April 22, 2010

Good strategy. They're really going to look bad if they openly work against financial reform. What they'll do when no one's looking, well, that's another story:

President Obama challenged some of the nation’s most influential bankers on Thursday to call off their “battalions of financial industry lobbyists” and embrace a new regulatory structure meant to avert another economic crisis.

Speaking in the bankers’ backyard, at the Cooper Union in Manhattan, Mr. Obama castigated a “failure of responsibility” by Wall Street that led to the financial crisis of 2008, and he pressed his case for what he called “a common-sense, reasonable, non-ideological” system of tighter regulation to prevent any recurrence. He took issue with the claim that his proposal would institutionalize the idea of future bailouts of huge banks.

“That may make for a good sound bite, but it’s not factually accurate,” Mr. Obama said. “It is not true. In fact, the system as it stands is what led to a series of massive, costly taxpayer bailouts. And it’s only with reform that we can we avoid a similar outcome in the future. In other words, a vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to taxpayer-funded bailouts. That’s the truth. End of story.”

He said scrupulous business leaders had no reason to resist his regulation plan. “The only people who ought to fear the kind of oversight and transparency that we’re proposing are those whose conduct will fail this scrutiny,” he said.

He wants the following items included in the final bill:

    Protect taxpayers from too-big-to-fail firms

Impose the Volcker rule, named for former Fed Chair Paul Volcker, which stops firms from making large bets with their own money, or “proprietary trading”

Make derivatives trades transparent

Create a consumer protection agency

Institute pay reforms to give investors a say over executive pay.

Market reaction? A shrug.

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