June 20th, 2009
03:24 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama takes on criticism of proposed new agency

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama fought back against criticism of his plan for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency Saturday, telling Americans that the new department would prevent them from being confused or deceived by lenders.

The proposed agency - one element of the massive overhaul of financial sector regulations the administration unveiled last week - has come under fire from industry and other critics who say it will introduce unnecessary government intervention into everyday business practices.

"[T]hese are interests that have benefited from a system which allowed ordinary Americans to be exploited," he said. "These interests argue against reform even as millions of people are facing the consequences of this crisis in their own lives. These interests defend business-as-usual even though we know that it was business-as-usual that allowed this crisis to take place."

Obama argued Saturday in his weekly Web and radio address that his proposal would provide a vital layer of consumer protection.

"It is true that this [financial] crisis was caused in part by Americans who took on too much debt and took out loans they simply could not afford," he said. "But there are also millions of Americans who signed contracts they did not always understand offered by lenders who did not always tell the truth."

The president said the agency would also have the power to mandate easy-to-understand paperwork, and eliminate "ridiculous contracts – pages of fine print that no one can figure out."

The administration’s proposal is currently being considered by Congress.

In the weekly Republican radio address, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell argued against the president’s health care package, saying it was being pushed through Congress far too quickly. “Once again in the health care debate, it’s rush and spend, rush and spend. Americans want health care reform, but they want the right health care reform. And that means taking the time and the care necessary to get it right.

“Against Republican advice, they rushed the stimulus. We shouldn’t rush again on something as important, and costly, as health care.”

The president has said he would like to see a comprehensive health care reform package passed by Congress before the August recess.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Bud in NC

    Bet your butt the profiteers don't want anyone protecting the consumer from their avarice. They want to have freedom do do anything they desire. They are a bunch of crimenals. Bandits and rapists dont like to be stopped.
    McConnell. What a horses patootie. Health care is 40 years averdue. Don't rush? That is the same argument that the segregationists used for years to stop equal rights. All of congress people have "government" healthcare. But they think it is immoral and unAmerican for the rest of us to have it?
    I am sorry, but I will have to leave now to go outside to walk and cool off. And it is 95 Deg outside.

    June 20, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Henry Miller

    I seldom endorse new powers assumed by the US government, but I'll make an exception in this case–I distrust Big Business only slightly less than I distrust Big Government. It seems reasonable to me to use the latter as a check upon the former rather than, as in recent years, when Big Government seemed far more on the side of Big Business in tolerance of irresponsible and/or malicious behaviour.

    June 20, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Johnny DC

    It's called Darwinism. Not that the government shouldn't provide "some" relief and support for those too stupid to help themselves, but at what cost?

    This administration wants nothing less than to cripple the rest of us, in order to ensure that the weakest and laziest link of society doesn't get left behind.

    This is outrageous.

    June 20, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. YES YES YES

    I agree with President Obama on this. The Republicans can call it what they want but someone has to protect the rest of us from THEM (the big corporations that find little loopholes to screw over the little guy. You know- the small print which is so looooong that you don't have time to read and not easily undestood unless you have a law degree).

    The Big Corps will stop at nothing to make sure they squeeze every last dime out of the very bottom of your pocket. They took our jobs and sent them overseas for pennies on the dollar. Then God forbid you be late on a credit card because you have to have your meds or even food the PENALTY is astranomical.

    June 20, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Ross

    Thank you Mr. Obama, cuz we Americans are just to stoopid to understand that krazy fynanchul world.

    June 20, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Mickey, New York

    Level the playing field? Why, we can't have that, now can we? What are the crooks in the Republican Party going to do then?

    The only critics seem to be the one's that have the most to lose.

    Pathetic...this is why the Conservative movement in this country is DEAD...and it's taking the Republican Party down with it.

    June 20, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. cedgar

    The Congress needs to take time and get it right! I personally think
    1 trillion or more is to high. We can not afford it. The system in place
    now is better than getting it wrong, because we have put a self
    imposed time line! The bill needs to be researched all information
    released backed by stats from all. After all this will effect all of us, not
    just the ones currently with no insurance. I would like to be able to
    vote my self not some Washington Congress or Senator. Because
    I know I have not been given money and/or favors to vote.
    I guess you could say I do not trust Washington at all.
    Could some tell how you get elected with little money, but in a few
    years you have millions?

    June 20, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. mtm

    Obama the "all knowing" does not know what is good for me. There are many hard working Americans who followed the rules and were smart enough to read the fine print before they signed a document.

    June 20, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. barackobama4prez

    It's interesting how the President's address is open for comment but Mitch McConnell's, a Senator who almost lost his Senate seat in 2008, is set to "perma-a-link" so we can not criticize.

    June 20, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Post always rejected by CNN

    Finally something to protect the average customer, and guess what industry doesn't want it. Heck Fire....now who would have thought it. They have gotten away with fleeceing the poor middle class customers for the last eight years, they think they are entitled to cheat them forever.

    This is one of the best things Obama has done.

    June 20, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Damajah

    Doesn't it make sense to bring in your own team to take a look at things, rather than use the corrupt insiders who are only feathering their own nests? The American people need to look at this healthcare reform for what it really is. The Republicans are protecting Big Pharma, the HMO's, PPO's, medical equipment suppliers, the AMA, and the insurance companies. No plan that takes any money from any of these groups will be acceptable to the Republicans, or the Obama-haters. I still believe that a single-payer system that covers everone, and requires everyone to contribute to some type of healthcare plan, is the only solution. Healthcare is not the problem, the tremendous administrative costs of healthcare insurance is the problem.

    June 20, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. Al, CA

    Obama has very difficult task to stand against powerful crooks.

    We will know that our country is fixed only when accountant/banker (supposed to be called "best and brightest" or "financial engineer") will have compensation not more than an average engineer from an average technology company.

    June 20, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. Joanna in PA

    We are being exploited. Cooperate America owns us. They make all the rule, now its time for new rule that protect us from there greed. The banks raise our rates at there leisure, we have NO recourse. Who do you turn to? We can not win against them. We deal with insurance companies that refuse to pay our claims but are very happy to take our monthly payment. I am afraid Obama is not doing enough. I want a nationalize health care system. We are ranked 38th in the world and we pay the most. Why are some(GOP) so against fixing things finally? Banks need rules and boundaries too.

    We need the right balance of government and capitalism. Its not like it was in the fifties, companies are greedy and unethical. They ONLY care about profit margins, not us.

    June 20, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. Surly Scholar

    But... protecting consumers from the predatory fleecing of massive, inscrutable corporate entities is SOCIALISM!

    Really, repubs? You want to be the party AGAINST consumer protection?

    June 20, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. kathy

    he's trying to move us forward! enough of the fear of change, stop fearing breaking new grounds. The way things have been done in this country DOES NOT WORK. we voted for change! this is it.

    June 20, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. teacheng

    I love these 'critics' who are just business sharks, lobbyists, and the politicians in their pockets. We all know this needs to be done and that Wall Street and their buddies tanked the country. Right and left, we can all agree on this point. How does oversight hurt these guys? Well, they can no longer lie. And apparently lying is the crux of good business for these fellows.

    This is one thing that Obama is doing that almost all of us (except those mentioned above) can agree on.

    June 20, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. Carole

    Someone has to clean up the BUSH and Rethug mess of the last eight years!!!!!!!!!!

    June 20, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. Howard

    Basically, Obama is saying "you are all too STUPID to run your own lives so let the government do it for you." I suppose it only makes sense, the government is now running the car companies and the banks, why not our personnal lives as well.

    June 20, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. Loup Garou 782

    If there is anyone exploiting Americans.......

    IT'S OBAMA

    I want to vomit every time I see or hear him.

    June 20, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. annie against biased news

    With all the czsars, committees, new agencies, tripled increase in staff, I think obama has outsourced his job!! He can resign now and we can apply his salary to the national debt he has quadrupled!

    June 20, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. David P. Kronmiller

    It's about time – who hasn't had their interest rate unfairly hiked or been feed by fees that were never disclosed. One of his proposals is a simple one – readable fine print – making the disclaimers on the back of your bills a bigger font and more clearly stated. That's not government intervention – that's government oversight.

    And folks the government is supposed to work FOR you. Remember 'of, by and for the people" – it's not something to run away from it's something to utilize to make your lives easier and more secure.

    June 20, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. RobK

    What about the FTC? State Consumer Protection Departments? Better Business Bureau? Internet Blogs? There are plenty of ways to protect consumers from unscrupulous businesses? We don't need any more bureaucracy.

    June 20, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. Larry

    Again, bravo for our President.

    It was Bill and Hillary Clinton that got us into this financial crisis by easing up the banking regulations.

    President Obama is interested in the welfare of everyone in this country.

    The Clintons are sleaze balls interested only in their own concerns.

    June 20, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. David P. Kronmiller

    I'm noticing that several conservative posters here have almost the identitcal posts – saying Obama is calling folks "stupid" or "too dumb" to handle their finances, etc. which is not what Obama's saying actually – but looks like the GOP has it's posters here today with their talking points. Wonder if it's the same person again and again or some group of interns in a GOP office...

    June 20, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. annie against biased news

    For all of you "mo' government mo'". Did you forget that what made the USA great and the envy of other countries was the government NOT telling us what to do or how to do it! Sure consumers make mistakes but it is OUR mistakes to make not the government stripping us of every right we have ever had! Besides that the government can't even run it own house without corruption & porkulus so why in the world do they think they can run our lives. They don't want to run our lives they want to ruin our lives!!

    June 20, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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