the merging of Corporate Communists into Mega Corporate Communists.

    Are voting taxpayers too uneducated or entrenched in ideologies to stop Congressional members from accepting money contributions from, and voting swayed by the systematic lobbying activities of Corporate Communists who push for the undermining of regulation in the naïve belief that rules are bad for business?

    There is one answer that protects taxpayers: no bailout of any investment bank, or insurance company, or any corporation—NO exemptions allowed. Further, NO taxpayer subsidies to wealthy oil corporations. Finally, corporate Communists, like all US corporations are capitalists that understand success without government getting in the way. Therfore, they understand failure without the government getting in the way.

    US federal government’s job is to lead, regulate and enforce law to protect individual taxpayers, not corporations and Corporate Communists.

    If Corporate Communists use lawyers to get around regulation, then obviously

    The President and his appointees, Senators, and Representatives better make good use of good lawyers before voting for ideas corporations and corporate lobbyists present to them.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2009, at 10:38 AM, mcfool2go wrote:

    Get rid of federal government flood insurance. Individuals, sole proprietorships, small businesses, and corporations live and work where it floods? Risky behavior deserves its fruits and failures, and after all these years of waiting for these citizens to get smarter about living in flood prone areas, taxpayers should no longer be responsible for the risky behavior of those who live in flood prone areas. There should be federal government regulations for fair selling practices of property at risk for flood. These regulations should include that sellers and developers of real estate be required for 3 years to provide flood insurance for any property sold to another individual. Is that too costly? Then simply, sellers and developers of real estate should not sell risky property. Local municipality or county governments via local taxpayers should decide how to handle areas that flood. Owners of property at risk for flood should

    • provide their own insurance, or not,

    • or relocate, or not,

    • or turn the property into a rice farm, or not,

    • or use proper building materials, or not,

    • or donate flood prone property for tax credit to their community’s drainage collection sites/swamps/greenbelts…or not.

    But in no way should federal government via federal taxpayers fund federal flood insurance.

  • Report this Comment On November 02, 2009, at 10:45 AM, mcfool2go wrote:

    Considering all the citizens who want no taxation and no rules:

    Do not bailout any bank, savings and loan, or investment holding accounts.

    Get rid of government administration for FDIC and SIPC.

    Thus, individuals and corporations who use banks, savings and loans, brokerages, and financial investment advisers would bear education about, and risk of, all scams, shenanigans, ponzi schemes, and all Goldman Sachs market manipulations.

    Without government administration of FDIC and SIPC bailouts for private individuals, private individuals will no longer put their money in the hands of financial corporations. Thus, there will be much less deposited money for risky behavior of financial corporations.

    A huge benefit would be that taxpayers won’t need additional regulation to be protected from the free market “creative” unfair fee structures that fund the profits of financial institutions and pay the excessive salaries of C-level employees.

    Finally, corporations who continue to park their money in financial institutions would appropriately and completely bear the cost and risk of where they park their money.

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2009, at 7:39 PM, Geryl wrote:

    How are we going to have real regulatory reform when so many members of Congress receive campaign contributions from all these financial institutions? I understand there is now an army of lobbyists that are succeeding at watering down all the proposals for regulatory reform. The President has to gather leading experts to speak out against this attempt to weaken reform measures.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2009, at 2:21 AM, linhanyi wrote:
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  • Report this Comment On December 25, 2009, at 2:58 AM, Fool wrote:

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  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2009, at 2:23 AM, Fool wrote:

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