News / USA

Obama to Wall Street: Do Not Fight Financial Reform

President Obama also directed attention to an ongoing and enormously sensitive issue for Americans - multi-million dollar salaries, bonuses and other compensation paid to industry executives.

Comparing the U.S. economy to a house on shifting sands, President Barack Obama has appealed to the U.S. financial industry to support reforms he describes as vital to avoiding another economic collapse. The president spoke in New York.



Aiming his appeal directly at the financial industry and skeptics within it, and at Republican critics in Congress, the president warned of the danger of a repeat of economic collapse.

Calling the financial crisis the outcome of a failure of responsibility from Wall Street to Washington, he said the time has come to seize the moment to make fundamental changes in the rules of the financial road.

"It is essential that we learn the lessons of this crisis, so we do not doom ourselves to repeat it," said the president. "And make no mistake, that is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass.  That is an outcome that is unacceptable to me and it is unacceptable to you, the American people."

With many, but not all, of the most prominent executives of Wall Street firms present, the president outlined key aspects of legislation the Senate will debate in coming days.

These include steps to impose new oversight and controls on hedge funds and complex financial instruments known as derivatives, and protections for consumers of financial products.

Of particular importance would be a system to ensure that troubled financial companies could be dismantled in an orderly way without posing the kind of systemic risk they did in 2008.

Calling the Senate bill and one the House of Representatives approved last year a significant improvement over flawed rules now in place, he said changes would be advantageous for the industry and the country.

The president took aim at the tens of millions of dollars and hundreds of financial industry lobbyists who have descended on Capitol Hill in recent weeks attempting to urge lawmakers to oppose the legislation.

"I am sure that some of these lobbyists work for you and they are doing what they are being paid to do.  But I am 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," he said.  

President Obama also directed attention to an ongoing and enormously sensitive issue for Americans - multi-million dollar salaries, bonuses and other compensation paid to industry executives.

"Some of the salaries and bonuses we have seen created perverse incentives to take reckless risks that contributed to the crisis.  It is what helped lead to a relentless focus on a company's next quarter, to the detriment of its next year or decade," he said.  

Critics say the Senate measure would amount to an authorization for continuing government bailouts of the financial industry.

On Capitol Hill, minority Republicans have softened opposition to Senate legislation, but negotiations continue on provisions.  Democrats hope for a vote by next week.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs