Why the President's Next Big Thing Should Be Jobs.

Few presidents get a second honeymoon of their own making. Barack Obama’s victory on health-care reform has breathed new life into his administration, recharged the Democratic base, and given the rest of America a sense of someone who fights for average working people.

The question now is: What does he do with his second honeymoon?

Some say it should be used to enact financial reform. Most Americans despise Wall Street and want to be assured there’s no repeat of the grotesque sequence of river-boat gambling with the economy followed by a taxpayer bailout followed by seven-and eight-figure bonuses. Democratic strategists would love to let Republicans hoist themselves on their own petard by defending Wall Street.

Financial reform surely needs bucking up. The bill passed by the House last year was riddled with loopholes, delays, and cop-outs for the Street. The one that’s emerging from the Senate Banking Committee is only slightly better. It still allows a world of unregulated derivative trading and hands the ball over to the same regulators that punted last time. It doesn’t even include Paul Volcker’s watered-down remake of the Glass-Steagall Act. And the Senate bill is likely to get even worse as Harry Reid and Chris Dodd troll for Republican support. In an election year when Wall Street money is flowing freely to both parties, watch your wallets.

Notwithstanding all this, the biggest Next Big Thing ought to be jobs.

More after the jump.

--Robert Reich

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