We're not shy about advocating for shareholder rights, or making sure our members are heard on important matters that affect all of our portfolios. That's why the White House asked for feedback from the Motley Fool community and agreed to answer your questions. Here is the second part of our interview with one of President Obama's chief economists.
On Tuesday, The Motley Fool sat down with Austan Goolsbee, Colbert Report survivor and chief economist for the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, to ask your questions about the White House's financial regulatory reform plan.
One hot topic you raised was the potential for increased regulation to squelch the machinations of capitalism. Goolsbee addressed that, as well as the high points of the administration's recommendations for financial-industry reform, in the first part of David Gardner's and my interview, posted yesterday.
Where were the watchdogs when we needed them?
Another common theme that came out of Fool member comments was lackluster enforcement:
- From dancinglight: "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?"
- 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."
- And this comment, posted by gamala: "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."
In the following segment, we ask a question posted by Fool member sfun about the breakdown in investor protection. You'll also hear Goolsbee's thoughts on the conflicts of interest on Wall Street that still exist, and how the government failed the individual investor.