Thursday, September 18, 2008

Let's have this debate on which candidate has a record

Today's main editorial in the WashPost: "John McCain's record on Wall Street oversight gets some misleading spin from Barack Obama"

However, when it comes to regulating financial institutions and corporate misconduct, Mr. McCain's record is more in keeping with his current rhetoric. In the aftermath of the Enron collapse and other accounting scandals, he was a leader, with Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), in pushing to require that companies treat stock options granted to employees as expenses on their balance sheets. "I have long opposed unnecessary regulation of business activity, mindful that the heavy hand of government can discourage innovation," he wrote in a July 2002 op-ed in the New York Times. "But in the current climate only a restoration of the system of checks and balances that once protected the American investor -- and that has seriously deteriorated over the past 10 years -- can restore the confidence that makes financial markets work."

Mr. McCain was an early voice calling for the resignation of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt, charging that he "seems to prefer industry self-policing to necessary lawmaking. Government's demands for corporate accountability are only credible if government executives are held accountable as well."

In 2006, he pushed for stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- while Mr. Obama was notably silent. "If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole," Mr. McCain warned at the time.
Hmmm...I think we know why Obama was "notably silent" on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac reform.


Anonymous said...

"he was a leader... in pushing to require that...In 2006, he pushed for stronger regulation of..."

Translation: he failed to accomplish anything. Don't forget, Hillary Clinton has "always been a tireless fighter for" health care, too.

Despite the amazing approbation of the ever-unpredictable Washington Post editorial board, choosing Phil Gramm to craft your economic policy says tons more than the occasional "something must be done" quote. If words were deeds, Joe Biden could create the heavens and the earth in four days.

While it's naive to imagine either campaign is ethically pure, McCain has Gramm, and Obama has Raines. The Post is crediting McCain as an advocate for corporate oversight? That's like saying McCain would be the crusader for nuclear disarmament if he were being advised by Werner von Braun, while Obama was listening to the pilot of the Enola Gay.

Anonymous said...

Martin Feldstein (AIG chairman of the board) and John Thain (Merrill Lynch chairman/CEO... well, former) are two of John McCain's top backers and advisors.

Feldstein is one of the primary unelected advocates for privatizing Social Security - a concept whose potential drawbacks may be a little more obvious this week.

In summer 2008, Thain was publically advocating less oversight and regulation for companies like Merrill Lynch. In 2007, his salary for guiding Merrill Lynch was more than $83 million.

Anonymous said...

Point well taken, sSWw. Probably safe to say there's no one with clean hands on either side of the isle.

But we're one nation, and we've got to solve this.

The only place this path leads is off a cliff. And when it does, Republicans don't win. Neither do Democrats.

Our grandchildren will all be standing around burn barrels in December, hungry & cold, arguing about whose fault it was.


Anonymous said...

Feldstein is one of the primary unelected advocates for privatizing Social Security - a concept whose potential drawbacks may be a little more obvious this week.

Yeah, cause this week sure makes me trust the government.