April 17th, 2010
03:48 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama touts financial reform, says GOP stance 'deceptive'

(CNN) - President Obama touted financial regulation reform in the weekly White House address released Saturday.

"The consequences of this failure of responsibility – from Wall Street to Washington – are all around us: 8 million jobs lost, trillions in savings erased, countless dreams diminished or denied," Obama said. "I believe we have to do everything we can to ensure that no crisis like this ever happens again. That's why I'm fighting so hard to pass a set of Wall Street reforms and consumer protections."

But in an address largely devoted to laying out the components of financial reform legislation, Obama also accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of deliberately misleading the public.

"[T]he Senate Republican Leader came out against the common-sense reforms we've proposed. In doing so, he made the cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would somehow enable future bailouts – when he knows that it would do just the opposite," Obama said.

Read the full remarks after the jump:

Remarks of President Barack Obama

As Prepared for Delivery

The White House

April 17, 2010

There were many causes of the turmoil that ripped through our economy over the past two years. But above all, this crisis was caused by failures in the financial industry. What is clear is that this crisis could have been avoided if Wall Street firms were more accountable, if financial dealings were more transparent, and if consumers and shareholders were given more information and authority to make decisions.

But that did not happen. And that's because special interests have waged a relentless campaign to thwart even basic, common-sense rules – rules to prevent abuse and protect consumers. In fact, the financial industry and its powerful lobby have opposed modest safeguards against the kinds of reckless risks and bad practices that led to this very crisis.

The consequences of this failure of responsibility – from Wall Street to Washington – are all around us: 8 million jobs lost, trillions in savings erased, countless dreams diminished or denied. I believe we have to do everything we can to ensure that no crisis like this ever happens again. That's why I'm fighting so hard to pass a set of Wall Street reforms and consumer protections. A plan for reform is currently moving through Congress.

Here's what this plan would do. First, it would enact the strongest consumer financial protections ever. It would put consumers back in the driver's seat by forcing big banks and credit card companies to provide clear, understandable information so that Americans can make financial decisions that work best for them.

Next, these reforms would bring new transparency to financial dealings. Part of what led to this crisis was firms like AIG and others making huge and risky bets – using things like derivatives – without accountability. Warren Buffett himself once described derivatives bought and sold with little oversight as "financial weapons of mass destruction." That's why through reform we'd help ensure that these kinds of complicated financial transactions take place on an open market. Because, ultimately, it is a marketplace that is open, free, and fair that will allow our economy to flourish.

We would also close loopholes to stop the kind of recklessness and irresponsibility we've seen. It's these loopholes that allowed executives to take risks that not only endangered their companies, but also our entire economy. And we're going to put in place new rules so that big banks and financial institutions will pay for the bad decisions they make – not taxpayers. Simply put, this means no more taxpayer bailouts. Never again will taxpayers be on the hook because a financial company is deemed "too big to fail."

Finally, these reforms hold Wall Street accountable by giving shareholders new power in the financial system. They'll get a say on pay: a vote on the salaries and bonuses awarded to top executives. And the SEC will ensure that shareholders have more power in corporate elections, so that investors and pension holders have a stronger voice in determining what happens with their life savings.

Now, unsurprisingly, these reforms have not exactly been welcomed by the people who profit from the status quo – as well their allies in Washington. This is probably why the special interests have spent a lot of time and money lobbying to kill or weaken the bill. Just the other day, in fact, the Leader of the Senate Republicans and the Chair of the Republican Senate campaign committee met with two dozen top Wall Street executives to talk about how to block progress on this issue.

Lo and behold, when he returned to Washington, the Senate Republican Leader came out against the common-sense reforms we've proposed. In doing so, he made the cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would somehow enable future bailouts – when he knows that it would do just the opposite. Every day we don't act, the same system that led to bailouts remains in place – with the exact same loopholes and the exact same liabilities. And if we don't change what led to the crisis, we'll doom ourselves to repeat it. That's the truth. Opposing reform will leave taxpayers on the hook if a crisis like this ever happens again.

So my hope is that we can put this kind of politics aside. My hope is that Democrats and Republicans can find common ground and move forward together. But this is certain: one way or another, we will move forward. This issue is too important. The costs of inaction are too great. We will hold Wall Street accountable. We will protect and empower consumers in our financial system. That's what reform is all about. That's what we're fighting for. And that's exactly what we're going to achieve.

Thank you.


Filed under: Mitch McConnell • Popular Posts • President Obama • Wall Street
soundoff (305 Responses)
  1. brady lawson

    As usual, the Republican leadership is alive and well trying to block legislation that would protect consumers from wall street / big bank abuses that led to the financial breakdown and bailouts that was forced on the current administration. When are the people of this country going to realize that the republican party is for "Wall Street " and "Big Bank" and not for WE THE PEOPLE!. The Senate Republican Leader needs to go along with anyone who shares his views so this financial mess never happens again! Wake up America, vote these idiots out of office who say they represent our interests but obstruct any attempt to represent it!.

    April 17, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. Independent One

    Of course the repubs don't want fin. reform....they don't want to cut off there money supply from wall street fat cats

    April 17, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. CEE

    The GOP are in the banks back pocket.

    April 17, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Daniel

    Dave wrote (among other things).
    Space program............I'm sick about this one.........we will be a third rate space country by the time your done with 4 years

    Oh we got change..............not change anyone imagined. Destructive Change. But we got what many voted for. Hope they like it. Dave

    Sick about the space program, huh? Why? The shuttle program is a disaster. It's like sending a man into space on a bomb. But I'm not surprised that anything the president does sickens you. As for the last part of your little rant – why yes, we do like the change we are seeing. It's refreshing to have a man of intelligence and backbone in the White House. The Hopey – Changey thing is working just fine for me. Thanks.

    April 17, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  5. Yahbut

    If President Obama really wants to see who has been misleading the citizens of the United States then he should look in the mirror.
    Every time he speaks he says one thing and the next thing we see is him doing something else.

    April 17, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. p

    Chad-
    Wake up.
    Do you pay taxes?
    Are you just an idiot?
    In case you do pay taxes, you are now paying less under this president.
    Didn't get the memo?
    Come up with with something else bogus.

    April 17, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Larry

    The GOP is literally, and I do mean LITERALLY, going to be the demise of the greatest country ever conceived and established. And I am not being hyperbolic in stating this.

    Ultimately, however, it was not Hitler that nearly destroyed civilization; it was the masses of the electorate in Germany who empowered him to do so. Ignorance is the greatest killer of all.

    April 17, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. roger mn

    From the party of "NO", another "NO" we are not going to participate or work with the Dems on important issues,

    April 17, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. They call me "tater salad"

    Anyone with a pulse knows that Mitch McConnell's chances of winning re-election in his home state are shaky at best..........What do you expect a corrupt, bought and paid for, political weasel to say?The Republican party knows better than anyone that their credibility with the American people, and there viabilty as a political party has been circling the drain since 2006,and that every shady tactic that they've been able to come up with hasn't been very effective in achieving the desired results........Hence all the BS as of late..........This isn't exactly rocket science people!!!!

    April 17, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. SEF

    Many people look forward to the next Administration, with a well seasoned adult qualified to lead the U.S. at the helm.

    The Obama experiment has been an enormous mistake. Mussolini Junior needs to be booted out ASAP, before he divides and harms this country even further.

    April 17, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. Brock

    I just love Obama's strategy.

    Make democratic activity the subject, rather than the cause. Make it a process story. Never, ever let people think for themselves and reason on the CAUSE of the financial crisis.

    The proximate CAUSE of the financial crisis was Subprime lending. Subprime lending was a problem due to DEMOCRAT activity promoting the creation of loans to their constiuents. Carter started. Clinton used the Justice department to intimidate banks and Barney Frank stopped any reform during Bush's term. He was assisted by Maxine Waters and Greg Meeks.

    These guys are all CRIMINALS. Yet Obama vilifies anyone who opposes his desired outcome.

    No wonder Michelle is finally proud of the USA. The only country on earth where if your party is in power, you can rewrite history to your liking by refusing to investigate criminals in congress and your buddies running Fannie Mae.

    Why hasn't Franklin Raines, the totally corrupt guy who ran fannie mae, testified before congress?

    Answer – He is Barney Franks, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama's friend. He even ran the financial side of Obama's campaign, until he decided to step aside because he was too big a target for a corruption scandal. Yet, now the Dem's are in power, he is clear of any threat of investigation. At least until November, when the crooks are voted out.

    Just makes a person sick to see what's happened....

    April 17, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. cyount

    Whats wrong liberals cant stand the fact the Republicans will block this crap legislation and shove it in Obama's face. It's about time someone stands up and fights back against Obama and the far left.

    April 17, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Post-partisan error

    Oh look. The president is attacking his critics again.

    April 17, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Jasmine in Germany

    Finally, the USA has a futuristic leader who understands global socialogical and political development and is able to recognize flaws in various systems. You have the opportunity to advance the USA into the 21st Century by being supportive of our brilliant president, or you can become a member of the "party of no" which intentionally retards the development of our great nation due to personal gain. It's up to you.

    April 17, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. John D

    Obozo completely lied about the cost of healthcare but you blind left wing imbicilic entitlement crowd are too ignorant to see the truth! You long winded posters spout the same rhetoric and democratic talking points. Did you get that notice in your welfare check? Lazy ass Losers!

    April 17, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Saul Alinsky

    He's a chip off the old block.

    April 17, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. rob

    So far everytime President Obama said we have to act immediately to do something it turned out to be nothing he promised it would be.

    I don't trust him or the Dems in Congress on anything, lets see the legislation on line for 5 days like he promised, before any voting.

    April 17, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. JB

    It wasn't all that long ago that the Donkey was the party of NO! Don't fool yourselves, it's politics.

    April 17, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. Tom MD

    I am dismayed by the comments I see on this and almost every other public forum. All charged with rhetoric and blame without any offer of steps forward. If we would be proactive and not reactive maybe we could get past the hot air of party politics which is all I am reading in this forum. I blame Obama I blame the republicans, well that's real progress. Good job all..................

    April 17, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. AJ

    Joe M (11:49am ET) has it exactly right. Obama frames EVERYTHING he does as a HUGE CRISIS. We are in such a DIRE situation that we must immediately pass HIS ideas right now with no time to fine-tune the legislation and get it right (which would mean time to weed out his pork). Pass it RIGHT NOW, or else you're an obstructionist and a "cynic." Just hearing his voice makes me want to projectile vomit!

    April 17, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. Jim

    Businesses work to benefit their owners by making money anyway they can. That is their job. Governments must work to provide an honest business enviroment along with fair and open competition. In the process the process it must protect all citizens from people who will do them harm through disception and thievery. That is their job.

    Capitalism works solely for money but, in America government, must be "Of the people, By the people, For the people. Not solely for the special interests. Today's Republicans are sure not the party of Lincoln.

    April 17, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. Peter

    its funny how Republicna scome out against wall street reform could it be that its because the mi ne that collapsed in Wva was owned by a Republican who gave the RNC 360,000 and refused to bring his mine up to regulation...those are the kinds of folks the Republican party protect...well yall can keep all that blood money because the losses coming to Republicans in Nov from the silent majority in this country will make 08 feel like a joke....the Party of No must be put out of power America cannot afford Republican old grumpy men on the hill quick to grab their pay and pensions but slow or just say NO to help everyday Americans!!!

    April 17, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Charlie Brown

    Obama certainly knows about deception. Look at how Obamacare was passed. He wouldn;t know the truth if it came up to him and shook his hand. He is the most deceptive, lying, cheating, president we have had. Yes, he is worse than Bush.

    April 17, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. Charles Stebbins

    Obama is helping all Americans except the hypocritical and corrupt
    Republicans who are aligned with the wealthy and egocentric
    Wall Street who are advocating doing nothing to prevent another
    financial catastrophe from occurring. How can so many Americans
    believe the blatant lies and deceptions of the Republican party,
    especially after the blunders of the Bush administration?

    April 17, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. KJ

    So, I guess this perpetuates the stereotype of Republicans being for BIG BUSINESS over the interest of the little guy. No wonder the "Teapartyers" aren't jumping on the Republican bandwagon. I have one thing to say to McConnell,"Shame on You!" and all decieving and obstructing politicans who are completely out of touch with the American people. No doubt you will have a Wall Street or Big Business consulting job waiting for you once you are done screwing the American people.

    April 17, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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