December 13th, 2009
11:06 AM ET
7 months ago

Obama adviser slams Wall Street

Larry Summers took issue Sunday with complaints from Wall Street about Democratic plans for more financial regulation.
Larry Summers took issue Sunday with complaints from Wall Street about Democratic plans for more financial regulation.

Washington (CNN) – A top economic adviser to President Obama said Sunday that Wall Street should not be resisting Democratic efforts to impose new financial regulations in the wake of last year’s financial crisis.

“It was irresponsible risk-taking that brought the economy to the brink of collapse,” Lawrence Summers, the Director of Obama’s National Economic Council, said about Wall Street Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “It was their irresponsiblilty in many cases that brought the economy to collapse. And, frankly ... it wasn’t the first time.

Watch: Summers slams Wall Street

“And they don’t get, in some cases, that they wouldn’t be where they are today - and they certainly wouldn’t be paying the bonuses they’re paying today - if their government hadn’t taken extraordinary actions. Extraordinary actions, not frankly with the motivation of helping them, but with the motivation of helping the economy but of which they were nonetheless the beneficiary.”

Summers also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that it was “wrong” for Wall Street to be “complaining about serious regulation directed at making sure this never happens again.”

“For firms that have benefited from taxpayer support to be complaining about the government burdening them is, frankly, a bit rich,” Summers also said Sunday.

After receiving so much help from the public in the form of support from the federal government in the past year, Summers said “now the financial community’s got to think about its obligations to the country.”

Summers identified preventing another near-collapse of the entire financial system, improving the flow of credit, preventing foreclosures, and improving lending to small businesses as areas the president might discuss with the heads of some of the nation’s largest banks in a meeting set for Monday.

“The president is going to focus on what the bankers can do for their country, what obligations they should feel,” Summers told King.

soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. jj123

    Nate December 13th, 2009 11:43 am ET

    Wall Street was "well protected" by President Bush and his Republican thugs.......Republicans love lobbyists!!
    _________________________________________________
    and democrats dont???? please

    December 13, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. unemployed by Obama

    Wall Street and every American out there should stand up to the overspending Obama and Democrates alike. If you like taxes. like welfare and like your life being run by the government then you probably voted for Obanana and his administtration but if you want lower taxes, little government control of your life and want a job and not welfare then stand up to Obanana and his administration. Impeach the over spending Obanana and vote out the rest of the democratic traitors.

    December 13, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Doug

    One more Clinton big shot speaking for the voiceless President Obama. Wow, guess what, This Political Team gave Wall Street new money to give raises et al. This one was got fired for playing the President of Harvard, seems that he was sextist. President Obama just does not get it.

    December 13, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Former Republican now proud Dem! Obama 2 Termer!

    Republicans took away the power for congress to regulate wall street, Republicans destroyed America! You can point figers all you want the truth hurts, dont it?

    December 13, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Jane

    Less gov control.period

    December 13, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. gary davis Harbor Oregon proud american

    maybe everyone of them should do alittle jail time ..like Martha Steward did .. shake up the comfort zone . and if the rest of the republicans won't get on board with helping then the news media should stop asking the party of NO ! anymore questions . lets see how long it takes for them to get onboard . :)

    December 13, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Greed leads to bancrupcy-they still did not learn the lesson.

    Banks got bailed out,and now want to keep it for themselves

    for more bonuses When will this all end? This is also going on

    in healthcare squeeze the bottom so the top will get more money.

    The CEO of one of the Boston hospitals will not even disclose

    how much he makes.But,everyone took cuts in this hospital with

    no raises.So much for open policy!

    December 13, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. STEVEN

    John King and most ofCNN`s reporters have tilted rightward in your reporting.You have turned me off for not being fair.

    December 13, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. joe smith

    if Cnn will print this; I promise, this will be the LAST time I mention it; does anyone know, or can they report what happened to the FREDDIE MAC REPORT that was supposed to be on the Presidents desk, and Mr. Geithners' desk May,2009. .and summarily given to the American people..beginning to think the fellow with the rope, chair, had been friends with the dc madam..

    December 13, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Jenn, Philadelphia

    Publicly calling all bankers greedy and evil and then acting surprised when they won't jump in line and help create jobs and reform health care, that's what continues to show how naive this Administration is. This economic meltdown started because of the subprime loan mess and that can be laid solely at the feet of the democrats in the House.

    December 13, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. indy

    I hope the President explained this to his Treasury Secretary as it seems most of his friends are still on Wall Street and have direct access to him. Do you really think he wants to turn his back on all his friends? Or will his friends find a loophole around the regulations? Geithner is still an insider with Wall Street as far as I'm concerned. I've thought all along he was a bad choice given that he was in New York when everything started to crumble.

    December 13, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. lovable liberal

    Words. Let's see some action.

    December 13, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Beverly in NC

    The banks and Wall St investment firms need strict regulations placed back on them. They once were running under common sense regulations to reduce risk, ensure solvency and protect consumers.

    Bush and his Republican cronies did away with all banking regulations so their greedy rich white buddies could steal America blind and drive us off an economic cliff. None of them suffered because they stole huge amounts of profit at our nation's expense.

    Now they are whining because they are being made to play by the rules again. They should shut up and be grateful the government bailed them out or they would be out on the street like the rest of us looking for a job and having no health insurance.

    As expected, Republicans are totally against regulating the banks because they are being paid for their votes by the financial industry just like they are being paid for their NO votes and lies on healthcare reform by the insurance monopoly. Republican care NOTHING about the American People. it's all about them and their rich white buddies.

    Republicans may be able to take bribes for their NO votes on every piece of legislation to restore American BUT we the People have the ultimate power with OUR VOTE to get rid of these anti-American traitors who have betrayed the People who put them in office. Come 2010 and 2012 they will lose even more Congressional seats for their obstructionism, hate speech, fear-mongering, and do-nothing policies this year. The GOP and their lunatic fringe is NOT mainstream America.

    December 13, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Debby

    Why would anyone slam Wall Street, if they are booming that means people are investing, which means growth in economy. Boy talk about stupidity with Summers remarks.

    December 13, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Razorback

    There's an old saying "if you're gonna take daddy's money, you've gotta play by daddy's rules". I was opposed to a government bailout, and I believe that no bonuses should be paid until the government is repaid in full. Don't like the rules? Don't take the money!

    December 13, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. TOTUS

    Blame Bush, blame banks, blame Wall Street.

    Do NOT blame Dodd; do NOT blame Frank and their hyper-destructive housing loan give-aways which created this mess; do not blame ACORN; do NOT blame Obama and the out-of-control spending-spree Dems; do NOT blame phony baloney bailouts and give-aways to corrupt friends and favored political districts.

    This is the least accountable, least responsible administration since Carter, and O'man is giving Jimmy a run for his money as "Worst President in Modern History".

    December 13, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. S Callahan Third week of Advent...light you candle for JOY

    Once upon a time, this country survived, even thrived, without Wall Street....there is only one thing in this world that will remain...and that is Truth (God's word)....

    December 13, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Monster Zero

    More Government bureaucrats and more regulatory rules and laws with no active enforcement until they need funding that is. At an annual average salary (tax payer cost) of $71,000 per year compared to the private sector of $41,000/yr. You know some more regulatory authorities like the SEC and the IRS, they were so on top of Bernie Madoff, just what we need!

    December 13, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. jared

    For some people to blame the "lending" mess on the Obama administration is ridiculous. In case you forgot, the Bush administration was the one who started the "bail-out" just before they ended their time in office. So to sit there and say that it's Obama's fault is ridiculous.

    I say imposing restrictions on Wall-Street is great! They need it. You can't screw u, accept help, and refuse to change your ways. If a single person were to do that to any of us, we'd withdraw any further help and call them selfish. That is exactly what Wall-Street is. selfish, and undeserving of help.

    December 13, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. Vijay

    Larry Summers, you said it man. I wholeheartedly agree

    December 13, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. mark

    instead of blaming Wall Street, I think that those underwater citizens should look in a mirror and ask themselves why they applied for a loan that they could not afford. secondly Wall Street has been paying back the loans made by the gvt with absurd returns, this populist whining needs to stop.

    December 13, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that "Wall Street" is looking for new a different things to make money. The problem is that the don't even understand what they are using. They have hired mathematicians to make things up with no clue as to what is going on. That is something that is causing part of the problem - new ways they want for greed. They should only offer products they understand.

    December 13, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. Marry

    Meaningful (worldwide) regulations are absolutely necessary. No rules = anarchy. We just had that! It is time that ordinary people get protected from the greed and reckless irresponsibility of the finance world. It is not their money to lose – it is the whole economy that cannot stomach the way global money has evolved. Result = homeless, jobless, no health care, ruined environment….the list goes on and on!

    December 13, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. Larry baby........

    There are rich and there are poor......and you'll never change that......
    the rich have socked away millions and millions and so are unaffected by you and any plans you may have......you lose Larry.

    December 13, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. S M R

    You know what is sad, The American Taxpayers gets relief from Democrats on Policy and the crooked Republican's will turn around and change them to benefit the rich.

    December 13, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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