President Obama references his Wall Street speech (September 14) about regulating risk and profits, and establishing new rules to protect consumers. Some of last night’s pundit chatter predicted behavior hasn’t and won’t change on Wall Street knowing that the government is always there to bail them out. Should we call it the “too bad to fail” syndrome? I would say “not so fast.” I’m not sure there are lawmakers willing to risk it all — political and otherwise — for a 3rd round of bail outs for crazy Wall Street behavior. And after being burned once, I’m not sure other countries are as willing to put their chips on this table as they were prior to the collapse. (Hopefully they are learning lessons too.)
Reassurance means real reform to build back the confidence. And I may add some serious oversight of the cash already out the door. Check out this Vanity Fair article about the first TARP funds issued in the final months of the Bush Administration.
PITTSBURGH – FIRED UP AGAIN
In the past two months, Pittsburgh, PA has been the go-to place. In August it was the Netroots Nation conference; this week, the AFL-CIO convention; next week it’s the G-20 Partnership Meeting. And the once powerful steel town has a tag line: “Pittsburgh Welcomes the World.” And why not? Pittsburgh was the home of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (Fred Rogers). Everyone should receive a red cardigan in their gift bag.
For me, Pittsburgh was always a passthrough city to get from DC back to college in Ohio; or a layover to my connecting flight. I’ve never spent any significant time in Pittsburgh, and I was once a huge Steelers fan.
Recently, the African American Cultural Center of Greater Pittsburgh was renamed the August Wilson Center for African American Culture for Pittsburgh native and award winning playing, the late August Wilson (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Gem of the Ocean,” “Fences,” “The Piano”).
Pittsburgh is acutally more than a pass through. It appears to be a crossroad for the industrial era to new business ventures; a snapshot of middle America that’s neither mid western or small town; a community in that part of Pennsylvania which was probably not a destination on the underground railroad but a crossroads between north and south where the ghosts of segregation may still pass through (as the playwright August Wilson brought to light in his work.)
The color of choice in Pittsburgh is green meaning environment and sustainability. It was voted one of the best cities in the world to live in. As the site of the G-20 summit, it will be interesting to see how Pittsburgh will play on the world stage.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, there will be resistance activities during the summit. The world is watching Pittsburgh next week.