Obama: Reforms Would Put an End to Taxpayer Bailouts

BY Carolyn O'Hara  April 22, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT

President Obama traveled to New York City Thursday to deliver a speech outlining his goals for financial reform. As legislation rewriting the rules of Wall Street works its way through the Senate, Mr. Obama had tough words for the “battalions of financial industry lobbyists descending on Capitol Hill” hoping to influence the bill.

“We’ve seen misleading arguments and attacks designed not to improve the bill but to weaken or kill it. And we’ve seen a bipartisan process buckle under the weight of these withering forces, even as we have produced a proposal that is by all accounts a common-sense, reasonable, non-ideological approach to target the root problems that led to the turmoil in our financial sector,” the president said.

Find the full text of the president’s speech here.

President Obama highlighted five major points for reform:

  • a measure of protection for the financial system, the wider economy, and taxpayers should a major financial firm begin to fail;

  • enact the Volcker Rule, which would place limits on the size of banks and the kinds of risks banks can take;

  • more transparency in the financial system, particularly with regard to derivatives, “designed to respect legitimate activities but prevent reckless risk taking;”

  • strong financial consumer protections;

  • shareholders to get ‘say on pay’ for salaries and bonuses for executives.

Mr. Obama last spoke at Cooper Union on financial reform two years ago, while still a candidate. Compare his 2008 remarks with his speech today via the WSJ.

On Thursday’s NewsHour, watch interviews with White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers and Robert Kelly, CEO and Chairman of BNY Mellon.