Vail Valley Voices: Obama off course following election |

Vail Valley Voices: Obama off course following election

Sal Bommarito
Vail, CO, Colorado

President Obama’s reaction to the monumental election of a Republican to the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Teddy Kennedy has been perplexing, to say the least.

Most pundits believe that health-care reform is dead for the time being. Thank goodness.

Maybe, our legislators will be able to forge a bipartisan proposal after the November elections that will finally provide health-care protection for all Americans and bring down costs.

A hint: Tort reform would decrease doctor malpractice insurance costs and eliminate unneeded testing, resulting in lower insurance expenses for all Americans.

Instead of offering a productive response to the new reality in the Senate, less than a super majority to prevent filibusters, Obama predictably resorted to extreme populism.

In this regard, many people blame large banks for the current economic crisis even though Congress, country banks, mortgage banks, mortgage originators, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and borrowers all share responsibility.

With assistance from the vindictive press, Obama has proposed a nonsensical plan that, simply put, would forbid institutions that accept deposits from investing in proprietary transactions including private equity and hedge funds.

Interestingly, this proposal reared its ugly head a day after the Democrats effectively lost control of the Senate, and on the day a large investment bank reported stellar earnings.

The president’s proposal is supposed to make us all safer from another financial crisis. Unfortunately, it doesn’t address the issues that were the primary causes of the current situation: mortgages, housing, subprime loans and the like.

Rather, the proposal was Nixonesque and spiteful. Obama fueled the negativity being directed at large banks to divert the American public from the real problems in Washington.

If I were advising Obama, I would tell him to turn his attention to the creation of jobs, which is the No. 1 concern in our country, according to most experts. Even Republicans would support a new initiative to get people back to work.

While the president is bloviating about proprietary trading, an activity that not more than 5 percent of the population could even define, America is fighting two wars in the Middle East where our soldiers are being killed every day and the U.S is spending billions of dollars.

Additionally, the global war on terror is not going well. We recently had a near miss on an airplane, and terror cells are popping up all around us.

In November, the president is going to experience more political pain. He knows it and has become misdirected by his advisers.

If Obama wants to save his presidency, he needs to focus on the issues most important to the public, not fight petty battles with the banking industry.

We need regulation, for sure. But let’s regulate those areas that will make us less vulnerable.

Sal Bommarito is a novelist and frequent visitor to Vail over the past 20 years.

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