A protest sign is held up outside the Bank of America Tower, left, in New York last April.
He’s not the only one saying this, but considering his background, Robert Reich is a pretty significant voice pointing out how, over a year since things went seriously south on Wall Street, “almost nothing has been done to prevent all hell from breaking loose again.” Reich, who served as Bill Clinton’s secretary of labor and is now a professor at Berkeley, has some advice our current president might do well to heed. —KA
What happened to all the tough talk from Congress and the White House early last year? Why is the financial reform agenda so small, and so late?
Part of the answer is that the American public has moved on. A major tenet of US politics is that if politicians wait long enough, public attention wanders. With the financial crisis appearing to be over, the public is more concerned about jobs. Another 85,000 jobs were lost in December, bringing total losses since the recession began in December 2007 to over 7m. One out of six Americans is unemployed or underemployed.
Yet if the president and Congress wanted to, they could help Americans understand the link between widespread job losses and the irresponsibility on Wall Street that plunged America into the Great Recession. They could make tough financial reform part of the answer to sustain-able jobs growth over the long term.