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Pioneer Editorial: Wall Street reforms are warranted

While it's always best to let the market forces of free enterprise work independently of government, society has carved out a niche of "too big to fail" that can wreck havoc with the economy.

As seen by the trigger points of the current Great Recession, parts of the economy left unregulated can pull down an entire economy.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed important regulatory authority to government to hopefully prevent another Great Recession or worse.

The massive 1,560-page Senate bill now goes to conference committee to be reconciled with its House counterpart. Hopefully concurrence and passage will be quick, and Wall Street reform enacted.

The Senate bill will allow a host of federal agencies --the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Controller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission -- more power to regulate and oversee banks and markets for telltale signs of slipping again.

It will be a fine line, however, that those agencies must seek between preventing disaster and stifling improvements. Regulation must be strong but not rigid, allow market forces to work but not to be taken advantage of.

"Passing Wall Street reform is a big victory that will impact the everyday lives of Minnesotans," said U.S. Sen. Al Franken, DFL-Minn.. "This bill protects Minnesota's consumers, holds Wall Street accountable, and ends taxpayer bailouts, ensuring that Wall Street's excesses don't cripple our economy in the future."

The bill includes his amendment creating a credit rating agency to eliminate the conflict of interest where financial institutions shop around for the best rating.

The Wall Street reform package helps protect the consumer, rather than the Wall Street bottom line, helping to prevent the near collapse of the economy. It also helps put restricts on an industry "too big to fail" to prevent the economy from getting to that precipice.

With so many Americans' life savings tied into 401(k) plans and the like, government regulation is needed to ensure Wall Street greed and fraud don't evaporate those savings.

House and Senate conferees need to move the legislation along and send it to President Obama.