People hoping Obama fails have a lopsided view. Phil Gramm's extreme business deregulation bills during the Bush administration encouraged giant businesses to take huge risks for short-term profits, their CEOs pressured and rewarded for this with huge salaries and bonuses. They've managed, unintentionally but inevitably, to ruin our economy with it - and the world's. Government life support is now necessary. The question isn't whether we're socialists but whether we can keep this from happening again.
Stricter regulations are needed. Obama has quite sensibly tied bailout money to restrictions on CEO compensation. But some big banks, having been saved from bankruptcy, aren't cooperating now. They say they need the old system to attract the best people (although it's these best people who created this mess).
To avoid regulation, these banks want to give the bailout money back, so they'll have the advantage over still-bailed-out competitors - in the process leaving fewer and bigger banks with even more potential to topple everything.
For that very reason Obama made all big banks accept some bailout money, and to avoid more bailouts he can't let any of them give it back until the banking industry as a whole recovers. These banks are willing to keep other (nonrestricting) taxpayer money in the form of AIG bailouts, which AIG then paid banks for undercapitalized and unregulated insurance obligations on un-repaid mortgages.
Banks had knowingly made those loans with little chance of repayment. Derivatives were cosmetically repackaged and sold for big profits to outside investors; there were no rules forbidding it.
We all better hope Obama wins the coming restructuring showdown between government and these business giants. Ideals of freedom through government noninterference will be irrelevant if another breakdown plunges the world into even more trouble.
Key businesses are big enough and intertwined enough to do that now. Obama's administration isn't anti-business; it's trying to reform the system to protect us all from excesses of greed that go beyond the market's natural ability to correct itself.
Forget about being Republican or Democrat. To oppose this effort is stupid and self-defeating.
Peter Schmidt, Durango