Obama highlights importance of Wall Street reform


U.S. President Barack Obama. AP FILE PHOTO

WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama on Saturday underscored the importance of Wall Street reforms passed on his watch, saying they will help end taxpayer-funded bailouts of troubled companies.

“That’s what Wall Street reform is all about – looking out for working families and making sure that everyone is playing by the same rules,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

“Wall Street reform also created the first-ever independent consumer watchdog, whose sole job is to look out for you,” the president added.

Signed by Obama into law in July 2010, the measure created new regulatory agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, whose job is to exercise control over financial markets to avoid excesses that had led to the 2008 financial crisis.

The measure, which imposed limits on large and complex financial instruments and made the derivative market more transparent, also introduced new requirements for credit rating agencies and gave company shareholders a say about bonuses paid to their chief executives.

Obama expressed regret that many Republicans in Congress, backed by industry lobbyists, were fighting these reforms, trying to de-fund and dismantle them.

The president also said he had faith in free markets, albeit with certain controls.

“I believe that the free market is one of the greatest forces for progress in human history, and that the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector, not the government,” he said.

Obama added that he believed that “the free market has never been about taking whatever you want, however you can get it.”

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