Change And Cooperation Is Called For At The Obama Wall Street Address

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While the financial reform bill is going through Congress, the Obama Wall Street address went on and the President called for change and cooperation. He advocated instituting the Volcker Rule and Wall Street to cast off the insular attitude it has towards the rest of the economy. Wall Street didn’t handle its affairs well, and sent millions to money lenders or the unemployment line.

Obama Wall Street address calls for reform

The Obama Wall Street address at Cooper Union College was attended by many Wall Street luminaries, and a full transcript is available from Reuters . He denounced special interest groups and asked for common sense to be involved in reforms. Wall Street was raked over the coals. He mentioned the need for greater protections against too big to fail banks, consumer protection, and transparency as well as control for shareholders.

Volcker Rule

The Volcker Rule is part of the financial reform bill. Paul Volcker, the namesake of the bill, was chairman of the Federal Reserve, and it prohibits banks from certain types of trading or actions not undertaken for the benefit of shareholders. Critics have declared regulations would stagnate industry growth, but Obama countered that “unless your business model depends on bilking people there is little to fear from these rules.” (As reported in USA Today ).

Deriding and upholding bailouts

The Obama Wall Street speech included a justification and condemnation of bailouts. Doing nothing, the President maintained, would have been worse. At the same time, he also said that “the American people should never have been put in that position in the first place.” The idea that any further bailouts to Wall Street would be ok was flatly denied. He doesn’t want the taxpayers to fund another cash advance to Wall Street.

Financial reform bill passed the House

The House of Representatives just passed the financial reform bill, with a Senate version due soon, and both will likely contained reforms along the lines of the Obama Wall Street speech. Some believe it won’t deliver the reforms needed, and Republicans and a cross section of Wall Street impresarios oppose it outright.

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