President Obama delivered a much anticipated address to the financial industry today, and his argument to the financial bigwigs is simple: You should be helping us reform this industry rather than fight it.
“Until this progress is felt not just on Wall Street but Main Street we cannot be satisfied,” the president said (and thank you for the shout-out, sir). “Until the millions of our neighbors who are looking for work can find jobs, and wages are growing at a meaningful pace, we may be able to claim a recovery - but we will not have recovered.”
But this sentiment hasn’t exactly been embraced by the financial community.
An opinion piece on our sister site TheStreet.com argues that the president was playing up the Wall Street/Main Street divide to earn political points while ignoring the recent benefits Wall Street was providing for its much poorer cousin Main Street.
“What about the value to MainStreet from all the money flowing into 401Ks and IRAs courtesy of a bank-led bull run in the markets? I'm sure Obama understands the nuances, but they aren't politically expedient. It's far more effective in Washington to have clear villains.”
Well, here's my opinion.
Sorry to burst your bubble, Wall Street, but the stock market recovery doesn’t exactly have Main Street America jumping for joy. Hooray! The Dow is topping 11,000! The banking sector is reporting huge gains! I’m sure the Americans who have 401(k)s are pleased that their portfolios are starting to make a comeback, and if you happen to own stock in Citibank, you’re probably psyched too, especially if you bought it at $2.75.