Archive for December 8th, 2009
William Cornwall raises this worthy question:
the focus on drug and steroid testing in sports is absurd when you consider that professional athletes are tested more than Supreme Court Justices, Members of Congress, the President of the United States, and other elected officials. Additionally, despite the disproportionately high incidents of substance abuse among health care practitioners and the undeniable potential risks to their patients, there are no uniform workplace testing programs for health care practitioners that are similar to the testing programs in sports. What is it about possessing the elite athletic prowess that justifies treating a man or woman differently from others whose impact on our lives are potentially much more profound?
According to consumer advocate Ed Mierzwinski, the following four reforms “seem obvious to taxpayers. Not to Wall Street.” I would add that they don’t seem obvious enough to most members of Congress. They should have been passed at least a year ago:
1) Will Congress enact a strong version of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency? [It needs to be independent, needs to regulate all financial products, needs to reinstate federal law as a floor, not a ceiling, of protection].
2) Will Congress regulate the shadow markets, e.g., unregulated derivative, hedge fund, and private equity shadow markets?
3) Will Congress audit the Fed?
4) Will Congress end the too-big-to-fail system that led to taxpayer-funded TARP bailouts?
I agree with Mierzwinski that these needs are obvious. The only reason they aren’t yet law is that Congress is flooded with banking industry money. It’s time for Congress to show whether it has any integrity for enacting these four reforms, which constitute some very low bars, indeed. These are minimum standard that any reasonable person would immediately support. Members of Congress need to show us that they really represent the People of the U.S. by immediately voting for these four reforms.