How to solve the financial crisis- what you won’t hear from Obama or McCain

There is no question that Wall Street is flailing about, while our President and the two candidates are woefully inept at making any proposal to stop the hemorrhaging and start working on the fundamental issue (which the candidates have correctly identified) greed.

The following NY Times article has a lot of finger pointing and posturing- but, no real answers.

The crisis on Wall Street will leave the next president facing tough choices about how best to regulate the financial system, and although neither Senator Barack Obama nor Senator John McCain has yet offered a detailed plan, their records and the principles they have set out so far suggest they could come at the issue in very different ways.

In Candidates, 2 Approaches to Wall Street – NYTimes.com.

Let’s try this on for size: an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.

That means we need to have a system that rewards people for a job well done: record profits, record employment, record efficiency- not for figuring out ways to rape pension plans, retirement accounts or real estate investment trusts. It means that when people invest their hard earned wages into investment vehicles for long term gains, someone else isn’t pulling out the cash as fast as we put it in by generating worthless paper.

The only way to do this is to cut volatility by limiting volume traders. Individual investors investing in chunks smaller than a fraction of 1 percent of any company are free to trade at will, as long as they’ve held the stock for at least 90 days (one quarter). Large investment groups, funds and tycoon investors would be required to hold stock for at least 1 year. Exceptions would be made when a company is involved in a sale to another company, where profits can be taken immediately upon sale or when selling at a loss.

Right now the market is driven by greed and emotion. We’re seeing wild swings in value of relatively stable companies. The waves of each successive swing are shaking the foundations of our system and causing additional panic.

If the government has to keep stepping in to bolster the banks and insurance companies with our tax dollars, we have every right to expect a return on our investment. That return would mean putting our long term investments in retirement accounts and pension plans first and take the “hedge fund” managers out of our casino and give us back a secure and stable financial system- because we- not them- actually put in the honest day’s work to earn our honest day’s pay- and we expect to keep it.

Unfortunately, John McCain and Barack Obama don’t have the guts to call the barons of Wall Street out and challenge them to prove that they deserve to be the banker in a game of monopoly, never mind running fast and loose with our money for one more day.

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2 Responses

  1. David Esrati September 17, 2008 / 4:33 pm

    Great link Bill-
    The quarterly reporting are like predicting a football final score by looking at each quarter.
    I really like this part:
    ” Finally, at the center of blame must be the financial institutions themselves. They — and even more their executives — had incentives that were not well aligned with the needs of our economy and our society.

    They were amply rewarded, presumably for managing risk and allocating capital, which was supposed to improve the efficiency of the economy so much that it justified their generous compensation. But they misallocated capital; they mismanaged risk — they created risk.

    They did what their incentive structures were designed to do: focusing on short-term profits and encouraging excessive risk-taking.”

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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