Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Robert Reich: Romney Has Public And Private Morality Upside Down

JP Morgan Chase’s $2 billion dollar loss reminds us that, several years after the financial community risked the entire economy, the need for bank regulations is stronger than ever. That, however, is not the conclusion reached by Mitt Romney, who defended JP Morgan Chase and sees no need for more regulations. Yesterday, we looked at a video in which Robert Reich (left) spoke about conservatives’ focus on private morality and disregard for public morality. Reich contends that Romney, with his zeal to regulate personal choices and his laissez-faire policy toward banks, epitomizes the right wing’s misplaced ethics:

Mitt Romney’s reaction to J.P. Morgan Chase’s mounting losses from reckless trades is “the market will take care of it.” His spokesman says “no taxpayer money was at risk” so we don’t need more financial regulation. Romney has even promised to repeal Dodd-Frank if he’s elected president.

Yet at the same time, Romney has come out strongly against same-sex marriage. He’s also against abortion. He has no problem with government intruding on the most intimate of decisions a person makes.

He’s got private and public morality upside down. He doesn’t want to regulate where regulation is necessary — at the highest reaches of the economy, where public immorality has cost us dearly, and will cost even more unless boardroom behavior is constrained. Yet he wants to regulate where regulation is least appropriate — at the level of the individual, in bedrooms and other intimate spaces, where private morality should govern.

This is a dangerous confusion. It should be a matter of personal choice whom to marry and when to have children. But it is undoubtedly a matter of public choice whether big banks should be allowed to take the kind of risky bets that plunged the economy into the worst downturn since the Great Depression, and whether people with great wealth should be able to buy our democracy with huge campaign contributions.

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