In the wake of the worst financial crisis in 80 years, I thought it would be a no-brainer for the U.S. government to give up its longstanding policy of banning capital controls through trade agreements.
There is little doubt that the global financial crisis posed "unusual and exigent" circumstances that had to be met with a huge response by the Fed (and Treasury). It is not clear, however, that the response actually mounted was legal. It was certainly not transparent.
Over the intervening three years, what did Obama do? Well, we got a stimulus package, and then a year later an absurdly complicated new law that addressed everything except the most important issues. And that's about it.
If regulators do their jobs properly, the resulting institutions should be simpler, smaller, and safer. Those firms would be less likely to fail -- and less dangerous in the event that they do.
Whether Iraq's democratic-appearing government survives or not, the person who did more than any other behind the scenes to broker the deals and to play communications envoy between factions of Iraq's fractured political order was Joe Biden.
Instead of political pandering and promoting a reckless policy, Obama is making it clear that while he seeks to resolve the challenge from Iran, he also has policy red lines that should not be crossed.
Wall Street "veteran" Leon Cooperman has written an "Open Letter to President Obama" that provides us with a glimpse into the mindset of our 21st century corporate overlords. What's put a bee in Mr. Cooperman's bonnet is the president's "tone" toward billionaires like himself.
The president needs something big to establish his cred as tough on Wall Street. But fortunately, the thing he needs is right in front of him: the settlement talks with the bankers.
Just a few months ago Jon Corzine was on the short list to be Treasury Secretary, but now he's ignoring a request to testify before a subcommittee investigating the demise MF Global and setting up a showdown that could have major implications for the president's re-election.
Depending on whom you ask, the housing crisis is over, still going on, or entering a new and far more sinister phase.
Note to media: Please stop referring to Eliot Spitzer as the Sheriff of Wall Street. The title certainly doesn't fit now, and arguably didn't fit a decade ago when he took Wall Street to task for putting out conflicted research on stocks.
With its latest sweetheart deal for Wall Street, the Obama administration is choosing a path which will be devastating both economically and for them politically in 2012.
Naming Bloomberg Treasury secretary would be a bold move by Obama to seek a post-partisan truce against gridlock in Washington and to escalate an urgent bid to create jobs, revitalize housing and revive the economy.
She may not know it yet, but the nation needs Sheila Bair. Her persona, her values, her experience would be an enormously timely gift to all of us.
Populist rhetoric when angry people are in the streets demanding accountability for bankers is a start, but talk is cheap. If the banking mess turns critical again, we will see what this president has learned, and what he is made of.
Corporate and financial elites have largely succeeded in seizing the current economic crisis of their own making to ram through attacks on social programs they've always despised. With Washington in their pockets they apparently believe that now is their time to contort the institutions of American society into a consortium servicing their narrow class interests. But the protests in Europe and on Wall Street are evidence that a growing number of people are on to them. The primordial moment for the pursuit of justice has begun.