Barack Obama Delivers His Withering Smackdown To Wall Street

Photo: CNBC

12:17: And that’s it. Nothing too radical.

12:16: “I ask you to join me, not only because it’s in the interest of your industry, but because it’s in the interest of your country.”

12:15: Obama quotes from a Time Magazine 1933 article.

“Through the great banking houses of Manhattan last week ran wild-eyed alarm.  Big bankers stared at one another in anger and astonishment.  A bill just passed … would rivet upon their institutions what they considered a monstrous system…  Such a system, they felt, would not only rob them of their pride of profession but would reduce all U.S. banking to its lowest level.”  That appeared in Time Magazine – in June of 1933.  The system that caused so much concern and consternation?  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – the FDIC – an institution that has successfully secured the deposits of generations of Americans.

12:12: Always tension between laissez-faire  desires and need for rules.

12:11: Closing comments… I have laid out a set of reforms. Let’s face it, we also need reform in Washington.

12:09: Final key: say on pay, limting bonuses.

12:09: “Unless your business model depends on bilking people, there’s little to fear from these new ruls.” (Good line)

12:07: “This bill would enact the strongest consumer protections ever.”

12:06: Good sign. Things are moving forward.

12:05: There is a legitimate role of derivatives. References airline fuel hedging. He’s OK with the vanilla stuff.

12:04: Reform will bring new transparency. Many practices were so complex, people inside the firm didn’t understand.

12:02: The bill will enact the Volcker rule. Calls out “tall guy” siting in the front row.

12:02: “What’s not legitimate is to propose that the legislation is going to encourage future bailouts.”

12:01: Talking Lehman fallout and collateral damage.

11:58: Calls out lobbyists and financial sector workers in the audience.

11:57: Some on Wall Street forgot that behind every dollar traded, there’s a family looking to buy a house…

11:56: “I believe in a strong financial sector… a free market was never meant to be a free licence to take whatever you can get.”

11:55: Financial crisis was a major contributor to the recession.

11:53: America is adding jobs again. But we haven’t truly recovered yet.

11:53: “Our country has been through a terrible trial.”

11:52: It’s good to be back in Manhattan, a few blocks from Wall Street.

11:51: He’s staring early and thanking attendees.


We’ll be covering the speech LIVE at 11:55.

Right now it’s just an empty podium.

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