The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Friday approved the biggest changes in financial regulation since the Great Depression -- a much-needed victory for Obama, whose job approval rating has fallen below 50 percent.
. . . The bill would create an inter-agency council to police systemic risk in the economy, crack down on hedge funds and credit rating agencies, set up a financial consumer watchdog agency, and expose Federal Reserve monetary policy to unprecedented congressional scrutiny, among other reforms.
. . . Obama said the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency that would be established would have the power "to put an end to misleading and dishonest practices of banks and institutions" regarding credit and debit cards or mortgage, auto and payday loans.
. . . "Americans don't choose to be victimized by mysterious fees, changing terms, and pages and pages of fine print. And while innovation should be encouraged, risky schemes that threaten our entire economy should not," he said.
Obama, who is under strong political pressure to create jobs and reduce the country's 10 percent jobless rate, said it appeared the economy was turning the corner.
"These are good signs for the future but little comfort to all of our neighbors who remain out of a job," he said.
Though Democratic leaders hoped to get as many as 10 GOP votes, not a single Republican voted for it. Pundits concluded that this was a political calculation, based on the GOP hope that the jobs situation would still be bad enough in 2010 that voters would oust Democrats out in large numbers.
Still, today is a good day for Main Street. It may not feel so good to Wall Street.