Star Tribune

By Jill Burcum

Although she’s guilty of using a tired Lake Wobegon cliche, Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar offered up an interesting take on the banking crisis today in the Washington Post.

In an commentary piece headlined "Banks That Had a Brain,’’ (click HERE to read) Klobuchar makes a much-needed point: many prudent banks didn’t get caught up in the subprime feeding frenzy. Nevertheless, when it comes to public opinion, they are lumped in with the irresponsible banks that did. "Like many, I welcome the administration’s approach to pushing the credit market: from offering incentives for investment and stemming foreclosures to demanding more transparency and accountability in the expenditure of funds,'' she writes. "But the administration must make clear that, while some banks will require extraordinary help, there are plenty of banks that remain solid and will come out stronger in the end.’’

Klobuchar’s point gets at consumer confidence, a key problem plaguing the the nation. Right now, it seems as a nation we are holding our collective breaths waiting for the economic crisis to smooth out. We’re holding back on buying cars, clothes, and travel.  It’s not just about spending within our means, it’s about being afraid to spend. And it's something that is exacerbating our already severe economic crisis.

Shoring up confidence about all the good banks still out there certainly won’t solve that. But it’s a step. Let’s hope that Obama, who has met with the Post’s editorial board and even authored a commentary piece for its respected editorial pages, picked up the paper and read it today.