If you thought the debate over health-care reform was heated, hold on to your brokerage statements.
Earlier this week, the House Financial Services Committee dove into key measures of the White House's financial regulatory reform effort, and as expected, bankers, financial-industry lobbyists, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and -- of course -- politicians all lined up with thick red pens poised to overhaul the overhaul plan.
The Motley Fool was there, too. The big difference (besides being actually invited by the administration) is that David Gardner and I were not there to talk politics or party lines. We were there on behalf of you, our community of individual investors -- an extremely engaged community, as you've proved with the 400-plus comments you posted when we asked for questions to take to the White House.
Why the White House needs Fools
In the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, just a stone's throw from the West Wing, we met with Austan Goolsbee, a member of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors -- the key architects of the financial-industry reform plan. Our summit took place in a regal room furnished with private donations, not taxpayer money. (Hey, we had to ask).
Why Fools? Why now? The administration isn't about to let its plan get nitpicked into oblivion. And the only way to do that is to keep the topic of financial regulation reform high-profile and as public as possible. "The farther out of the public eye we are -- the less transparency we have -- the more this is just sitting down in the bowels of some congressional subcommittee and the more the rules are being written by the people who are being regulated themselves," Goolsbee told us.
Here we go again
As longtime Fools know, we're not shy about using our podium to spotlight transparency, accountability, and advocacy.
Our community-led grassroots campaign aided the passage in 2000 of the SEC's "Regulation Full Disclosure," which provided level access to corporate information for all investors. We have long spoken out about greater financial-industry transparency, corporate accountability, and improving financial reporting.
It's no surprise that these themes are once again making the rounds in Washington and causing agitation on Wall Street. And that's why David and I headed into D.C. -- to find out what the president's financial regulation reform plan means for individual investors.
Regulation vs. capitalism
Check out Part 1 of our interview with Goolsbee. (For more details, refer to the 89-page white paper for a little light reading.) Here we ask him to highlight the major points of the reform plan. We also get into how (and whether) capitalism and increased regulation can co-exist, and how the end result might play out in our investment returns.
What are your thoughts about regulation and the free markets? Tell us what you think by entering a comment below.
Tomorrow on Fool.com, we'll present Part 2 of our interview, during which Goolsbee answers one of your questions about enforcement and accountability.