"A free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it," President Obama will declare in a speech at Cooper Union today, according to excerpts released last night. "That is what happened too often in the years leading up to the crisis. Some on Wall Street forgot that behind every dollar traded or leveraged, there is family looking to buy a house, pay for an education, open a business, or save for retirement." And so at this very moment, Tea Party protesters are mobilizing in NYC to drown out Obama's Commie message.
One week after an anti-tax day Tea Party rally at the James A. Farley Post Office drew several hundred demonstrators, some of the same disgruntled citizens are expected to rally for the cameras once again, to protest... against regulating Wall Street fat cats. There's a slight cognitive dissonance here, since the Tea Party movement rose to prominence by exploiting outrage over the Wall Street bailouts, but, hey, that's never stopped them before. "Look, we need reform," David Webb, a Republican radio host and Tea Party organizer tells Crain's. "We need to enforce the current laws on the books and update certain laws to have the proper controls in place. I don't think any rational person can say otherwise. But we don't need the federal government to have more control."
The bill currently before the Senate calls for "regulating any institution with access to government funds, as well as products like derivatives, regardless of what entity offered them; requiring banks to hold more capital as a cushion against crises; streamlining the number of regulatory agencies to make them more accountable; and creating a new council to monitor systemic risks," Deal Book reports.
Obama's second appearance at Cooper Union comes two years after his famous campaign speech in the historic hall, during which he promised to "establish a 21st century regulatory system." This final push for reform of the financial industry began immediately after the health care reform bill passed. One White House source tells the Washington Post, "We are doing the kind of blitz that you saw at the end of health care on regulation reform." And it's hurting Republican's feelings! An unidentified GOP aide moans, "His rhetoric got really sharp and really mean" in the last two weeks.
There has been speculation that the S.E.C.'s civil suit against Goldman Sachs was orchestrated by the White House to coincide with Obama's closing arguments for Wall Street reform. In an interview with CNBC, the President categorically denied that rumor, insisting, "The S.E.C. is an entirely independent agency...and they never discussed anything with us." Goldman has spent $1.2 million on lobbying against regulation in the first three months of 2010, and six of the top 10 U.S. banks dramatically increased PAC donations to lawmakers last month. "They're all in to defeat reform," Ed Mierzwinski at U.S. Public Interest Research Group tells the Daily News.