Source: The White House
This is a full transcript of President Obama’s Speech on Wall Street Reform in Cooper Union. A video is not yet available.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Everybody, please have a seat. Thank you very much. Well, thank you. It is good to be back. (Applause.) It is good to be back in New York, it is good to be back in the Great Hall at Cooper Union. (Applause.)
We’ve got some special guests here that I want to acknowledge. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is here in the house. (Applause.) Governor David Paterson is here. (Applause.) Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. (Applause.) State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is here. (Applause.) The Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg. (Applause.) Dr. George Campbell, Jr., president of Cooper Union. (Applause.) And all the citywide elected officials who are here. Thank you very much for your attendance.
It is wonderful to be back in Cooper Union, where generations of leaders and citizens have come to defend their ideas and contest their differences. It’s also good to be back in Lower Manhattan, a few blocks from Wall Street. (Laughter.) It really is good to be back, because Wall Street is the heart of our nation’s financial sector.
Now, since I last spoke here two years ago, our country has been through a terrible trial. More than 8 million people have lost their jobs. Countless small businesses have had to shut their doors. Trillions of dollars in savings have been lost — forcing seniors to put off retirement, young people to postpone college, entrepreneurs to give up on the dream of starting a company. And as a nation we were forced to take unprecedented steps to rescue the financial system and the broader economy.
And as a result of the decisions we made — some of which, let’s face it, were very unpopular — we are seeing hopeful signs. A little more than one year ago we were losing an average of 750,000 jobs each month. Today, America is adding jobs again. One year ago the economy was shrinking rapidly. Today the economy is growing. In fact, we’ve seen the fastest turnaround in growth in nearly three decades.
But you’re here and I’m here because we’ve got more work to do. Until this progress is felt not just on Wall Street but on Main Street we cannot be satisfied. Until the millions of our neighbors who are looking for work can find a job, and wages are growing at a meaningful pace, we may be able to claim a technical recovery — but we will not have truly recovered. And even as we seek to revive this economy, it’s also incumbent on us to rebuild it stronger than before. We don’t want an economy that has the same weaknesses that led to this crisis. And that means addressing some of the underlying problems that led to this turmoil and devastation in the first place.
Now, one of the most significant contributors to this recession was a financial crisis as dire as any we’ve known in generations — at least since the ’30s. And that crisis was born of a failure of responsibility — from Wall Street all the way to Washington — that brought down many of the world’s largest financial firms and nearly dragged our economy into a second Great Depression. Continue reading