Obama's Financial Reform: All Talk, No Action

It's just so predictable: use the anniversary of Lehman's bankruptcy to talk about regulatory reform. President Obama's Financial Rescue and Reform speech today at Federal Hall (a beautiful building downtown, that's worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood) was laden with some harsh words: "there are some in the financial industry who are misreading this moment. Instead of learning the lessons of Lehman and the crisis from which we are still recovering, they are choosing to ignore them."

As my mother likes to say, talk is cheap. There are three distinct trends that belie the President's "tough" stance on financial reform:

1. President Obama has made health care the number one priority, eclipsing financial reform

2. The economic and stock market recovery makes people lazy. This is especially true for lawmakers, who all of the sudden remembered how much money financial firms pour into their coffers.

3. Inter-regulatory turf battles are downright ugly, although who among us does not want to see Sheila Bair take down Tim Geithner?

Despite the numerous financial reform proposals that are floating around Washington, very little progress has been made on any substantive measures. It was well and good that the President talked the talk, but we're waiting for him to walk the walk and put regulatory reform near the top of his priorities. Until then, the world will keep wondering if financial reform is DOA.

Obama Criticizes Wall Street "Complacency"
Text of Obama's Remarks

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This post originally appeared The Financial Decoder blog on CBS MoneyWatch.com. Jill Schlesinger is the Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch.com. Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch, she was the Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.
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    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Emmy-nominated, Business Analyst for CBS News. She covers the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign on TV, radio (including her nationally syndicated radio show), the web and her blog, "Jill on Money." Prior to her second career at CBS, Jill spent 14 years as the co-owner and Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. She began her career as a self-employed options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York, following her graduation from Brown University.