A couple of days late, but better than never! Obama hits all from consumer and financial institution overreaching to the lack of proper regulatory oversight. Obviously, leading to the current financial crisis. Where to go from this mess? Overhaul the financial regulatory system, of course. The biggest challenge is Obama's concept of encouraging innovation while guarding against risk. Easier said than done. We've found ourselves relatively effective at addressing past and current crises. The greater challenge, though, is foreseeing the next crisis around the corner. Particularly any crisis that threatens the "forest" as Obama refers to the financial system as a whole. The increased authority proposed for the Federal Reserve is sure to meet some industry resistance at a time when banks are attempting to escape government oversight by repaying TARP funds (see repayments by JP Morgan, American Express, Goldman Sachs, State Street). The elimination of the Office of Thrift Supervision in exchange for direct Federal Reserve involvement is sure to raise the ire of banking groups (see Financial Services Forum "Lobbyists Dig In As Obama Pushes Financial Overhaul").
Importantly, Obama plans the creation of a consumer watchdog. Long overdue, but we will need to wait to see the details. The authority granted this agency will be key to its effectiveness in a government system with established players . . . and established lobbyists. As a concept, I am all for it.