It was good to hear President Obama say that reining in Wall Street's high-risk behavior is an "unfinished piece of business." It would be even better if this observation were quickly followed by action -- the kind of concrete action he can take immediately, with or without Congress's cooperation.
The goal of a safer, sounder financial system, one that is less prone to crisis and failure and eliminates or dramatically reduces the need for taxpayer bailouts, is achievable. This is what the American people voted for last November. This is the president's clear mandate.
Now that President Obama's views on gay marriage have "evolved," it's time for his views on Wall Street to likewise "evolve" and for Obama to forcefully campaign to break the stranglehold of Too Big To Fail banks on the economy.
President Obama needs to give the Department of Justice task force the resources required to launch a serious investigation that will bring about real accountability before the statutes of limitations run out for Wall Street's crimes.
In their current form, derivatives are basically government insurance for banks where taxpayers pay the claims. And politicians like Gregg and Nelson are fighting to keep the crooked $600 trillion derivatives market unreformed.
Anyone can talk tough when markets are calm. But in the middle of a financial crisis it takes a special breed of hard-ass to insist on haircuts, since no one can be sure that squeezing creditors won't shut down the entire bond market.