President Barack Obama recently signed into law an overhaul of banking and Wall Street regulations. He says the legislation will end many of the practices that got us into this economic mess, now being called the worst recession since the 1930s.
I am all for financial reform and holding banks and private lenders accountable for their actions. I am also an advocate for regulations and greater education for the consumer. I hope this kind of ‘transparency’ will prevent, in the future, people from taking on home mortgages and other loans they can’t afford, regardless of what some slimeball lender assures them.
My concern, however, is that, rather than ‘holding banks accountable,’ this legislation will only hurt private citizens, in the end.
While most can agree it was ‘decades of excess’ which brought us to this unfortunate point, the outcomes were not all bad.
Not everyone who benefitted from a ‘sub-prime’ mortgage is a loan shark, or has criminal and/or wily intentions.
Not everyone who took advice on what was promised to be a ‘solid’ stock lead is a financial predator.
Not everyone who decided to transfer credit card balances to a card with a lower APR is a crook, bent only on saving himself money, while throwing caution (and any cares for his fellow citizens) to the wind.
It is only natural for people to want to obtain goods and services for a low price tag. It’s only natural for people to do their damndest to keep what savings they have for the future, for their kids, etc. It is only natural for someone, when faced with a proposition that may seem ‘too good to be true,’ to accept it, once exhaustively convinced of the ways it can work.
Unfortunately, the only thing sweeping change in the economic arena does is hurt the average citizen. Legislation written to ‘punish’ corporations, banks and lending institutions will only, in the end, hurt the average Joe most dearly.
As the watchful eye of government fixes more closely on mortgage firms, they will hesitate to lend to any but the most financially sound citizens, leaving thousands forced to put off the “American Dream” for decades and, in some cases, forever.
As the rules are changed for credit card companies, they will only close accounts, slash credit limits to less than half of their previous highs, enforce ever-increasing minimum payments and deny loans to new customers, many of them college students just beginning to build a credit portfolio.
And while the financial belt seemingly tightens on our lawmakers and the powerful elite, the average citizen sees more and more of the things he owns, or aspires to own, fade into a mere dream.
Obama has stated Americans will never again be asked to “bail out” the big banks and Wall Street. Perhaps we should not have been asked to do just that in the first place.
The sad truth remains that, while those responsible for the economic collapse are now reporting profits again and rebuilding their empires on the backs of hard working Americans, the people are forced to only dig themselves deeper into a financial pit from which there may be no escape.
As businesses, small and large alike, are re-evaluating their hiring practices, millions of Americans without work are abandoning the hope of ever securing gainful employment again, and millions more each week are joining the unemployment lines.
We can all agree there is no easy ‘fix’ to the economic maelstrom facing us today. We may all be able to agree that now is not the time to point fingers but, rather, to come together to generate unique and lasting ways to ensure a catastrophe of this level will never recur.
But the bottom line remains that no matter what new ideas and applauded legislation are dreamed up, large corporations, big banks and the very people who got us into this economic mess in the first place will always come out relatively unscathed and triumphant.
And the American people will always be left footing the bill. The American people will always lose.
by Peter Gaseoustania; Gaseoustania Tonight