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Raymond J. Learsy Headshot

Sheila Bair as Vice President. Governor Romney, Are You Listening?

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Wall Street, the financial sector and its minions have much to answer for in their self-absorbed destabilization of the American economy being played out over the crumbling lifestyles of so many Americans while our government's largesse continues, through Washington-sponsored programs such as TARP, ready liquidity at the Fed Discount Window, government-guaranteed bank deposits, paucity of oversight of the stock and commodity exchanges, total absence of criminal prosecutions and more, available to the very perpetrators of America's economic malaise.

The issue defines itself with particular grimness in the putative candidates on our political stage. First, we have a president with a lack of understanding or volition to take on the power and influence of the Financial Industry, surrounding himself with appointees with deep ties to the culture of Wall Street, and, in consequence, unwilling or unable rein in its excesses. It has become an administration unwilling or unable to respond to the anger felt throughout the land, to the extent that "Crony Capitalism" has been permitted to flourish. In its stead President Obama, unable to deal with distortions visited on the nation by the financial sector, has dangerously uncorked the two demons that have devastated so much of European history, Class War and Envy -- proclivities that in dimension have been thankfully absent from the American psyche.

Governor Romney, in turn, is identified hand and fist with Wall Street's interests; whether his past leadership of Bain Capital and the financial engineering it represents, with its leveraged buyouts enriching the investors while saddling functioning businesses with enormous debt and ultimately destroying many, with all the societal devastation of lost jobs, careers and hollowed townscapes it portends; or his opposition to and calls for repeal of the Dodd-Frank Bill, the one piece of legislation put forward by Congress to bridle the runaway power of the financial sector, a bill that has already been massively lobbied into near meaninglessness.

Yet it is still early in the campaign and perhaps wisdom, with a little bit of luck, will yet fall on fertile ground. Despite Governor Romney's identification with a financial sector that has run roughshod over the nation and practically brought the nation's economy to its knees, redemption is still possible. It would be a coup of extraordinary dimension were his campaign to look to that singular personage in government who, from the very beginning of the financial imbroglio, fought tooth and nail for the interests of everyday America and against the untrammeled clout and billions doled out to the financial poo-bahs of Wall Street and beyond. This was Sheila Bair the erstwhile chairwoman (June 2006 - July 2011) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Bair, a moderate Republican and holdover appointee from the Bush administration, fought unstintingly against the crony capitalism that had overtaken our government (please see "America Needs a President Who Will Confront the Financial Industry's Hegemony Over Our Lives"). "Our job is to protect bank customers, not banks" was her modus operandi. Just last week, Sheila Bair was extensively interviewed on CNBC by Maria Bartiromo following Bair's public contention that, given its massive speculative losses, banks the size of JPMorganChase should be broken up, as its size and that of many other large banking institutions is such that the maket can no longer get a handle on them, the regulators cannot get a handle on them, and now, it's become clear, neither can their management. But see for yourself.

America needs a real choice this November. Governor Romney, are you listening?