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Simon Johnson and James Kwak at the Washington Post (emphasis added) :

“In late February 1902, J.P. Morgan, the leading financier of his day, went to the White House to meet with President Theodore Roosevelt and Attorney General Philander Knox. The government had just announced an antitrust suit — the first of its kind — against Morgan’s recently formed railroad monopoly, Northern Securities, and this was a tense moment for the stock market. Morgan argued strongly that his industrial trusts were essential to American prosperity and competitiveness.

The banker wanted a deal. “If we have done anything wrong, send your man to my man and they can fix it up,” he offered. But the president was blunt: “That can’t be done.” And Knox succinctly summarized Roosevelt’s philosophy. “We don’t want to fix it up,” he told Morgan, “we want to stop it.”

[…]

Roosevelt did not launch the antitrust movement by gently tugging on some low-hanging fruit. He took on J.P. Morgan, the central figure in the burgeoning American financial system, and he won…And after many twists and turns, the new consensus regarding acceptable business practices led to the breakup of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil — arguably the most powerful company in U.S. history to that date.

[…]

Will the [Obama] administration stand up and fight now, before we have another crisis? Surely this is what Theodore Roosevelt would have done. He liked to act preemptively; when he saw excessive power, he took it on, creating his own moments of political opportunity.”

President Obama–this is your moment, now is the time. We need another TR.

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