Obama had some frank words for Wall Street Monday.
NEW YORK (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, had a message for Wall Street on Monday while speaking from the NASDAQ Marketsite in Times Square:
Taking a page out of a Franklin Delano Roosevelt speech, he called for a "reappraisal of values," saying that several people on Wall Street have been too focused on their own gains at the expense of struggling Americans.
While addressing members of New York's Executive Council, Obama pointed the finger at Wall Street for being wasteful and for using what he called unethical anti-market practices.
He cited examples of CEOs getting robust severance packages while company employees lose their jobs and pensions, and he spoke of corporate boards that set the price of company stock options, ensuring their own personal gains regardless of how well the company does.
The senator from Illinois also had a comment on the Bush administration saying, "It's bad for competition when you have an administration that's willing to approve merger after merger with barely any scrutiny. Such an approach stifles innovation, it robs consumers of choice, it means higher prices and we have to guard against it."
Obama asked Wall Street to join him in "ushering in a new era of mutual responsibility in American."
He called for more transparency and openness in U.S. markets and put forth a set of proposals he believes would restore confidence in the marketplace:
- New mortgage rules with strict penalties for lenders who enter into mortgages that they know a homeowner cannot afford.
- An investigation of the relationships between and business practices of rating agencies and their clients.
- A five-star credit card rating system that would inform consumers about the level of risk involved with opening an account, and clearer understanding of how easily the company can change the interest rate on the consumer.
– CNN's Brian Vitagliano