The Meltdown

Obama's Wall Street Clampdown

Party's over, Wall Street! With taxpayers $700 billion lighter thanks to the financial industry's ineptitude, President Obama is planning a rapid overhaul of regulations to prevent them from spinning out of control in the future. Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner is expected to pursue new rules, including an overhaul of credit rating agencies, which officials say face a conflict of interest by rating the companies that pay them. Without such a move, "people are not going to have confidence that the ratings are worth relying on, worth the paper they're printed on," the new SEC head, Mary Schapiro said. Other plans include new federal standards on mortgage brokers as well as creating a "central clearinghouse" to better oversee derivatives like credit default swaps, a kind of pseudo-insurance that played a major role in turning the subprime mortgage crisis into an all-out economic meltdown.