Reckless Wall Street hammered Main Street across US: Obama

Reckless Wall Street hammered Main Street across US: Obama

"The first thing we had to do then was mount an aggressive response to make sure that this terrible recession didn't turn into another Great Depression.

Let's face it, that required some tough steps to stabilise the financial sector. Some of those steps weren't popular," he said adding that he took these steps to get America back on its feet.

"It's time to rebuild our economy on a new foundation so that we've got real and sustained growth.

It's time to extend opportunity to every corner of Main Street, in every city and every town and every county in America, so that young people don't feel like they've got to move someplace else to make their way," Obama said.

It's time to create conditions so that Americans who work hard can gain ground again, and they don't have to take out a bunch of credit card debt.

They don't have to endanger their long-term financial future. And that's at the heart of all US efforts, said the US President.

Making a strong pitch for Wall Street reform, Obama said, "We need good old common-sense Wall Street reform. We need it today. We don't need it next year. We don't need to do another study and examine it. We need it now."

Obama said as the crisis went through, some people on Wall Street took unbelievable risks with other people's money.

"They made bets. They were making bets on what was going to happen in the housing market, and they would create these derivatives and all these instruments that nobody understood. But it was basically operating like a big casino," he said.

"And it was producing big profits and big bonuses for them, but it was all built on shaky economics and some of these subprime loans that had been given out.

And because we did not have common-sense rules in place, those irresponsible practices came awfully close to bringing down our entire economy and millions of dreams along with it," Obama said.

"We had a system where some on Wall Street could take these risks without fear of failure, because they keep the profits when it was working, and as soon as it went south, they expected you to cover their losses.

So they failed to consider that behind every dollar that they traded, all that leverage they were generating, acting like it was Monopoly money, there were real families out who were trying to finance a home, or pay for their child's college, or open a business, or save for retirement.

So what's working fine for them wasn't working for ordinary Americans. And we've learnt that clearly. It doesn't work out fine for the country. It's got to change," he asserted.
"We are not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned. I do think at a certain point you've made enough money.

But part of the American way is you can just keep on making it if you're providing a good product or you're providing a good service.

We don't want people to stop fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow the economy," he said.

"We just want them to operate in a way that's fair and honest and in the open, so that we don't have to go through what we've already gone through.

We want to make sure the financial system doesn't just work for Wall Street, but it works for Main Street, too," Obama said.

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