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Obama: Tougher Wall Street rules needed

On the eve of the G-20 summit of world leaders, President Obama told Americans Saturday he wants tougher rules for Wall Street, saying that stopping the economic "bleeding" is not enough.

Mr. Obama said after passing the economic stimulus he wants to strengthen the rules that govern financial markets.

"To protect our economy and people from another market meltdown, our government needs to fundamentally reform the rules governing financial firms and markets to meet the challenges of the 21st century," Mr. Obama said in his weekly radio address, also posted at WhiteHouse.gov. "We cannot allow the thirst for reckless schemes that produce quick profits and fat executive bonuses to override the security of our entire financial system and leave taxpayers on the hook for cleaning up the mess."

Mr. Obama said America must lead by example to help the global economy.

On Thursday Mr. Obama will head to Pittsburgh to meet with leaders from the world's 20 largest economies, a G-20 summit he said would serve as a "five-month checkup" on the steps each nation took to deal with the global crisis following their last meeting in April in London.

"The good news is that we've made real progress since last time we met — here at home and around the world," Mr. Obama said. "Because of the steps taken by our nation and all nations, we can now say that we have stopped our economic freefall. But we also know that stopping the bleeding isn't nearly enough."

Mr. Obama said there was a need for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to implement new rules that he said would protect consumers from the market abuse that led to the economic crisis. He said the agency would offer clear and clearly enforced rules that would, for example, end the practice of homeowners misunderstanding financial offers or taking loans they couldn't afford.

"Consumers shouldn't have to worry about loan contracts written to confuse, hidden fees attached to their mortgages, and financial penalties — whether through a credit card or debit card that appear without a clear warning on their statements," he said. "And responsible lenders, including community banks, trying to do the right thing shouldn't have to worry about ruinous competition from unregulated and unscrupulous competitors."

The president delivered a similar message Monday on Wall Street, and Congress this month will debate a package of new financial regulation proposals.

Mr. Obama closed by offering a new year greeting for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

About the Author

Christina Bellantoni

Christina Bellantoni is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times in Washington, D.C., a post she took after covering the 2008 Democratic presidential campaigns. She has been with The Times since 2003, covering state and Congressional politics before moving to national political beat for the 2008 campaign. Bellantoni, a San Jose native, graduated from UC Berkeley with ...

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