Today, President Obama gave a speech in New York City on the first anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, in which he discussed the urgent need for financial regulatory reform:
We will not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess that was at the heart of this crisis, where too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses. Those on Wall Street cannot resume taking risks without regard for consequences, and expect that next time, American taxpayers will be there to break their fall. And that’s why we need strong rules of the road to guard against the kind of systemic risks that we’ve seen. And we have a responsibility to write and enforce these rules to protect consumers of financial products, to protect taxpayers, and to protect our economy as a whole.
Speaker Pelosi on the President’s speech and upcoming Congressional action on reform:
Less than one year ago, congressional Democrats took strong actions for oversight, accountability, and taxpayer protections as part of the Bush Administration's $700 billion plan to address the financial crisis. Now, these protections are beginning to bear fruit. In 11 months, taxpayers have earned a 17 percent annualized rate of return on TARP investments that two dozen financial firms have fully repaid.
While our financial markets and our broader economy are showing encouraging trends, President Obama is correct that we cannot afford to return to the business-as-usual, anything-goes mindset that brought our financial system to the brink of collapse and that resulted in staggering losses in Americans' hard-earned life savings. We must rebuild our economy to be stronger than ever before, and ensure that prosperity is broadly shared in our nation.
Essential to our efforts are both getting to the bottom of the causes of the financial crisis, and enacting strong reforms to our system of financial regulation to ensure that such a crisis never happens again. This week, the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission established by Congress will hold its first public hearing.
And this fall, Congress will pass comprehensive reforms of our system of financial regulation. In doing so, we will restore the faith of consumers, investors, and the business community in the fairness, transparency, and competitiveness of our financial markets.