Last Call for Questions for the White House

On Tuesday, we're heading to the White House for a sit-down with one of President Obama's top economic advisors. The topic du jour: A complete makeover for the financial regulatory system.

On Friday, the White House made a formal push to pass new laws on the way financial services providers are governed. The plan was outlined in June in the White House's 89-page white paper, "A New Foundation: Rebuilding Financial Supervision and Regulation," and we covered Friday's unveiling right here.

Nearly 400 Fools heeded our call for questions and comments. (Read some chosen comments below.)

Tomorrow, your voice will be heard in Washington. We're heading to the White House to meet one-on-one with a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, and we'll be armed with your top questions and comments. There's still time to add your thoughts, so be sure to weigh in via the "comments" area below.

Wall Street vs. White House
One of the cornerstones of the White House's plan is the establishment of a new federal agency -- the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) -- against which Wall Street is pushing back mightily.

As outlined in Obama's plan, the CFPA would consolidate the power to regulate banks (keeping an eye on their financial soundness and any new financial products) and oversee consumer protection (setting rules and enforcing regulations on products and services related to borrowing, insuring, and investing).

Currently, oversight of this array of financial services is spread out among seven separate agencies.

Supporters say consolidation will streamline the current process, making it easier to set and uphold industry standards and more quickly identify issues in the financial sector that pose systemic threats.

Opponents say that the cost of complying with new/additional regulations will slow down or halt industry innovation, which will ultimately hurt consumers and shareholders.

 What Fools are saying
The establishment of a new federal agency was just one of the issues Fools like you raised, along with concerns about accountability, responsibility, and the need for effective enforcement.

On innovation
DavidInTX 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."

salsmanistan wrote: "Publicly held companies should be held accountable by the shareholders and we should demand transparency, but I will very much regret any government-enforced size limits on a business provided it isn't a monopoly."

On the need for real enforcement
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."

On consumer responsibilities and shareholder rights
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 U.S. government. Three cheers for those who recommended enforcing current laws/regulations before imposing new ones."

coconnor55 wrote: "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."

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."

On accountability:
pacificdreamer wrote: "Any new regulatory authority should have a governing, or at least an advisory, board made up of non-industry professionals."

Last call: What do YOU want us to ask the White House?
As representatives of the collective intelligence of our community, we will be heading into D.C. tomorrow armed with your questions.

We all have a vested interest in the way the financial system is governed. Chime in, Fools -- we're heading to the White House tomorrow. Just use the "comments" section below and let us know what you'd like us to ask.

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


Read/Post Comments (58) | Recommend This Article (25)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 4:13 PM, catoismymotor wrote:

    Two thousand years ago this man took the words right out of my mouth. Please pass them along on my behalf.

    "The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced. If the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt, people must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." – Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 BC

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 4:18 PM, PhulishMortal wrote:

    Here is the question I would ask:

    Are there plans for changing the structure of the U.S. financial system (as suggested by Simon Johnson in http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2009/10/06/this-is-how... )?

    I dearly hope the administration gets the advice of people who actually have demonstrated expertise (Volcker, maybe?) rather just grabbing whoever is handy to put together whatever legislation they are contemplating.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 4:18 PM, lemoneater wrote:

    Amen, Cato.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 4:32 PM, miteycasey wrote:

    How can the government talk out the both sides of it's mouth's when it comes to graduation and welfare?

    They say go to college, but if you don't we'll support you and your 4 kids, but don't have more than 4 because we won't take care of those.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 5:08 PM, StopLaughing wrote:

    Please demand that the credit swaps be moved to a regulated securities exchange where they are completely transparent. That will dramatically reduce risk of another global melt down.

    This is also imperative to US banking stocks, since the credit swaps can be used by sovereign hedge funds to create defacto naked shorts and manipulate the US markets and economy.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 5:35 PM, blaueskobalt wrote:

    Simon Johnson recommended progressive capital requirements for banks as a way to incentivize them to become smaller so that, "too big to fail," was no longer a reality with the biggest banks. Are you considering this policy? If not, why not?

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 5:38 PM, shffl wrote:

    here's my question:

    "It is painfully obvious that a lot of crimes have been going on within Wall St and the government. Evidence have been mounting yet the president seems to be ignoring it. Why are bankers working within the government? Why is it so apparent that Goldman Sach appearance is everywhere? It is obviously no coincidence. Instead of trying to deny it because it is so obvious now, answer the questions instead. The Founding Father warned that central bankers will bring the nation down and that is exactly what is going on. Why aren't you doing anything to stop it? it is painfully obvious the bankers just robbed the the taxpayers money with bailout and obvious that these companies aren't too big to fail. Basically, all crimes are SO obvious now. Why aren't you doing anything?

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 5:39 PM, WyattJunker wrote:

    Cut up Freddie, Fannie and Ginnie Mae and sell them off to private equity. GET GOVERNMENT OUT of housing!

    Why are they even in the business in the first place? For political payoffs?

    That's what tanked this market! Government intervention. Why do we think that now government intervention is going to fix it?

    AIG just looked at the government to get its inspiration. And now the government wants to blame AIG? Please.

    There's no such thing as something for nothing. Not even David Blaine can pull a real rabbit out of a real hat.

    TNSTAAFL!

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 5:43 PM, WyattJunker wrote:

    We need the opposite of 'regulation'.

    That message will never get into the ears of Washington.

    We need economic anarchy, like Hong Kong, who actually knows how to protect capital investment.

    You want to start a business? No paperwork required. Low taxes.

    And always, buyer beware.

    I want the Great Frontier spirit of pioneerism again. You fail, you lose. Too bad.

    You win, you can damn bet you worked your ass off.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 5:48 PM, Bryanbear3 wrote:

    Read Kevin Phillips' "Bad Money" and note the last chapter. The Dutch Empire ruled the world in the 1600s then faded. The Spanish Empire ruled the world in the 1700s then faded. The British Empire ruled the world in the 1800s and faded. All of these empires faded because they got heavily involved in too much debt and other financial problems. The USA has ruled the world in the last 60 years are we to fade too because of financial problems? Will China rise because they have the financial strength to do so? Regulate the financial community hard. If necessary raise taxes to cut the debt.

    FDR set up financial regulation that worked well for 40 years and has been slowly unraveling since Rep. Wright Patman (D-Tex) died in the early 1976. He saw his job as Chairman of the Banking and Currnecy Committee to say "NO" to any new banking regulation that "loosened" the reins on the financial community. There were few banking failures from the 1930's to the 1970's.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:01 PM, ReadEmAnWeep wrote:

    Share holders need more rights. There doesn't seem to be any incentive for companies to take care of shareholders. Also, there needs to be more enforcement on laws that already exist.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:04 PM, dialysisjoe wrote:

    President Kennedy created executive order 11110, which basically took back control of the printing of money by the Treasury. The Federal Reserve, which is not a government agency, but a conglomerate of private foreign held banks, has held our nation by the throat since 1913. Everytime we pay taxes, that money goes on the interest, not the princible. In fact, not a penny ever goes toward the principle. It's clear that the Federal Reserve system is designed to keep us and our childrens' children in debt, forever. It's insane that our government has to bowor it's own money from the Fed. The Federal Reserve, which has its own interests at heart, only cares about our nation and it's people to the extent that it makes them rich. The Federal Reserve's pyramid scheme makes Bernie Madoff look like Billy Graham. Furhtermore, the Federal Reserve is un-Constitutional in the way it's allowed to operate. In fact, the admendment, allowing the Fed to operate, was never ratified by all the states. JFK knew this, which is why he created EO #11110. That EO is still on the books, but has never been enacted. If it was, the Fed would be out of business and we'd have silver certificates from the treasury, instead of Federal Reserve notes. The Fools need to read a book titled "Secrets of the Temple." It's a tough read, but it educates the reader on the truth about the Fed. Until the Fed is taken down, this nation will never be rid of it's debt, ever. As well, our economy will forever be artificially manipulated by the Fed and not for our common good. In closing, it's interesting to note that the Federal Reserve, a private central bank, has never, in it's existence, been audited by the IRS or the Department of the Treasury. Ask President Obama why that has never happened. We need trillions of dollars and I believe the Federal Reserve Bank owes us in back taxes, all the way back to 1913. That could be enough money to clear our debt to the Fed with enough left over to reconstruct our entire nation, private and public.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:05 PM, mdtiller wrote:

    I am personally against any more government regulation of the financial markets or large businesses. The federal government is wholely to blame for the credit crisis by encouraging/demanding that banks loan money in the sub prime market to get low income families into the housing market - that really worked out well. The government should also stay out of executive pay, no matter how absurd the bonuses are. It is not their concern - it is mine as a shareholder. An executive exercising a bonus of $15MM would pay somewhere around $7.5MM in taxes, whereas restricting his pay to $1MM would generate only about $500K. Why would the government want to restrict the pay. Also, how much purchasing power was lost? Remember the huge luxury tax placed on the boating industry many years ago. That really generated a lot of taxes for the government - Ha. It virtually shut down the boat building industry in South Florida. I wonder how much taxes were actually lost. The government should get out of trying to regulate our lives and let the free market system work. Let businesses fail if they are not run properly.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:05 PM, 123spot wrote:

    Anti-trust laws were promulgated to protect the consumer, to protect innovation by small business, to prevent monopoly power strong enough to undermine our democratic promise.. Start using them to their fullest and accomplish an orderly divestiture where those principles have been unenforced to our great harm. We who participate in the free market do not want a straw man solution here that will freeze potential and cost all of us opportunity. Make what we have work and honor 200 years of law and precedent. That would be new. It would be effective.

    Thank you for seeking our input.

    Respectfully, Leigh Fincher

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:22 PM, eaglett1111 wrote:

    The situation with the American homeowner and the struggles to get loan modifications is the issue I want them to talk about. I want you all to take a look at the conversations at www.loansafe.org and the passion with which people are trying to navigate a system COMPLETELY CONTROLLED BY THE BANKS. There is no rhyme nor reason as to who gets a modification, the parameters governing a modification, or whether trial modifications, even when successfully paid by the homeowner, become permanent. The banks are collecting over $5,000 per trial mod without any requirement to turn them into permanent modifications. People are being denied their rights and assaulted by threats. I am not talking about people who are looking for convenience mods, or people who simply can't afford anything. I'm talking about people who could, but the banks are not working with us. DO NOT BELIEVE the misinformation about 500,000 successful trial mods. Ridiculous. I want the administration to put some teeth into this and require the banks to scale down interest rates and reduce principle balances, particularly if it is the homeowners own residence. Thank you.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:23 PM, bogieguy wrote:

    Back in the 90's, corporations were required to submit to (annual) auditing by independent accounting firms, and report to stockholders and the community.

    I don't know why or when this non-government surveillance ended or failed, but reestablishing a non-government control system with teeth would be preferred to new and bigger governmental agencies.

    (FOOL EDITOR: you get the idea, please clean this up for facts.)

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:25 PM, dialysisjoe wrote:

    HandsGrue has an interesting question, which deserves to be answered. HandsGrue, the money for all the bailouts has been borrowed from the Federal Reserve Banks. Please read my posting, above, which clearly lays out the fact that the Federal Reserve is not federal, at all. Private foreign bankers are running out nation and our economy. When Greenspan sat before Congress acting surprised concerning the collaps of our economy, I could hardly contain my laughter. As for the fall of our economy, it was created by greed and stupidity. All the safety nets we had prior to the Reagan administration were taken away. This allowed greedy speculators to create wealth out of thin air, backed by nothing. The result was credit swaps and derivitives, worth monopoly money. When the house of cards fell, the Bush administration threatened to enact marshall law if TARP wasn't passed. There was no thinking about it, Congresspersons and Senators were told "just do it or else." The result is the largest theft in the history of the world, all from our Treasury. The average American is never going to see a dime of that money, or the money from the second bailout by Obama. Unless all the financial safeguards are put back into place and the Federal Reserve is dismantled, we are doomed. You will still be able to make money on investments, if you follow the advice of the Fools, but it's going to be tough going. And, last, but not least, the IRS has to be completely overhauled with a sliding scale that the average person can understand without hiring a team of tax lawers. As well, corporate and personal taxes need to be slashed in order to stimulate growth.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:27 PM, frankd9963 wrote:

    Regarding taxing for investors

    Taxing should be fair for both the gov. and the individual investor, when someone loses about over 3,000 in a year they can only claim up to 3,000 for capital loss and then the rest is carried over year after year which is not fair because the government when you do gain money charges and demands all the taxes from you all in one shot why not pay them only up to 3,000 like they are ding to you and second the capitail gains is way to high how are people supposed to gain money when the governement is taking so much and for what protecting the oil fields in iraq. Capitail gains should be if anything 10% or lower, we are already taxed on the income that we earn and the money we spend we are double taxed, most countries do not double tax their citizens, and how is this money being used we can never see exactly because of all the curroption going on. Instead of bailing out dead car compaines why not bail out the citizens and investors where are the investors bailout money dont they deserve the same.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:33 PM, IIcx wrote:

    I couldn't resist : )

    You missed some really good comments and any one of them can be easily rewritten into a question. I skipped over many including my own so sorry to anyone I might have left out.

    Please add to the list:

    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 spend more.

    Social Security - Either fund it or abolish it

    Medicare - Either fund it or abolish it

    Health Care - Basically, encourage competition and 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.

    Encourage Inter-State Competition among insurance companies...

    Encourage Competition among providers of health care services...

    ..."To Big to Fail" is in reality "Too Expensive to Save"

    Implied blogger Comment: The Federal dollars lent to Banks aren't doing the job. Lend directly to small business [use SBA] and do away with the middle persons who only want to make a buck.

    Reinstate usury laws

    Eliminate any departments that duplicate the CFPA responsibilities [or don't create it - piggy banks are empty]

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

    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.

    Address the out of control national debt.

    Stop using my tax money to reward failure.

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

    Restore banking industry safeguards put in place following the great depression.

    Ensure pension plans are adequately funded as required by law.

    Regulate and enforce ERISA law

    I'd like the bill to address mandatory arbitration provisions in consumer finance contracts.

    While we're regulating the industry, don't let them forget to take a look at government...

    ... 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

    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.

    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.

    Laissez Nous Faire! Leave us alone. Our biggest priority is sustainable economic growth....

    ...bring back Glass-Steagall, Glass-Steagall, and Glass-Steagall (did I mention Glass-Steagall?)

    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...

    ...stop spending money you don't have

    Let's not forget the housing component of reform. We need to revamp the residential mortgage origination vehicle.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 6:59 PM, ihtfp92 wrote:

    On the subject of proper long term compensation we can fix most of what is wrong with just a few changes to the rules:

    1) Allow shareholders to vote meaningfully for boards and subject the CEO to a vote-of-confidence if he/she does poorly - no more golden parachutes. If everyone else has to work knowing they might be fired for screwing up - so can those at the top.

    2) Change the long term compensation to consist mostly of options with a strike price indexed to the S&P500. This would only reward above average performance, and it would also work in a down market.

    3) Require that top management cash out over a period of years and forbid the purchase of derivatives that could shield them from risk.

    If these three changes were made we would preserve the qualities of capitalism that work so well, while eliminating most of the infuriating double-standards that have characterized upper level management in this country over the past 20 years.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 7:16 PM, jasonhad wrote:

    This Health care bill is said to be "cost" neutral. How will you measure the costs, and what will you do if the costs escalate more than planned?

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 7:24 PM, Chromantix wrote:

    Because I earnestly want the president to hear the voice of experience and reason, I'd like to ask TMF to bring my concerns as an American taxpayer.

    However, because I can't top Cato, I'll reprint his selection:

    "The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced. If the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt, people must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." – Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 BC

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 7:30 PM, yoursfooly100 wrote:

    I have worked in healthcare all my life and there are many issues, but my questions is, now that I have two young adults in college, why are the student and family loans rates so high? Interest rates in other areas are so very low and we have one at 8.5% and a few others at 6.9% and 7%. When we graduated 30 years ago we payed on loans at 5% when home loan rates where at 12-14% I would expect education related loans to be around 4% and was surprised that our parent plus loan was 8.5%. thank you for this opportunity to ask something that has bothered us for a few years now.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 7:33 PM, xetn wrote:

    I repeat: No Government; Period!

    What is wrong with the free market? The answer: we do not have a free market because we have over 77000 pages of government regulation already in force and it is killing private enterprise. With this already overburdened regulation on enterprises driving up costs, is it any wonder that companies are sending their production over seas? And if government regulation is so great, why did it not prevent the meltdown? The reason; the FED and its fractional-reserve banking system creating massive amounts of money out of thin air at sub-market interest rates leading the housing boom/bust.

    Government want the FED to constantly inflate the money supply to fund the wars and all the pork it wishes to buy votes with.

    News Flash: The market will work in spite of the government's actions. Look at what is happening with cash. Consumers are paying off debt and building saving because they can see that with the great increases in the amount of money being created there will be massive inflation at some point unless, the Fed pulls the plug on creating money and starts driving up interest rates at which time the "so-called" recovery will crash. The Fed is screwed and they know it.

    The only real hope is for the government to drastically cut spending, slash taxes and get out of the way. No more intervention, bailouts, stimulus, or payments to special interests like the unions and GS.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 7:43 PM, Hydpdx wrote:

    There have been concerns raised that compensation reform/regulation could hurt innovation in the financial industry. However, the tech industry has for some time been compensating employees mostly in stock that vests over several years. They have not only been able to retain talent but also foster genuine long-term innovation.

    I expect that genuine innovation will thrive in the financial industry too with compensation reform that pays employees mostly in stock that vests over several years. The yearly cash bonuses have clearly encouraged short-term results and excessive risk, and were a big part in bringing the entire economy down.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 7:47 PM, WileyCyote wrote:

    What are you planning to do about flash trading

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 8:03 PM, dcampbell9 wrote:

    Dear Fools,

    While the government is in the mists of a re-structuring anyway I think a positive step would be to consider rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure with the relatively new concept of social business as described in the book, A World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism by Muhammad Yunus, whom President Obama recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and whom has received the Noble Peace Prize for his work. If we were to instill social businesses throughout the nation this would decrease the unemployment rate and also the flow of money thus increasing consumption because the employees of the social business obviously aren't working for nothing. An increase in consumption would raise GDP without causing inflation and without increasing our national debt by excessive government spending or by increasing tax cuts. An increase in consumption would also lead to a shift in Aggregate demand to the right. Not to mention social businesses would reap countless social benefits for our country and its citizens.

    Do you think that it would be appropriate while in the middle of this rebuilding to start creating a nation with social businesses instead of trying to restructure two separate times?

    Thank you for this opportunity to voice our opinions and good luck in Washington!

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 8:07 PM, IIcx wrote:

    "Tomorrow, your voice will be heard in Washington."

    Sadly, the probably of this statement is zero.

    But, its not your fault Motley Fool Staff. There is no way in the world you can express the anger, the disbelief, and disheartened confusion we feel over these issues.

    We trade on a daily basis knowing the rules, the risks, and the potential reward. We don't expect to get bailed-out when we lose and we'd really appreciate it if we don't get over-taxed to compensate for criminal behavior.

    Sadly, they aren't criminals under the law because the laws currently allow the unethical creation of convoluted financial instruments. However, the predatory practices speak volumes about the moral and ethical fabric of our leaders of our financial institutions.

    In the earlier 1980's, a research study was conducted to determine the true cause of the "Rust Belt". The conclusion was astounding. MBAs were never educated in Product Development. They hadn't even been exposed to case studies.

    So, as the Ivy Leaguers migrated into corporations, they systematically reduced process to cost, product to revenue, and outsourced for profit to define unrealistic growth.

    Can't fault them for it, its what they were educated to believe. But, one had to question then and has to question now what happened to common sense and the integrity that builds the trust that companies thrive on?

    So, here's my last question for the White House.

    As (reasonably intelligent) citizens, is there something meaningful that we can do to help our nation in this crisis?

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 8:52 PM, Deepfryer wrote:

    Obama, are you going to help improve the economy and protect the personal freedoms of American citizens by helping to support the full legalization of online poker? Some points:

    •Technology has progressed to effectively combat problem gambling and ensure that players are of legal age.

    •Billions in potential tax revenue from online poker are being lost under the UIGEA.

    •Appropriate federal regulation can ensure that minors are kept out of sites, services are provided to problem gamblers and the proper taxes are collected. The current system does nothing to protect children, problem gamblers and it is allowing billions in tax revenue to go overseas.

    •Prohibitions don’t work. The UIGEA effectively bans online poker in the U.S. and drives those players underground. Meanwhile, poker continues to grow in popularity nationwide. 75 percent of Americans oppose banning online poker. According to national polling, a vast majority of Americans oppose federal efforts to ban online poker.

    •If Congress allows me to bet on horses and state lotteries online, why can’t I play a skill game like poker with other consenting adults?

    •Please support HR 2046 “Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act” and HR 2610 “Skill Game Protection Act”. Supporting an online poker ban can cost you an election. Exit polling has shown and the national media has noted that a leading advocate to ban Internet poker in the 109th Congress was negatively impacted by his leadership on the issue.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 8:59 PM, PsycheDaddy wrote:

    Mr. President,

    Can you please have some of you staffers rebuke the statements, in a meaningul way, that were made in some of the documentaries like I.O.U.S.A. and the "Obama Conspiracy" which will really help me sleep better at nights. From of the statements here, others aren't sleeping very well either.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 9:03 PM, fourjays01 wrote:

    Without a "public option" there will be no health care reform. Already health insurers are tripling and quadrupling the premiums...just hear what the insurance companies had to say today. Its already happening and has been for over a decade.

    Health care should be shared responsibility, with coordinated care following patients wherever they are treated. This simply doesn't happen now...those with great (grandfathered) health insurance are set, those without are turned away.

    On the issue of shareholder responsibility for publicly-held companies...that has been an option for years, but the boards (especially ones led by CEO/President fatties) have patently ignored individual investors wishes. By all means, regulate compensation, separate functions and create oversight that protects the health and profitability of all entities traded on our stock exchanges.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 9:19 PM, rfl263 wrote:

    Will this proposed new agency or ANY other agency be

    charged and empowered to split up any entity that is too big to fail?

    We don't want to bail out anybody else!

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 9:32 PM, jfrankh57 wrote:

    With all of the laws currently on the books, you mean to tell me that the average bilker can still get away with taking millions from the uninformed, just walking away, maybe paying a minute amount in fines, reparation, etc.? Why can't the law making bodies in our country just create an environment where it is down right onerous to do anything illegal or more to the point, immoral?!?!? Maybe the victims in the money bilking schemes should have a say in the punishment of those responsible???

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 9:35 PM, standridge wrote:

    I only had to read a couple but Afthought is right. The laws the fed has now are not enforced. There is no way the fed can enforce all the laws they have without substantially increasing their payroll. Yet they are steady making more. The system needs to be drastically simplified by way of a fair tax and all people will be able to participate as much or as little as they want.

    I think the same for health care. It needs to be simplified but also, people need to change their diet, improve habits, and exercise more frequently.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 10:09 PM, d123investor wrote:

    What our country and financial instutions need now is less interference from the Federal government not more. If the persons in charge of oversight of securities and trading would do their jobs and enforce rules and regulations already in place, there would be less fraud and illegal activity in the market place. This in turn would allow our economy to return to a healthy level.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 10:13 PM, militauro wrote:

    I would support having the agencies consolidated as long as the innovation was still allowed. Can't we force banks to take less leverage when "bigger than life" financial products are gaining steam? Maybe not harm innovation, but limit abuse.

    I do have one request, can we force financial institutions to adopt a "Plain English" document? When a credit card is issued, can I get a plain english document telling me what my rate is, what the penalty is if I miss a payment, any anything involving costs? Maybe force companies to use their fine print for detailed explanations, but fees and rules that can lead to fees must be stated on this plain english document for them to be legal. Make this document the same format across all areas (financial products, credit cards, loans, etc.) and it shouldn't take the American consumer more than 5 minutes to read.

    That's my only request. If a 0% interest loan was offered to a consumer, it should clearly state what the obvious consequences to this is. If I have a 30% interest credit card with $150 in annual fees, then I should know that upfront as well. Lets not think overly complicated, simple english could've avoided a lot.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 10:20 PM, thisislabor wrote:

    I like the quotes you guys selected in the article. Gets my approval.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:02 PM, bankswish wrote:

    I read the white paper when it first came out. Will the Administration tell me EXACTLY who the community advisers are that referenced in various sections of the document? EXACTLY what are their corporate, for- profit, non-profit, group or individual names that apparently will have some power and influence under this proposal?

    In addition, will the Administration guarantee that 100% of the hundreds of ACORN related affiliates be barred from having any involvement with this legislation going forward? If not, then, specifically, which ones will have involvement and what is their area of expertise that qualifys them for such influence?

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:13 PM, molliemd wrote:

    Rob Peter to Pay Paul. My broker assured me I had a 99% chance of getting my rebate from the IRS if I wrote and explained to them how the RMD occurred. They kept $938 of my IRA savings. Need I say more! Let's include the IRA in Financial regulation.

    Also tell Mr. Obama he has done nothing for Senior Citizens.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2009, at 11:53 PM, dgmennie wrote:

    President Obama: By all means conduct a complete makeover of the US financial regulatory system.

    However, you must REMOVE two existing laws/regulations for every new one approved and adopted. This policy MUST be extended throughout the lawmaking structure. Otherwise the 'system' will (if it has not already) grow to unmanagable proportions no matter WHAT the good intentions of the would-be regulators are. The only thing worse than no law or bad law is UNENFORCEABLE law.

    You have been warned.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 1:00 AM, cymike23 wrote:

    Corporate insiders have been "negotiating" many forms of excessive compensation for company officers, board members, and CEO's.- at shareholders expense. In order to get a fair share in public company profits these insiders should invest like everyone else. Stock purchase options must have reasonable rules and limitations. Golden parachutes should not be allowed. Finianical rewards are reasonable only for sucessful management measured for the long term. Short term profits that result in poor long term profits should be penalized and otherwise discouraged. Transparency means that language and rules must be simplified to the point that ordinary people can understand them. The way thing are now, not even the experts really know what is going on. It is very difficult or impossible to monitor good financal policies and performance in our public companies.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 1:35 AM, dollarpuppy wrote:

    "An ounce of [education] is worth a pound of [regulation]."

    It's incredible how financially illiterate most Americans of all ages are (I know this because I can look back and see how ignorant I was through most of my twenties). People don't understand that a 401k is not just a drain on their paycheck, that credit card APRs can jump through the roof at inconvenient times, and that whole life insurance is, er, not the best choice for most people.

    So much of the financial crises could have been avoided if people knew how to compare various home loans, how to plan a household budget and how to save for retirement. We are ready to believe that believe that yes, we really do deserve all that stuff we can't afford, that it will fulfill us, and we're not equipped with the education and common sense to say no to enormous home loans and credit card teaser rates. We're inundated daily with advertising messages, just waiting until we can get our first credit card and buy our way into an adult lifestyle. We're so deep in debt that we can't see a way out, so then what's the harm in spending a few more dollars? Maybe once we pay off our credit cards we can finally start saving for retirement in our forties or fifties.

    Advertisers and lenders can play on our desires and fears, and we have no financial education with which to dig our heels into the ground and stop from being lured into debt and bankruptcy. Why don't we put an emphasis on practical financial education starting in childhood and continuing throughout adulthood? Wouldn't most high school students be better served trading the time they spend learning algebra, even, and instead learning about household finances, consumer credit, saving and investing?

    If financial education in the US was truly sufficient, how did so many people acquire mortgages they should have known they couldn't afford? Why were so many within a few years of retirement invested so heavily in stocks? Why do so many wait until their thirties or forties to start saving for retirement?

    What is being done to fund basic financial education in order to give us and our children the tools we need to manage our personal finances in a responsible way?

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 1:50 AM, JustEconist wrote:

    I second the comment by dcampbell9:

    " think a positive step would be to consider rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure with the relatively new concept of social business as described in the book, A World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism by Muhammad Yunus, whom President Obama recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and whom has received the Noble Peace Prize for his work."

    AND I like to suggest some other life saving (our country's life) books:

    The Tyranny of Dead Ideas

    Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New Prosperity by Matt Miller :

    Miller outlines six myths in The Tyranny of Dead Ideas that have guided the country for the past 50 years, but are holding back America’s economic development: 1) our kids will earn more than we do; 2) free trade is always good, no matter who gets hurt; 3) employers should be responsible for health coverage; 4) taxes hurt the economy; 5) schools are a local matter; and 6) money follows merit. During the event, he provided many ideas that could be used to reinvent American capitalism.

    I LIKE TO ASK president Obama and all the senators and congressmen:

    If America at the the height of it's power can not provide basic health care at an affordable price when it can?

    If the quality of education afforded to a child is absolutely dependent on the place (the county ,city etc) he/she is born then how can equal opportunity be provided for all when millions of children inherit poverty, broken educational system from their parent.

    How can we call ourselves free when we are all chained to the corporations we work for (if we are fortunate enough to have a job) via chains of health care benefits, job etc. Why can't we decouple health care benefit from the tyranny of unelected bosses. I prefer elected officials over "unelected profit maximizing at any cost" bosses.

    In short when our country going to live to it's promise of "equal opportunity for all"?

    thank you and may the god of justice and equality bless you Mr president

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 2:06 AM, Hydpdx wrote:

    Why was AIG allowed to pay (or indirectly bailout) Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank to the tune of $13 billion each? GS and DB could have been forced to take a fraction of that amount had it been negotiated properly BEFORE bailing out AIG. Who failed to do their job here? And do you plan to hold them accountable?

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 2:15 AM, withoutlimits wrote:

    Dear Mr. President,

    I believe more and more that the Fed is out to ruin the economy, not help it. It's obvious that anyone, whether a person, a company or a country can only borrow so much money until it goes bankrupt or no one trusts them any more. The country is reaching that point and you are aiding in this travesty. Don't you think we should balance the budget, pay off the debt and get rid of the Fed?

    Tom Campbell

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 2:49 AM, WyattJunker wrote:

    hahahahaha

    You actually think this Washington administration raised on Chi-town's political nipple has any intent whatsoever to cut spending?

    That's rich.

    No, no, no. Sorry. Spending will continue at full tilt. You see, this is about political patronage. This is about creating a dependency class within the increasingly desperate electorate. Think of it like Phillip Morris or Altria to those who invest in them. Their customer is committed to the product because they are addicted.

    Same here.

    Why is the government even involved in housing, in autos and now in healthcare?

    Housing and autos was patronage. They used Fannie and Freddie for urban payola. They used autos for union votes. Your tax money is being used for political votes. Are you starting to get this?

    And healthcare? heh heh There's nothing wrong with healthcare.

    Medicaid was primarily a vehicle for seniors. But now the DNC wants to expand that demographic to include even more slaves by inculcating the zit faced youth into the mix. So, now they will not only get AARP votes, but also the dumb & young.

    P-A-T-R-O-N-A-G-E

    This is almost the end of the American experiment folks.

    The only Constitutional thing the government should be doing is mining uranium and funding an active military. Everything else is FDR and LBJ garbage made up on the fly to earn more votes. It was unconstitutional then and its unconstitutional now. Except now we have bled the country so long that it can't keep funding the scheme.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 2:50 AM, in2light wrote:

    it would be great if the bill made the 'credit score' accessible by all or no longer allowed to be used. It one of the major weapons that the financial industry uses to hold individuals hostage.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 3:58 AM, thisislabor wrote:

    I would like to know EXACTLY how it is calculated by each company. I would like to know the formulas, that should be free access information I think. Especially since the information they collect on me isn't given to them at my will or consent.

    If I have to give consent to allow them know what I am purchasing a major hourse or loan item to make the purchase, then it is not consent. It is more like date rape and not reporting it - it was consensual because she didn't contact a lawyer.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 6:28 AM, jonesericr wrote:

    ok this may not be a question for the white house but it does bug me. Why is it that my 401K must be tied to my current employer? wouldn't it be more effective if my 401K was with a company that I trust and feel comfortable with in managing my money?

    This would give me peace of mind plus stop the rollover game for people who are contractors and may wind up moving from one company to the next because the current one lost the bid on the contract. I went from a 401k with a good company solid company to a crappy Simple IRA with a poorly managed company. That company finally went to a 401k plan but will most likely lose the contract because their inept and I'll be in a new company and have to roll my money over again. If it was in one location then I could simply tell the employer my 401K is in company XYZ please send my 10% there. I may not get matching but if my company doesn't match it doesn't matter.

    Obviously I'm not a financial wizard so please school me on this topic.

    ej

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 7:52 AM, jajk wrote:

    Why is there no serious consideration of going back to a gold standard or at least creating a new standard that truly gives value to currency?

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 8:22 AM, jfrankh57 wrote:

    Why is our government so BIG? What part of the Constitution necessities such bloatacracy? Why should we, especially those of us who are thrifty and/or smart and/or living within our means allow others to drag us into a debt pool greater than our sum?

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 9:01 AM, clydejazz wrote:

    Some good comments already:

    1. Divorce 401k's from employers--why should I be stuck with my employer's lousy investment options when even a simple IRA lets you invest in anything?

    2. Public option healthcare--big insurance companies have about as much competition as Standard Oil had in 1900.

    3. Glass-Steagall--many have mentioned this. Why is the Fool not mentioning this?

    4. Consolidate bank regulators into one board

    5. Change stock options at public companies to be based on longer-term results. As a shareholder and also as a taxpayer who has to fund the Pension Guarantee Corporation, I'm sick of CEOs who rob companies and leave taxpayers to fund the pensions of the employees.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2009, at 11:22 AM, redline12 wrote:

    How about you put all those trillions of dollars into the tax payers of this country so bills can be paid and loans paid off. That will get this economy rolling, and not allow enemies of this country to own parts of it. Owe and the US government has no right to own any privae industries either, seel what you have already taken and keep your hands off President Obama.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 4:48 PM, Clint35 wrote:

    I don't think another agency to protect us is the answer. The Sec is underfunded and understaffed. It also doesn't have as much power as it's suppose to because of politicians that are suppose to back up the Sec are getting paid by wall street. Politicians should not be allowed to get paid anything from any company or any lobbyist for any reason. That is not right. They're suppose to be working for the people not for themselves and the companies their buddies work at. They're needs to be more regulation of hedge funds and other funds to allow more transparency. The idea that hedge funds don't have to let people know what they're investing in just because they're hedge funds is amzing and wrong! The same goes for other companies that are involved in the financial industry but they don't tell people that, yes I'm talking about GE and companies like them. We all have the right to know where every penny of our potential investment goes. Whether they're building airplane engines or doling out mortgages to people that can't afford them. We have the right to know everything every public company is doing. New regulations aren't needed in this case just proper enforcement. CDOs and CDSs and things similar to them should be illegal. These were nothing more than an invention of wall street to make them a bunch of money. These are not good investments for anyone. They're only good for the companies selling them. We need more regulation of financial companies to keep them from "inventing" crap like that which is great for them and terrible for the poor people that buy it from them. We've all heard of Iceland right? Speaking of CDOs, something has to be done about the damn rating agencies! They're nothing but crooks! They rate anything investment grade just to help their customer sell it. We all know what conflict of interest means, right? The rating agencies are just getting paid to lie. I could go on for days but I'm getting tired. Read The 86 Biggest Lies On Wall Street for more good ideas. And for crying out loud, please no more bail outs! Start showing some fiscal responsibility with tax payer money. Quit giving it away to companies that messed up and can't do anything right. Just because Bush did it doesn't mean it was a good idea. Get rid of our huge deficit and balance the budget, or at least try to. Giving away money was not the answer and I really hope there are no more bailouts of any kind. There's no such thing as a company that's too big to fail.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 4:51 PM, Clint35 wrote:

    Bring back Glass-Steagall.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 4:55 PM, Clint35 wrote:

    Reading Dumb Money would also be a good idea.

  • Report this Comment On October 17, 2009, at 9:03 AM, Jen85254 wrote:

    Why do 3 major banks have direct lines to Timothy Guytner who in turn has a direct line to the President and power to shape Government policies? America needs open access by all stakeholders - policy should not be shaped by so few.

    When is the revolving door between Wall Street and Government going to stop? We need inclusion of other financial minds in the discussions to formualte best policies for the entire country!

    We need enforcement and prosecution of those who broke the law - fund/hire sufficient numbers of agents to investigate then enough DOJ attorneys to prosecute.

    TARP banks allowed to borrow at nearly 0% interest (that tax payers are funding), then invest those funds in China and overseas businesses. Why aren't those funds restricted to domestic investment and government/tax payers able to share in the profits?

    Free up capital and credit so businesses can operate and grow - jobs will only come back when businesses can thrive, not be strangled by lack of available credit.

    Change at tax laws to encourage and attract investment in the U.S. by producers. This country needs to build up the manufacturing sector - it has been decimated.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2009, at 12:00 PM, ronald92885 wrote:

    We the taxpayers provided $350 billion to bail out the automotive industry. GM and Chrysler still declared bankruptcy, what happened to the bailout money that was suppose to save them? Unbelievable that nobody has gone to jail yet. Rewarding bad behavior ruins everyone even a Superpower like the U.S. In other countries a revolt would have taken place already and all the incumbents would be on foodstamps. Are the crooks really in charge or is our system so slanted that character, honesty and integrity and hard work no longer aplicable in today's environment.

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