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Poll Says Financial Reform Is Crucial

April 19, 2010

SEATTLE - Financial reform now being debated in Congress is hugely important to people in Washington State and around the nation, and vital to bolstering confidence in the economy, according to a poll released by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Gordon McDonald, director of the Pew Financial Project, says nearly half of the nation's population has lost a job or is close to someone who has, and he says people feel frustrated that two years on, the root causes of the economic collapse have not been addressed.

"In particular, this notion that certain financial institutions or certain banks are 'too big to fail' does not sit well with many Americans."

McDonald says to be effective, reform should do four things: Put an early warning system in place, allow for restraining or breaking up banks that get too big, increase transparency and protect consumers from unfair practices.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell contends that the reforms now being debated would institutionalize bank bailouts, but Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman disagrees, saying they would institutionalize bailouts the way fire departments institutionalize house fires.

McDonald says the issue is very important to voters, and if politicians do not pass reform they will pay in November.

"Fifty-nine percent of voters thought Congress and the administration should support financial reform now, over other priorities including health care, immigration reform, the war in Afghanistan and education reform."

People are paying close attention, he says, because the reform is necessary to restore confidence in the financial system as well as the economy.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - WA