Arguably, the most disappointing aspect of Obama’s presidency has been his failure to consistently and comprehensively reform the finance sector of the economy. As I said on an earlier blog, “He has failed to connect the legitimate rage at our economic collapse with the truest causes of it and now we are seeing unions of all things getting blamed and demonized.” The phony economic populism of the Right has resonated in part because an authentic economic populism of the Left has not been coming from the White House. Now comes news that even the one significant step for economic reform, the Dodd-Frank law, is lagging in enforcement muscle. A leading site providing journalistic oversight of the financial system is Pro Publica. They reported today that
"With Sheila C. Bair soon to leave her post at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Obama administration will have five major bank regulatory positions either unfilled or staffed with acting directors…The vacancies come at a time that calls for stiffer regulatory examination. The financial regulatory system was remade under Dodd-Frank and requires strong leaders to put the changes into effect. Though the acting heads insist they feel empowered to make serious decisions, they have roughly the same authority as substitute high school teachers."
Although some of the blame for these vacancies falls on Republicans, Pro Publica is right in saying that “much of the blame for this situation lies with the Obama administration. It's almost as if the president and his staff have thrown up their hands. The administration has had trouble finding good candidates who are willing to go through the vetting process and has shied away from fights. It also hasn't seeded the ground or supported the nominations it has made, people complain.”