Friday, January 22, 2010

Obama takes on the bank terminators

We'll keep this post short, as we digest this latest news about Obama taking on the banks, putting new limits on their size and curbing their ability to make what he called "reckless investments." Initial gut feeling is good, with Paul Volcker, who has been robust on how to deal with the banks, standing next to Obama during his announcement, and the much-reviled Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner looking unhappy. The New York Times is calling this

"a shift in power within the administration away from those who had been seen as most sympathetic to Wall Street."

and we like the tone of Obama comments about bankers such as:

"If these folks want a fight, it's a fight I am ready to have."

In the Financial Times, Gillian Tett likens bankers to The Terminator in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, who seem to have taken a mortal blow but keep coming back. But she sounds a note of caution, too, arguing that this blows a hole in months of painstaking work to achieve global co-ordination on regulation. Still, better to start later from a stronger platform than to start earlier from a shakier one. A last word to The Guardian:

"Make no mistake, this was a big moment. The argument every timid policy maker in Britain makes when confronted with the need for reform of the City is that there is no point in doing anything unless the Americans are on board."

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