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President Obama: Recovery Must Reach Main Street


For the full transcript of President Obama’s speech this morning on Wall Street reform click here. A few key quotes are after the “flip.” Now, it’s time for Congress to pass financial reform and make sure that we never again go through a crisis like the one we saw in late 2008.

*”…as a result of the decisions we made — some of which, let’s face it, were very unpopular — we are seeing hopeful signs.  A little more than one year ago we were losing an average of 750,000 jobs each month.  Today, America is adding jobs again.  One year ago the economy was shrinking rapidly.  Today the economy is growing.  In fact, we’ve seen the fastest turnaround in growth in nearly three decades.”

*”But you’re here and I’m here because we’ve got more work to do.  Until this progress is felt not just on Wall Street but on Main Street we cannot be satisfied.”

*”…it is essential that we learn the lessons from this crisis so we don’t doom ourselves to repeat it.”

*”… a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it.”

*”…we need to enact a set of updated, commonsense rules to ensure accountability on Wall Street and to protect consumers in our financial system.”

*”I’m here today specifically — when I speak to the titans of industry here — because I want to urge you to join us, instead of fighting us in this effort.”

*”The goal is to make certain that taxpayers are never again on the hook because a firm is deemed ‘too big to fail.'”

*”… what’s not legitimate is to suggest that somehow the legislation being proposed is going to encourage future taxpayer bailouts, as some have claimed.  That makes for a good sound bite, but it’s not factually accurate.  It is not true.”

*”…reform would bring new transparency to many financial markets.”

*”…this plan would enact the strongest consumer financial protections ever.”

*”These Wall Street reforms will give shareholders new power in the financial system.”

*”… let’s face it, we also need reform in Washington.”

*”We do not have to choose between markets that are unfettered by even modest protections against crisis, or markets that are stymied by onerous rules that suppress enterprise and innovation.  That is a false choice.”

*”In the end, our system only works — our markets are only free — when there are basic safeguards that prevent abuse, that check excesses, that ensure that it is more profitable to play by the rules than to game the system.”

*”…ultimately, there is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street.  We will rise or we will fall together as one nation.”

  • Teddy Goodson

    and for once I agreed with everything he said, including the zingers.

    We have rules for every game we play. Why not rules for Wall Street and the financial sector?

  • jack

    …as we have come to expect from the President.  I have only two minor criticisms.  The first is endemic to every politician, not just Obama, and that is I would like specific references such as, “Section 678 does such and such and so and so,” so that we could go see for ourselves.  As I say, NO politician does that, and I wish they would.

    Second, a good number of those bonuses were to high performers that earned their companies a lot of money, and in fact the companies might have gone under without those earning to offset the losses in other areas.

    I like the idea of an FDIC-like insurance fund.  The question is, what do we do with that money?

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    The President covered the subject quite well – given that there is no completed Senate bill as yet.

    He certainly answered the lie being spread around by Mitch McConnell and Co. that a fund created by assessing Wall Street firms that would be used to unwind failing entities is somehow a taxpayer bailout. (Just because a GOP operative said to make that a part of the echo machine of Republicans doesn’t make it true.)

    Sen. Grassley’s about-face in the most recent committee vote may signal that at least a few Republicans are looking at polling data that shows Americans want Wall Street under greater control.