April 17th, 2010
03:48 PM ET
12 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. Carol

    Once again the GOP is the party of sour grapes and no to everything.

    April 17, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. noto

    The American people are the Republican Parties suckers. They say Obama is using teleprompters and he is, just like every other President and we buy it. They say they are the party of fiscal responsibility but blow all their campaign money at sex and bondage clubs and we believe them. The say they are for the Constitution but spy on use and we believe them. They say they are for Joe the plumber but all the laws they pass are for corporate America and we believe them.

    We are a nation of suckers.

    April 17, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Ryan

    For all the idiots complaining about wasteful spending: where were you when we decided to go to war with the wrong country and spending billions to NOT capture Osama Bin Laden?!?!

    Or when bush spent 700 billion bailing out his campaign donors( the big banks) who screwed us??

    Obama spends less money...on Americans, not Iraqis, fixing roads, improving schools, providing healthcare...and they spazz out!! It's obviously racism masked as financial angst.

    April 17, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. em md

    Keep up the good work, Mr. President! Show them how it's done. All the GOP cry babies are trying to mislead the public, and that's scary and dangerous.

    April 17, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. Reality

    I really have to laugh at how incredibly ignorant the U.S. populace has become. You treat politics like it is a basketball game, our side versus them, and no matter what your "team" does, even to you, you cheer them on. Meanwhile the government performs the same exact three things over and over again, and assumes more control.

    1) Create a problem.
    2) Form a reaction.
    3) Create a solution.

    Nobody thinks about the nitty gritty details on how this stuff really develops. We suck, and we deserve whatever becomes of us. I just pity our children and grandchildren, they don't deserve the fate that will befall them due to our stupidity.

    April 17, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. America Shrugged

    LOL @ some of these ignorant posts which if you look at many blogs, say the exact same thing. Time to end the responding to the ignorant who's only goal is to derail anything Obama and the Dems are trying to correct. Socialist, gov takeovers? LOL...This adm is centrist or even a bit right of center and to say it's anything else just bolsters my belief that the brain dead will follow the RW pundits off a cliff. Most of us middle class folks received a tax cut as my refund will attest to, but to say he raised taxes is silly. Bush tax cuts (on the credit card and rammed through reconciliation) will expire on Jan 1, 2011 and as far as I'm concerned, Obama gave them a gift of time as they should have been repealed immediately after taking office. I'll believe the Tea Party Express is really a grass roots movement when I start to see them start going after the current incumbent GOP members who rubberstamped all the BS they are protesting right now in the same manner they are going after the Dems..

    April 17, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. Sentinel2010

    The Republican Party is only interested in raping, pillaging and screwing America. They have damaged our nation – and the world – almost beyond repair. We need to end this by putting the GOP out of business permanently. They are the political mafia. They are the liars. They are the anti-patriots. In other words, they are not patriots at all – just a bunch of crooks that must be removed from power forever....

    April 17, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Carmelle

    Wow...121 comments and all the anti-Obama/Dems rethoric is not about Financial Reform or they are defending the banks too.

    And you want this gvt to listen to you? just because you think you have a brain? This president got his seal of approval the day the collapse happened...so if you didn't vote for him, he doesn't owe you a thing! Please sit down and shut up....thank him later!

    April 17, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. artraveler

    If the Republicans would decide that they care about the country and not just about their rich friends, they would stop the "no" to anything that comes down the pike and actually work with the Democrats tio create a better bill.

    The healthcare bill contained over 200 of their ideas and yet no one could bring themselves to care about the 30-40% of the country without health insurance. We were still paying for their healthcare but at higher ER rates and Medicaid through state taxes.

    The position of being against a person who is yet to be nominated for the SCOTUS shows their real game-give no ground but expect that the Democrats will appreciate their positions so much that they will concede. With all due disrespect-that's a bunch of garbage!

    April 17, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Debby

    Why does Obama constantly blame Wall Street. It was Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac which was run by Frank and Dodd that got our economy crumbling. The only thing I blame Bush for is not having a tighter reign on these idiot Democrats that ran the Senate and Congress for 4 years.

    April 17, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. TruthWillbeTold

    The comments here are funny.
    communist, mirror , lazy people. Do whites think they are hard workers, well they know who they are , ignorant, go read the history..
    Whites are Europeans and we know what they did for years, don't we.
    Dancing , ruling , remember that ?? is that really hard working..
    And oh BTW not all poor people are colored, many many whites nowadays rely on government social security checks to survive.. Go figure..

    April 17, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. one voice

    You tell them Mr President, these GOP CLOWNS want the statis quo so they continue to receive kickbacks from wallstreet payed by the American taxpayer. How can our freedom of speech right be protected when the are outright lies by the GOP? Our forefathers are rolling over in their graves by the greed of the GOP and their continued blaintant lying. Put these Clowns under oath and watch them change their tune. CREEPS

    April 17, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. Rick

    To JON–

    Let me ask- did yoiu pay more or less this year in taxes. Everyone I have talked to has either paid less OR recieved more in refunds. This is true all across the board. STOP LISTENING TO GLENN BECK and start looking for the truth

    April 17, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. Joe

    Republicans are truly evil people wanting to destroy what is left of the middle class.

    April 17, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. steve

    I can't remember how long it's been since I've heard any Republican say anything that made any sense. Who votes for these idiots that nearly brought us the second depression?

    April 17, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. craig

    Wow, what a coincidence it was with the timing of Obama shifiting into high gear on his Wallstreet tangent and the ambush of Goldman on Friday. Sorry shareholders about that $12 billion of stock value that was shed on the announcement of this witch hunt. Oh well, your're probably too rich for your own good anyway.

    April 17, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. Independent_me

    The Republicans are masterful at being deceptive. Devious and diabolical, really. I saw through their twisted rhetoric immediately -but sadly, they know that they will fool many who don't take the time to question, to seek out the facts and to listen to other saner voices. They do not want bank regulation, and they are twisting the truth in order to stop it.

    April 17, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Doug

    Imagine a Chicago Democrat like Obama telling his lib goons to stop assulting conservative women like they did in New Orleans last week?

    Notice that thousands of tea party protesters have not once caused a violent scene, yet Democrats each and every day resort to violence against those who simply speak the truth.

    Cnn and other lib media will not talk about what happened in New Orleans, but they had tons of stories about the made up racist comments directed to a Democrat congressman that there is no proof of, yet cameras all over the place. Pelosi walking through the protesters with a gavel, trying to promote violence and it didn't work. That's lib, decent people don't vote Democrat!

    April 17, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. Independent_me

    @ Jon –
    Jon – don't even try that – saying that you are a Democrat to make your case. I know that you are a Republican!

    April 17, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. GuyinVA

    I wonder if Norah O'Donnell finds these comments to have racial overtones.

    April 17, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Benn

    Racism is about fear. Republican rule in the majority and now in the minority has demonstratively been about fear in recent years. The parallels in terms of policy (when in power) and strategy (when out) are compelling and I hypothesize, are more than just coincidental.

    Though many would take umbrage at the very suggestion, their lack of consideration on the issues of the day (as evidenced by the personal attacks lacking substance or proof) makes me wonder if conservatives in this country who align themselves with the Republicans or the Tea Partiers, are capable of truly knowing their own motivations or their own interests.

    If I am right, these so-called "patriots" are ripe for their own Messianic moment.

    I'm glad to see the President taking the time to shape the message on financial reform: it indicates an ability to learn and adapt. Taking the "high road" as they did on healthcare, did not serve this country well since so many people are prone to accepting lies as facts ("death panels"...right!) and personalize beyond the issues to the point of demonizing and threaten elected officials with violence.

    Politics is a modern substitute for armed conflict in the control of a peoples' destiny. The fact that a major political party within that process would tacitly support and occasionally encourage that type of anarchy (by suggestion or otherwise) leaves me cold and suspect: it should do the same for ALL Americans....but it helps if you can think beyond fear.....

    ALL forms of government, including communistic, socialist republics, and even tyrants beat anarchy.....but anarchy can also be used within all of them to cede, usurp, and maintain power......arap Moi did it for years in Kenya.....To my way of thinking, that is precisely what Republican leaders (I use the term advisedly) are doing now......one of the pesky problems with Populism: idiots required.....

    That is not "American" in my book.....informing yourself with credible sources and references in the past and now and making up your OWN mind based on that information is.....

    Got to go to work to support my family and my country that gave me the opportunity to do so.....

    April 17, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. Gloria

    Some of the people commenting have no idea how to string words together to make a coherent sentence. If you are going to be critical at least be able to do it intelligently. I have no idea what you are trying to convey....of course I'm sure you don't either!!!

    April 17, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. JWR

    How do you dig out of an 11 Trillion dollar hole? Obviously the Republicans don't have a clue. They are too greedy and deceitful to come up with a serious common sense plan. They are a bunch of losers and obstructionists. All of them along with the liars and loudmouths: Frau Bachmann, Witch Sarah, Beckenstein and Limpy Limbaugh should be shipped to Gitmo along with the other terrorists! The agenda of these clowns lies in the attempt to sap the strength of America by distortions and deceit. They are the only ones who benefit from the garbage they spread. They are being paid to deceive and create chaos. Check their salaries, bank accounts and HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS!!

    April 17, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. PT

    I think it's beyond belief that we have the leaders of the Republican party and Tea Parties doing everything they possibly can to derail this current administration and what they are working so hard to do to bring American out of this crisis. The people who caused this problem don't care a twit about the hard working American people, all they care about is their own selfish selves.
    President Obama, keep up the good work! We appreciate a leader who doesn't spend a third of his time chopping wood, and who is working hard for us.

    April 17, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. m1234567890t

    obama is too smart for the average american to understand.

    April 17, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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