Regulations necessary to keep institutions honest

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

For one who is bored to tears from hearing about businesses that are “too big to fail,” I actually stood up and applauded a couple of weeks ago when I read in the newspaper that FDIC chairman Sheila Bair told Congress that a new system of supervision was needed to prevent institutions from taking on excessive risks and growing so big that their failure would threaten the financial system. It’s too bad the country had to be drawn into a recession before somebody in the right position figured that out.

Furthermore, she added, the government needs a mechanism to fix troubled institutions similar to the one the FDIC has to deal with federally insured banks and thrifts. Hopefully, Congress will listen and act on her recommendations.

Perhaps if these financial geniuses that created this disaster spoke in language everybody understood, somebody could figure out how to get out of this mess. But when these people try to explain the situation they talk in code words and complicated sentences that only people in their business can understand.

And actually, I believe this is all part of the program. I think their schemes are designed to deceive the public and that’s why they have a language of their own. They remind me of a bunch of kids speaking Pig Latin.

If you ask me I feel that we taxpayers have learned a lot more than we wanted to about the kind of environment big business operates in this country. We shouldn’t really be shocked when we hear about the way the drug cartels are doing business: Except for the kidnapping and murdering, they don’t seem to behave much differently than the Wall Street types.

None of this happened overnight while we were all asleep. The unwinding of the regulations under which businesses were supposed to function happened right under the noses of people we hired and trusted. I think it will be years before the public learns the true extent of the damage that has been done to the country by the financial establishment. It could be that Americans will look back on this tragedy and reflect that the huge sums of money expended were the least of our losses. Faith, trust and belief in people who have handled our financial system have been virtually destroyed.

Still, there are those who are willing to fight tooth and nail against regulating the financial institutions. I suppose they don’t see any problem with going through this recession business every four years or so. I guess they have the same attitude of other professional gamblers. They don’t want to take a chance on missing one single opportunity to make a killing even though they lose it all in the end. Perhaps, the FDIC chairman should have suggested that the financial establishment should forget about this free market crap until they have proven they can play by the rules.

If the United States truly is determined to be the leader of the free world then we need to get our house in order. Our greed has become transparent across the globe. Expecting other countries to trust our judgment and be willing to fall in line behind us is at this point pretty much wishful thinking. Nevertheless, it is the way the old guard has been thinking for decades, still married to the philosophy that we are a superior people.

It is unfortunate that the older generation, whose thinking and behavior has brought us to this recession, still refuses to relinquish power to a younger generation who may bring a fresh perspective to bear on the issues. One would think the oldsters would be happy to have the burdens on their shoulders eased. Apparently, not so, and they are going to continue to try to force their bankrupt ideas down our throats. The fact that these ideas have been failing for years means nothing to them.

I don’t know if we will ever see a time again when the two-party system will pull together for the good of the country. Too many party members are wasting time when we don’t know how much time we have left.

Most of us have tried to get the naysayers to focus on the welfare of future generations to no avail. They are going to go down fighting, doing everything they can to obstruct progress.

I can only hope that ultimately their grandchildren and great-grandchildren forgive them for the penalty of love having lost its way. And believe it or not, it was all about politics, how sad.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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Greg Collins April 7, 2009 | 12:45 p.m.

The problem with many of our private institutions is Congress. They are directly responsible for creating the conditions which forced banks to make bad loans in order to meet some politically correct ideal of "available housing" to those who should really rent.

Government is not the answer. It is in large part the problem.

(Report Comment)
Matt Y April 7, 2009 | 12:52 p.m.
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Matt Y April 7, 2009 | 12:53 p.m.

Wrong article!

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