Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France: 2014 in review

Read more

#THE 51%

South Africa: Taking a stand against child marriage

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

France 24’s best documentaries of 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'We have to build a new Tunisia', says the president of the Tunisian Parliament

Read more

FACE-OFF

France on alert after attacks: a case of collective hysteria?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Beijing needs to revaluate its policy in the Tibetan areas', says FM of the Tibetan government-in-exile

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Uruguay: freed Guantanamo detainees try to adjust to normal life

Read more

Americas

Obama attacks Wall Street's efforts to block reforms

Video by Elena CASAS

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-04-22

In an address to financial leaders in New York Thursday, US President Barack Obama called for more regulations and urged bankers to "join him in the effort to reform the financial system".

US President Barack Obama issued a tough message to Wall Street chiefs who gathered in New York’s historic Cooper Union building Thursday, calling on financial leaders to back his financial reforms even as he railed against “battalions of financial industry lobbyists descending on Capitol Hill” to try to influence the outcome of a critical debate.
 
Obama’s speech came as Democrats and Republicans prepare to face-off over the final shape of new financial regulation legislation.
 
In December, the US House of Representatives passed a financial reform bill by a 223-202 majority, with no Republicans voting for the bill and 27 Democrats voting against it.
 
The ball is now in the US Senate’s court, where comprehensive legislation is once again likely to face staunch Republican opposition. Democrats hold a 59-41 vote majority over Republicans in the Senate -- one vote short of the number needed to overcome procedural hurdles to the bill's passage.
 
Calling for coordinated support for reform, Obama said, "We need to enact a set of updated, common-sense rules to ensure accountability on Wall Street and to protect consumers in our financial system".
 
Learning from the ‘lessons of this crisis’
 
France 24's Douglas Herbert analyses Obama's Wall Street Speech
Recalling his 2008 visit to Cooper Union during the presidential election campaign, Obama noted that he had warned of the dangers of corporate excesses.
 
“I take no satisfaction in noting that my comments then have largely been borne out by the events that followed," he said, warning that Wall Street could not go back to business as usual.
 
“It is essential that we learn the lessons of this crisis, so we don’t doom ourselves to repeat it. And make no mistake, that is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass,” he warned.
 
‘A vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts’
 
Democratic efforts to pass what has been billed as the largest overhaul of the financial industry since the 1930s have been attacked by bankers and Republican lawmakers.
 
Republican Congressman John Boehner of Ohio, told Investors Business Daily that the proposed legislation was a “job-killing initiative” and that it “would provide the nation's largest financial firms with permanent bailouts.”
 
Addressing such concerns, Obama noted that "A vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts. The goal is to make certain that taxpayers are never again on the hook because a firm is deemed 'too big to fail.'"

The US president also took on criticism that his reform measures were aimed at stifling free markets. Obama stressed that he was not against the power of the free market. Obama assured investors he believed in the "power of the free market" and a "strong financial sector that helps people to raise capital and get loans and invest their savings. But,” he added, “a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it.”

Date created : 2010-04-22

  • FINANCE

    Citigroup returns to profit, and CEO thanks taxpayers for bailout

    Read more

  • FINANCE

    Former Fed chief defends his role in economic crisis

    Read more

  • FINANCIAL CRISIS

    IMF proposes global bank tax to pay for future bailouts

    Read more

COMMENT(S)