Viewpoint: We need some financial rules - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Viewpoint: We need some financial rules

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Last Monday, the President made a speech to the financial world, about new guidelines to address the lax oversight that led to the collapse of Lehman Brothers last year.

Why has this not already been done?

As with anything that comes out of Washington, the devil is in the details, and there are many interests involved that want to protect their turf.

Not just banks and financial institutions, but committees, regulatory boards, and government agencies as well.

The President has stirred up a hornet's nest with what the public perceives as a government takeover of healthcare.

But they are likely to be more on his side when it comes to holding highly-paid and highly bonused bankers and brokers to some kind of standard, and forestalling the kind of financial dangers we faced just a year ago.

Wall Street wants to water down Obama's recommendation to tight rules for derivatives like credit default swaps. They also are fighting tough new restrictions on executive pay.

On one hand, there's something scarey about government having too much of a say in what salary a private employee makes. But we feel it's even worse when fat cats take limousines to their penthouse offices, and then want government bailouts.

Now is the time for Wall Street and big banking to get its house in order, and show the president and the public that they are learning the lessons of the financial meltdown.

The President is correct to call Wall Street to account, and he ought to call out the executives-- and the heads of government agencies-- who want to put their self interests ahead of our national interest.