- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

He’s going to change the “casino” atmosphere on Wall Street.

One has to be mystified how venerable investment-banking firms, including Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co., self-destructed. Merrill Lynch weathered the Great Depression and Lehman the banking panics of 1873, 1893 and 1907 as well.

Mr. McCain hit on the answer. Though there always have been exceptions, the venerable Wall Street investment-banking firms traditionally engaged in the staid, prosaic but all-important business of providing capital to creditworthy businesses. In recent years, that has changed. Wall Street has become Las Vegas East, with the Securities and Exchange Commission functioning as a medical examiner conducting autopsies of failed businesses.

That has to change, as Mr. McCain implied, for one simple reason. Fortunes may be lost in Las Vegas, but they are personal and in the millions. On Wall Street, losses are in the billions and affect everyone in the United States and also in the global economy. Government has to return Wall Street investment-banking firms to their traditional business, whereby they helped our economy become the largest in the world. Mr. McCain would do just that. What Mr. Obama would do if elected president is anybody’s guess.

SEYMOUR KLEIMAN

Baltimore

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