In a Very Important Speech he gave today President Obama made a strong case for more government oversight. That is, more government oversight of you, not the government:
Remember that in those years, thanks to some of the same folks who are running Congress now, we had weak regulation and little oversight, and what did that get us? Insurance companies that jacked up people's premiums with impunity, and denied care to the patients who were sick. Mortgage lenders that tricked families into buying homes they couldn't afford. A financial sector where irresponsibility and lack of basic oversight nearly destroyed our entire economy.
I'll give you one example. For the first time in history, the reform we passed puts in place a consumer watchdog who is charged with protecting everyday Americans from being taken advantage of by mortgage lenders, payday lenders or debt collectors. The man we nominated for the post, Richard Cordray, is a former Attorney General of Ohio who has the support of most Attorneys General, both Democrat and Republican, throughout the country.
But the Republicans in the Senate refuse to let him do his job. Why? Does anyone here think the problem that led to our financial crisis was too much oversight of mortgage lenders or debt collectors? Of course not. Every day we go without a consumer watchdog in place is another day when a student, or a senior citizen, or member of our Armed Forces could be tricked into a loan they can't afford—something that happens all the time. Financial institutions have plenty of lobbyists looking out for their interests. Consumers deserve to have someone whose job it is to look out for them. I intend to make sure they do, and I will veto any effort to delay, defund, or dismantle the new rules we put in place.
We shouldn't be weakening oversight and accountability. We should be strengthening them. Here's another example. Too often, we've seen Wall Street firms violating major anti-fraud laws because the penalties are too weak and there's no price for being a repeat offender. No more. I'll be calling for legislation that makes these penalties count—so that firms don't see punishment for breaking the law as just the price of doing business.
You can read about the Cordray business here (short version: Republicans are assholes for not confirming a nominee to a position with poorly defined, and thus nearly unlimited, powers). But leaving aside Cordray, isn't it great that Obama is talking about oversight? The House Oversight Committee—which has had to fight tooth and nail to get the Obama administration to comply with its investigations of the Transportation Security Administration's screening procedures ("TSA chief skips House hearing on airport scans"), FOIA mismanagement at the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS attorney Reid Cox attempts to 'steal' evidence from a FOIA hearing"), Solyndra ("WH rejects subpoena request for Solyndra docs"), and Elena Kagan's involvement in Obamacare ("DOJ Refuses Request for Kagan-Obamacare Documents")—will be so relieved.