/ 22 April 2010

Political Mann: Arguments about money

Some of the richest and most powerful people in the United States are arguing about money and the world has trillions of dollars invested in the outcome.

The battle is about how Washington should prevent another credit crisis like the one that began two years ago and punished much of the planet.

“I believe we have to do everything we can to ensure that no crisis like this ever happens again,” President Barack Obama said this week.

“That’s why I’m fighting so hard to pass a set of Wall Street reforms and consumer protections.”

The reforms will impose new regulations and oversight on US banks and other financial institutions, which do business with investors and governments worldwide.

It’s an industry that still has stunning profits and problems.

This week, US regulators charged Goldman Sachs, one of the most aggressive and profitable names in high finance, with a massive fraud that allegedly cheated Goldman’s own customers — among them, some of the biggest banks in Europe.

Goldman said it was innocent of any wrongdoing and found an entirely different way to raise eyebrows.

It announced that its profits for the first three months of the year totalled more than $3,4-billion, despite the sluggish state of the US economy.

The House of Representatives has already passed a Bill to change the way Wall Street does business and this week the Senate began its own debate.

Democrats are vowing to adopt the reform and Republicans are adamant they’ll oppose it.

Lobbyists and executives have crowded into to Washington, hoping for a chance to influence lawmakers.

The political parties, along with private organisations such as the US Chamber of Commerce, have spent more than a million dollars a week on television ads arguing their points of view to the American people.

The Obama administration faced much stronger opposition to its healthcare reform and managed to get it adopted anyway.

Now, another multi-trillion-dollar industry is in the midst of a big fight over how it makes its money.

And what it may be doing with yours.

Jonathan Mann presents Political Mann on CNN International each Friday at 18:30 (CAT), Saturday at 3pm and 9pm (CAT), and Sunday at 10am (CAT).