Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Obama Aspires to a 'Light Touch,' Not a Heavy Hand


-- you can bet that whatever Obama says, he's doing the opposite, or why would he feel compelled to comment? --

CAPITAL JOURNAL | JUNE 17, 2009

As he prepares to release the most extensive proposals to change financial regulations since the 1930s, President Barack Obama is a bit anxious.

Anxious, that is, for people -- and specifically for his conservative critics -- to know he isn't the heavy-handed meddler some suspect.

"I think the irony … is that I actually would like to see a relatively light touch when it comes to the government," he said Tuesday in a White House interview.

It is a counterintuitive case to make when his government is a majority shareholder of General Motors, and when he will propose Wednesday new oversight of big financial institutions, new capital requirements for banks and a new consumer-protection agency for small investors.

Which is precisely why Mr. Obama went to great pains to explain that there is a philosophy behind the changes he is about to propose to the nation's financial plumbing. Indeed, he says, it is the same philosophy that applies to his broader view of the government's role in the economy:

"You set up some rules of the road, ensure transparency and openness, guard against huge systemic risk that will lead...government potentially having to step in to avoid a depression, and then let entrepreneurs and individual businesses compete and do what they do.

"And so it's puzzling to me sometimes to hear the standard conservative critique of what we're doing, when essentially every step we're taking involves cleaning up the mess that we found when we arrived here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

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