Obama: We Must Learn From Wall Street’s ‘Irresponsibility,’ Blasts GOP-Lobbyists Kill Reform ‘Pep Rally’

December 12, 2009

(ChattahBox)—President Obama came out swinging in his weekly address on Saturday, blasting the Republicans for joining with financial lobbyists in a kill reform “pep rally” and asking Congress and the American public to remember the greed and “irresponsibility” of Wall Street that caused our economic meltdown. His strong remarks came the day after the House passed a sweeping reform bill, which works to curb the risky practices of Banks and Wall Street firms and provides new protections for consumers, with the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. He stressed the importance of the reforms to prevent another economic collapse and urged both houses of Congress to pass a “real reform bill” as quickly as possible to “…safeguard everything the American people are working so hard to build.”

Obama’s weekly Saturday address entitled, “Learning from History to Reform Wall Street,” sought to stress the importance of financial regulatory reform, by refreshing our memories about the role Wall Street played in our country’s largest economic downturn, since the Great Depression.

The President also touched on his new propsals to create jobs, using leftover TARP funds, which has received criticism from Republicans, who want to see the money used to bring down the deficit:

“Over the past two years, more than seven million Americans have lost their jobs, and factories and businesses across our country have been shuttered. In one way or another, we’ve all been touched by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.” […]

“That’s why I announced some additional steps this week to spur private sector hiring. We’ll give an added boost to small businesses across our nation through additional tax cuts and access to lending they desperately need to grow.”

Obama called the “irresponsibility” of Wall Street “risk management without the management,” as he pushed for regulatory reform to ensure it never puts America at risk again:

“But much of it was due to the irresponsibility of large financial institutions on Wall Street that gambled on risky loans and complex financial products, seeking short-term profits and big bonuses with little regard for long-term consequences. It was, as some have put it, risk management without the management.” […]

“We can’t change that history. But we have an absolute responsibility to learn from it, and take steps to prevent a repeat of the crisis from which we are still recovering. That’s why I’ve proposed a series of financial reforms that would target the abuses we have seen and leave us less exposed to the kind of breakdown we just experienced.”

Obama opined that in light of the the lack of regulations to control the risky practices of Wall Street, common sense would tell us that the US needs to quickly enact new reforms. But Obama noted, in a dig towards Republican obstructionism, that “common sense doesn’t always prevail in Washington.”

On Tuesday, Republican leaders led by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) met with a group of more than 100 lobbyists at the Capitol Visitors Center, to join together to kill reforms of Wall Street.

“Just last week, Republican leaders in the House summoned more than 100 key lobbyists for the financial industry to a “pep rally,” and urged them to redouble their efforts to block meaningful financial reform. Not that they needed the encouragement. These industry lobbyists have already spent more than $300 million on lobbying the debate this year,” said Obama in a strong attack against GOP efforts to torpedo reform.

“We can’t afford to let the same phony arguments and bad habits of Washington kill financial reform and leave American consumers and our economy vulnerable to another meltdown,” said Obama.

The House financial reform bill now has to clear the Senate. The Senate Banking Committee is working on its own reform bill, which if passed, would then be merged with the House bill in committee.

Obama’s entire weekly address can be found here.


One Response to “Obama: We Must Learn From Wall Street’s ‘Irresponsibility,’ Blasts GOP-Lobbyists Kill Reform ‘Pep Rally’”

  1. A.V.Sundararajan on December 13th, 2009 7:45 am

    I strongly opine that none has the grasp of the real cause of the Economic Meltdown. The root cause analysis seems to be so wrong. Wall street behaviour was not the cause. It was only a logical step in the life of a society trying to run the American business model. When the country and its people realise the three faces of a country viz., Society, politics and economy are different and far removed from each other, there is some hope of a recovery. It will still not be without pain.

    Everyone must also understand that hailines divide the three faces and are very weak.

    It may take many many years for the country to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It also needs a strong will from all the sections of the society, which I am unable to see.

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