September 17th, 2007
01:01 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama tells Wall Street 'reappraisal of values' needed

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

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Maria, Houston

    Obama is not naive. Or inexperienced. This guy has GUTS. He is very smart, he tells it like it is and he is not selling out. It is us, the american public, who has no faith... face to face with a genuine integrity, we become sceptical, distrustful or hostile, too scared to believe. That's what years of usual Washington politics have done to us. But remember,our country was built on ideals greater and more noble than any other at that time or now. Obama specialized in constitutional law and what should be greater inspiration than our constitution? Yes, this will not make some special interest groups happy, but isn't it our turn to make up for it with our votes?

    September 17, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. MarkieBee

    Once again Obama is leading, not following like a certain "frontrunner." Once again he speaks truth to power, shows that he's unafraid to take on the establishment. What he asked Wall Street to do isn't too hard for them to accomplish. I bet you garnered more supporters today than people he turned off. And Kevin who speaks of "inefficiencies" that was funny. And to use the U.S. Post Office as the example? Classic. I guess the post office is one worker's group that corporate America can't outsource. I'd love to see the price of stamps if Uncle Sam followed the corporate M.O. and sent the mail to India first and then to our mailboxes. Obama will close all the tax loopholes these corporate greedmeisters have been feeding from for years and install a fair system that benefits EVERYONE! Can't wait for him to get to work. I'm fired up and ready to go!

    September 17, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. JimmieFromDayton

    This movement will prevail. All the special interests are going to have to answer to the working class americans come Jan 09.

    Obama 08!

    September 17, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. Ron Nebraska

    Just a little something different about Obama isn't there? A politician who actually wants to make this country a better place, regardless of the powers standing in the way of acheiving that. I tell you folks, this is your chance to begin to get an America you can be proud of again. Please don't be afraid to make the best choice. We tried going with the person who made us feel comfortable because he wasn't the smartest person in the room, didn't work out so well did it? Do much better this time or just don't vote at all.

    September 17, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. Pepe- a citizen of the world

    Quand on veut noyer son chien on l'accuse de rage.

    If Obama spoke favorable of wall street, he would have been grilled by haters. But he spoke against principles that work against the average american, and he is still grilled by the same haters. An American witch hunt perhaps?

    And if you spray a little Obama in the air, the pests come out the woodwork crawling, spewing all sort of venom.

    Obama 08!!!

    September 17, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  6. Patrice, Fulton, IL

    I was pleased to see this speech delivered today. I too fear that the 10% bottom line prevails come hell or high water.

    However, in reading his remarks I saw something different that those who say he doesn't know what he's talking about.

    What I interpreted in his remarks was that he was asking them to be part of the solution, intimating that they need to police themselves and put their creativity to making it a great economy for everyone not just the few.

    So, I will be interested to see what they do with it.

    Sort of applying the same positioning that he does to grassroot politics, the people have the answers and he wants to hear them.

    I agree with the poster that said that Senator Obama is brilliant and could have been making six figures in any law firm a decade ago. He chose constituional law and community organizing.

    Some people just come into this world "special" and Senator Obama is one of them.

    September 17, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  7. xtina - chgo IL

    I disagree with Barack Obama when he tries to tell a specific group that their values aren't OK. It's a free country and the "struggling" people Obama refers to should try to figure out why successful people have become that way, NOT look to the government to even out the wealth , or worse, re-distribute the wealth. If Wall St. participants are doing anything illegal, they should be convicted, but if not, we are ALL free to pursue the same success as those in the financial world.

    September 18, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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