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. ThinkAgain

    "JES" says we should "fix the government first."

    1. You obviously don't understand how inter-connected everything is and that investing in infrastructure and the American people will ultimately create more jobs and create a more robust economy (as compared to starting two unfunded wars that line the pockets of the likes of Haliburton).

    2. Just because GW Bush couldn't watch TV without choking on a pretzel doesn't mean President Obama can't do more than one thing at a time.

    April 17, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. juanx

    President Obama,

    We got your back...regulate, regulate these "Too Big To Fail" leecher banks, and brokage houses.

    April 17, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. If We Can Defeat Him On Healthcare, It Will Be His Waterloo

    From the anit-Obama comments of some, I can only say that . . .

    GOP = Got Obama Psychosis

    April 17, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. Terry Little

    I never comment on these things because I refuse to continue the HATE in this country. But how did everyone forget the money Cheney and Bush spent to wage an unnecessary and unjustified war?

    April 17, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. Hammerer

    The master of deception calls the Repubs deceptive.
    What a joke.
    Of all of the statements Obama has made, name one that has been the truth.

    April 17, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. p

    McConnell is such a creep.
    Same thing.
    Frank Luntz? Scumbag.
    Can't stand those guys.
    They could care less about the well-being of our country.
    They are obsessed with defeating and bringing down OUR President at every turn, by any means possible.
    They think November is going to be a GOP walkover?
    They were so sure they could defeat HCR, too.
    In fact the GOP has been so consistently wrong on EVERYTHING, starting with being in charge on 911, invading the wrong country (Iraq) as a result – the list goes on and on.
    They lost the election in 2008. Remember?
    When are they going to get over it?
    The election is over now, and it's time to do the work of the people.
    The way they are going, I don't think they'll be back in power anytime soon.

    April 17, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Arnie

    Your analogy is flawed in that you don't elimnate laws because jail doesn't provide a hinderance to crime. You eliminate the loopholes in the laws. Criminals no matter on what level should be punished. As far as spending is a majority of the economist and countries subscribed to the kansean economic theory to pull the world economy out this recession. Now that we are on that subject, what president put us in this mess in the first place? Oh you don't want to say because it was your boy!

    April 17, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    McConnnell and the GOP listen to John McCain who clearly doesn't read one page of anything before he tells his cronies to say no and they just take it hook line and sinker. The GOP are more than deceptive, they are big liars and they never come up within to replace their no's. They are looking just as stupid as Palin.

    April 17, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. Jerry - Florida

    President NObama, in order to REALLY determine who has been misleading Americas and hurting businesses and the general economy, simply look at yourself in the mirror. By now, you should have stopped passing the buck.

    Stop blaming the Republicans for all your idiotic policies.

    Thanks to you and your cronies (both elected and appointed) your administration is headed toward the abyss.

    You and only you are responsible for our dire situation.

    Man up! YES! I am a life-long Democrat.

    April 17, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Yas

    Mr. President....It is with heavy heart that it is time to acknowledge that no matter how hard you try or what you do to engage the GOP in any policy that would better this country and/or it's people they are NOT going give any inch to compromise and/or work with you and your administration.

    They have/had a political agenda right from the start of your administration...DO WHAT THEY CAN TO BRING DOWN OR DELAY any bill you put forward (which is what McConnell said they would do before you were even sworn in).

    Our only prayer is that sooner or later the people will see/understand what they are doing is NOT for the betterment of our country but truly them (GOP) trying to manipulate the masses for their own political gain and power.

    PEOPLE stop allowing the Right Wing Media, GOP play us like chess pieces on a gameboard....What is happening to/in our country is NOT A GAME...WE are in trouble and WE NEED our representatives to WORK TOGETHER with our President to fix the mess that GREED and PARTY POLITICS has created.

    April 17, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Mike


    April 17, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. guy from NM

    Lets hope that the Rep bury themselves on that one. The private companies got us in this mess to start with, why? Because the Rep and a lot of Dems were too busy taking wall street money.

    April 17, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. Jenn, Philadelphia

    How is the Republican party misleading any one when now even the White House wants the $50 billion bailout clause removed from the bill? The bill also creates another regulatory agency. Wouldn't it be nice if we just made the agencies already in existence do their jobs instead of creating more bureaucratic confusion? I bet, Mr. Stern, former head of SEIU and friend of Obama gets the head job of the new agency. Payback for getting him elected.

    April 17, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Whine, whine, whine. He had a filibuster proof majority for over a year and just barely managed to get the disaster health care bill through. He's done nothing about anything else. Just wait until one or both houses flip to Republican in November. He'll be a lame duck.

    April 17, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. mook from canada

    Jon April 17th, 2010 11:44 am ET

    well I'd would like to see your card, and like you to back up your statments with either some facts, or links, it should make for an interesting read, for sure

    April 17, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. Michael from Ventura

    The President is DOING things- not just Talking about it. You right wingnuts that continue to call him tax & spend need to remember that gwb spent this country into recession- Where were you when that was happening? It's time for ACTION not Obstruction!

    April 17, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. from tampa

    I can’t believe his disdain for the people that disagree with him. He is separating Americans instead of bringing together. He is alienating the ones that don’t agree with him, in a condescending way. Either you are with me or you don’t exist! I am very worried about our country and the way our President has been treating the ones who disagree with him.

    April 17, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. kennyds

    Maybe perhaps we should be concentrating on getting proof of osama husseins birth ceritficate instead of condoning the traversies he is doing to AMERICA. We are getting fed up with his bs and bills to kill the unborn and unwanted. Why arent you publizing anything about getting osama to prove he is a american and not a foreigner. All the other PRESIDENTS provided that information so why is he so different. osama is letting our defense down and kissing up to the enemies. Dont put down the REPUBLICANS as they may be our only salvation to save our COUNTRY. The court justices osama and his clan want are for the killing of the unborn babies and unwanted here in our COUNTRY. We should run them all out of our COUNTRY. Beware it will be like nazi germany was. Then it will be too late. Remember when he signed that no tax money of ours wouild be spent on abortions? Well not long after he rescinded the order. Doesnt that prove dictatorship? Have to wake up AMERICA before its too late.

    April 17, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. christopher

    April 17th, 2010 11:44 am ET
    'This president is arrogant and spends our money even more than the last administration. Then he thinks we should thank him for our taxes? Gross. I am a registered democrat and with that attitude, he will ensure Republican victory in the fall. Stop the wasteful spending Mr. President.'


    April 17, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Obama is My Mama

    Obama is a loser and a liar. We elected a socialist and this is what we're stuck with. He can't be believed or trusted.

    April 17, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Karl from New York

    Mitch McConnell's comment reminded me of Pearl Harbor. He had his battle plan in mind: stop the Democrats. He then did the most audacious surprise attack he could think of to further that plan: call the anti-bail out plan a new bail out plan.

    Can't those Republicans do anything but lie and scare people for once?

    April 17, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. peggy

    After reading a lot of these comments, I'm glad for one thing...THERE ARE MORE DEMOCRATS IN THIS COUNTRY THAN republicians. We just need to make sure we all vote and support our party anyway we can...our country depends on it. We cannot sit back and let these right wingers lie and fear monger themselves into power again. POWER TO THE PEOPLE! VOTE DEMOCRATIC!

    April 17, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Roger

    Why wpuld anyone ever believe anything this duffous says, He's lied over and over to the American people!

    April 17, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Financial crisis fix...

    Stop your Touts and Ridicules Mr Pres. and lets clean up Washington
    starting with Lobbist are they there for the good of the Nation or to corrupt the Politicans....outlaw lobbists and ban them form Washington....Clean, clean out corruption and replace it with rules under which the Financial institutions can do business. Big reform must come to campaign financial contributions....etc get it...!!!

    April 17, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Al

    Here we go again. All the liberals bashing the Republicans while the
    liberals stand in line for more government handouts. I just wish you
    liberals would learn how to spell. It is "Republicans KNOW" not
    "Republicans no". Guess you are still back in the Clinton era while
    you figure out what the definition of "is" is.........

    April 17, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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