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McCain, Obama joust over how to fix Wall Street
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Obama pledged to "streamline our regulatory agencies" in a way that "will provide better oversight and reduce costs," but he gave no details. In a fact sheet, the Illinois senator noted only that the new system must be "one that reflects 21st-century markets and that is capable of identifying where risks actually reside."

Obama was more detailed Tuesday than McCain, who was vague.

"We need to regulate institutions for what they do, not what they are," Obama said. "Over the last few years, commercial banks and thrift institutions were subject to guidelines on subprime mortgages that did not apply to mortgage brokers and companies."

McCain offered a pledge: "Honest people on Wall Street , and there are many, will have a friend in the White House when I am president."

Obama also wants more attention paid to credit rating agencies, which said that mortgage-backed bonds, and the banks that issued and purchased them, were safe when they were not.

"We must investigate rating agencies and potential conflicts of interest with the people they are rating," Obama said.

McCain promised "there will be constant access to the books and accounts of our banks and other financial institutions."

Obama repeatedly blamed the Bush administration for creating the financial mess, even though Democratic President Clinton signed the 1999 financial modernization law that tore down long-standing walls between commercial banks, securities firms and insurance companies, and Democrats have controlled Congress since January 2007 .

Obama pointed to the Republican Party's reverence for markets and disdain for government regulation as primarily to blame.

"Let's be clear," he said, "what we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed."

While he said he wouldn't fault McCain, who's been a member of Congress since 1983, for the country's economic woes, "I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. . . . It's the philosophy that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down."

McCain, who has a solid record of voting with Senate Republicans and backing Bush administration economic policies, didn't blame any politicians, pointing his finger instead at Wall Street .

"Too many people on Wall Street have been recklessly wagering instead of making the sound investments we expected of them," he said. "And when their companies collapse, it seems only the CEOs escape the consequences."

McCain did criticize Obama when he broadened his remarks in television interviews to discuss the overall economy.

"First of all, Senator Obama wants to raise taxes," the Arizona senator told CNN. Obama proposes to raise taxes on individuals who make more than $200,000 a year and families who make more than $250,000 , while lowering them for virtually everyone else.

McCain also argued, "certainly I'm going to restrain spending in government, and Senator Obama has plans for increasing government spending dramatically."

(Agencies via China Daily September 17, 2008)

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