September 20, 2008

Barbara Lee presents a Conversation with Robert Reich. September 20, 2008. Oakland Museum of Art.
Hopefully, Reich's speech will soon be up on youtube or otherwise accessible.
Reich argued straightforwardly & clearly that "the ideology of deregulation [. . . ] has failed." He argued that four things needed to be implemented or clarified in regards to Wall Street:
1. Full and transparent disclosure. A company's actual assets and their actual risks need to be made transparent.
2. Capital requirements. That is, revenues in place need to be sufficient to back risks.
3. Rules against conflicts of interest. The companies that rate investment companies are now paid by the investment companies they are rating for their services. This is inherently flawed.
4. Guards against market manipulation. Namely, regulating short sellers.
Strings he would like to see attached to what will surely end up a blank check bailout: Better unemployment coverage (less than 40% of those who lose their jobs are now eligible for umemployment benefits). Universal healthcare. Better mortgage insurance. Better pension insurance.
I've been a fan of Reich's since his essay "Why the Rich are Getting Richer and the Poor, Poorer," which among other things foreshadowed the out-sourcing of industrial jobs crisis now heavily felt in Michigan (where they are bleeding jobs) and elsewhere.
He explained that we are socializing the financial industry on the down turn; whereby, those reaping the wild market gone crazy upswing have already benefitted and cashed in & now that things have gone South, we the public get to shoulder the skids of bad decisions made by very wealthy people.
I liked his & Lee's repeated use of the phrase "working men & women," harkening the conversation back to a time when the Democrats actually represented labor, the working class & the poor.
It made me misty for a real national labor-based party.


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