Obama Warns Wall Street to Mend Its Ways

Posted September 14, 2009 at 12:18pm

President Barack Obama said Monday that the economy is beginning to right itself but cautioned Wall Street that it will be forced to mend its ways to prevent another financial crisis. “Although I will never be satisfied while people are out of work and our financial system is weakened, we can be confident that the storms of the past two years are beginning to break,— Obama said in a speech at Federal Hall in the heart of New York’s financial district.Obama said the “need for government involvement to stabilize the financial system— is “waning.— But, pointing to those on Wall Street who he said were ignoring lessons of the crisis and returning to irresponsible ways, Obama said regulation to prevent future financial meltdowns is on the way.“I want them to hear my words: We will not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess at the heart of this crisis, where too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses,— he said. “That’s why we need strong rules of the road to guard against the kind of systemic risks we have seen. And we have a responsibility to write and enforce these rules to protect consumers of financial products, taxpayers and our economy as a whole.—The president said new legislation and regulation is coming to protect consumers and broaden the regulatory net so that all firms are regulated and the authority that they must report to is clear. Obama also urged financial firms to restore “trust— in the market by taking steps on their own to curb improper practices and help consumers.“One of the most important ways to rebuild the system stronger than before is to rebuild trust stronger than before — and you do not have to wait for a new law to do that,— he said. “You don’t have to wait to use plain language in your dealings with consumers.—As he has done in the past, Obama appeared to go out of his way to declare his trust in capitalism.“I’ve always been a strong believer in the power of the free market,— he said. “I believe that jobs are best created not by government, but by businesses and entrepreneurs willing to take a risk on a good idea.—The president said better regulation will improve markets by preventing the type of meltdowns that can destroy them.Republicans continued hammering away on the theme that Obama has so far failed to produce new jobs.“For the average American, the best measure of the economy is whether or not they have a job so they can pay the mortgage, make the car payment and put food on the table,— Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. “For more than 3 million Americans who have lost their jobs this year, the president’s policies have been a failure,— Steele said. “His $787 billion stimulus bill has led to wasteful spending but hasn’t created the jobs he promised. And every time he has wanted to expand the government’s influence over the economy and our daily lives, from his takeover of [General Motors] and banks to his proposed government-run takeover of our health care, it has meant spending more money we don’t have and digging America deeper into debt.—