Better yet, Obama can appoint Dudley to a special commission charged with rooting out Wall Street abuses, pressuring regulators to implement current law, and make recommendations for additional legislation.
The president should immediately direct his Treasury Department to spend the rest of the money allocated for helping distressed homeowners, revamping the often-shameful legacy of his Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
He can also heed Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and stop appointing members of the "Citigroup clique" to his administration. (This bank, created with the assistance of the Clinton Treasury Department, has been a primary source of revolving-door appointments under both the Clinton and Obama administrations.)
Danielle Douglas outlines other steps the President can take in the Washington Post, including modifications to banker pay and incentives and additional limits to bank risk-taking.
Longer-term, the President can look to Europe (and Switzerland in particular) for solutions to the perverse pay incentives which lead bank executives astray.
Then there's the mega-bank problem. As Jennifer Taub notes, the preamble to the Dodd-Frank bill specifically mentions the profound economic threat of "too big to fail" banks. Much more needs to be done to address this critical problem, including a reinstatement of Glass-Steagall and a wind-down of banks that pose systemic threats.
Why has the president raised this subject now? That's a matter for speculation. One hopes he's preparing to take action, or at a minimum to offer some specific proposals. If not, he's presumably concerned about his legacy should things go wrong somewhere down the road.
That's a very legitimate concern. With bank risk-taking once again on the rise, a hyperinflated stock market, and a renewed tendency toward fraudulent (or at best, fraud-like) banker behavior, there's no reason to be sanguine. Even if we don't experience another crisis -- and we could -- the ongoing financialization of the economy will continue to strangle healthier forms of economic growth, at least until something is done about it.
Let's hope the president is doing more than simply stating his awareness of these problems for posterity. If he genuinely wants to shine a light on some much-needed solutions, he should employ the old movie-business maxim: Show, don't tell.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).