NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said Thursday that more needs to be done to regulate the financial system before the lessons of the recent crisis are forgotten.
"We must not shrink away from change but accept the need for basic financial reform," said Volcker, currently chairman of President Obama's Economic Advisory Board, in remarks to the Economic Club of New York.
He said the economy appears to be growing slowly, and that the financial crisis is beginning to seem to some like a "bad dream."
But the magnitude of the crisis showed that the underlying problems are "more fundamental" and require "broad reform" of the financial system, he warned.
(CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he's among a handful of Republican candidates who are thinking about running for president in 2012.
"I think I'm probably on a list of seven or eight possible candidates at this stage," Gingrich reportedly told reporters in North Carolina Wednesday before speaking to a gathering of conservatives. Joe DeSantis, Gingrich's communications director, confirmed the accuracy of the quotes to CNN.
"We have a lot of people around the country who would like to have somebody who represents a commitment to replace the current failed programs and to develop a set of solutions that are practical and workable," Gingrich also said.
Among the other Republican candidates Gingrich named as possible 2012 contenders included former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Also included on Gingrich's list are Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Rick Perry of Texas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. South Dakota Sen. John Thune may also be a potential candidate, Gingrich said.
Gingrich said he would make a decision about his own political future next year after discussing the prospect of a presidential bid with his wife.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama's making a personal pitch for fellow Democrat Martha Coakley in next Tuesday's Senate election in Massachusetts.
The president is putting out e-mail and Web video in support of Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general, who's running in the special election to serve the final three years of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's term. The e-mail and video will be sent out Thursday to the Massachusetts distribution list of Organizing for America, the president's political arm at the Democratic National Committee.
"I am supporting Martha Coakley. As your attorney general, she's taken on Wall Street schemes, insurance company abuses, and big polluters," Obama says in the e-mail. "She'll be your voice, and my ally. And she needs your help."
At stake is the Democrats supermajority in the Senate. If Republican state Sen. Scott Brown wins, the Democrats lose their 60 seat filibuster-proof coalition in the chamber, threatening their chances of passing the health care reform bill Obama hopes to sign into law.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama on Thursday called on Congress to tax the largest banks to ensure that U.S. taxpayers don't lose a penny from the federal bailout of the financial, auto and insurance industries over the past year.
The "financial crisis responsibility fee" would target major institutions. It would be levied on those that were the main contributors to the financial crisis and the most significant beneficiaries of the extraordinary actions taken by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department.
"My commitment is to recover every single dime the American people are owed," Obama said. "We want our money back and we're going to get it."
Washington (CNN) - Congressional Democratic health care negotiators, working with the White House, have reached a tentative deal with labor unions on restructuring a tax on high-end insurance plans, a key proposal to pay for health care reform, according to two sources familiar with the fast-moving talks.
The "Cadillac tax" is one of the major issues dividing House and Senate Democrats, who have been in intense negotiations with Obama administration officials at the White House over the past two days. Labor union leaders were instrumental in the bargaining, attending multiple separate meetings all week at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
Labor officials are trying to protect workers currently receiving high-cost plans from their employers. Over the years, many unions have negotiated generous health benefits - sometimes in lieu of wage increases.
Under the outline currently being discussed, which the sources stressed is still fluid, the threshold for the tax on insurance plans would be raised above what passed the Senate - which was a tax on insurance plans costing $23,000 and up for families.
Washington (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder agreed Thursday to find out and promptly report what actions, if any, were taken by the Justice Department after a 2004 FBI warning of a looming financial crisis.
Under pressure from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Holder promised to advise the panel by the end of January whether the government heeded the warning from an assistant FBI director that the growing mortgage fraud caseload could signal a problem with potentially wide economic repercussions.
The bipartisan commission appointed by Congress is trying to determine the precise causes of the nation's financial crisis, and believes mortgage lending practices were instrumental in the economy's near-meltdown.
(CNN) - The political fistfight in Massachusetts to fill the last three years of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat is also turning into a big bucks battle.
With five days left until Bay State residents vote in Tuesday's special election, both sides are publicizing the campaign cash they've raised in the past few days.
A Wednesday on-line fundraising pitch by the late senator's widow, Vicki Kennedy, for the Democratic candidate, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, has brought in more than $600,000 as of early Thursday, according to a source close to the campaign.
The campaign of Republican candidate Scott Brown, a state senator, announced Tuesday that a fundraising pitch raised $1.3 million over a 24-hour period.
TOPICS: Health care
Washington (CNN) - As House and Senate Democrats try to merge two separate health care reform bills, a new national poll suggests that when it comes to paying for the legislation, Americans favor provisions in the House bill over those in the Senate version.
And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday also indicates that most Americans don't register either a strong negative or positive reaction to the bills.
According to the poll, 61 percent of the public favor the House provision, which taxes people with high incomes regardless of the kind of health insurance they have. Twenty-nine percent favor the Senate provision, which raises taxes on high-quality health insurance plans, regardless of the amount of money made by the people covered by those plans.