Last night I was watching CNBC and on-air anchor Michelle Caruso Cabrera was trying to make the point (while rudely talking over Ron Insana) that the fortunes of Main Street and Wall Street were one and the same. That just isn't true.
Main Street is the backbone of America, the small businesses and institutions that keep America running. Wall Street has an important role as well, but unlike Main Street, the business interests of Wall Street see America's growth as a side feature - not a central goal. The current crisis we face was a combination of madness in the markets of Wall Street combined with a lack of oversight that reached its high point under the previous administration. The problem is, it is Main Street that is suffering the most. There are no golden parachutes in the small business world in the way that absolute failure on Wall Street results in multi-million dollar sums for guys whose business savvy is less than your average Joe making a living at McDonald's.
It isn't that President Obama doesn't want Wall Street to succeed, but he's clearly not willing to do it at the expense of Main Street, which is the position being advocated by CNBC and yes, the right. Wall follows Main in this presidency, which is the exact opposite of the previous administration's priorities. President Obama, from today's press conference:
What I'm looking at is not the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market, but the long-term ability for the United States and the entire world economy to regain its footing. And, you know, the stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics. It bobs up and down day to day, and if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you're probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong.
Wall Street has the megaphones, and they've been trying - more so as the stock market loses more value - to get Obama to cater to their needs. It doesn't look like it, and I hope he continues his dedication to making things right for the rest of us first and foremost - a process by which the titans of finance will eventually profit.