Obama Pushes For Wall Street Reform at Manhattan Fundraiser — Gets Laughed At

by Ben Hoffman

Obama, who is pushing stiff financial regulations, worked his way up to addressing the tension in the room, but he eventually criticized Wall Street in its own backyard and challenged the financial industry workers who paid $30,400-a-couple to attend the event to support his efforts.

“While I’m in New York, I want to stress something about this financial reform effort,” Obama said, pointing out that he believes the industry is “essential to a healthy economy”

“But we also know we should never again have to face potential calamity because of reckless speculation and deceptive practices and short sightedness and self-interestedness from a few.

“So if there are members of the financial industry in the audience today,” Obama said, eliciting chuckles and oohs from the well-heeled crowd, “I would ask that you join us in passing what are necessary reforms. Don’t fight them.”

Obama cast the reforms he’s proposing as ones that will benefit, not harm, the financial industry.

“This is important for our country and in the long run it will be good for the financial industry to have a level playing field in which everybody knows the rules and everybody knows the rules will be enforced,” he said.


The opportunity for serious reform may have already passed. Wall Street — or at least Goldmann-Sachs — is raking in the profits and the bonuses are being passed around like cake at a child’s birthday party. With the current structure, crime does pay, and it pays very, very well.

20 Comments to “Obama Pushes For Wall Street Reform at Manhattan Fundraiser — Gets Laughed At”

  1. Ben, I fear it is too late. The right time to begin serious and deep reform was January 21. And now I’m going to grab a diet coke and watch Frontline from last night. All about the boys who got us here.

  2. Wall Street — or at least Goldmann-Sachs — is raking in the profits

    Today you purchased something. You weren’t forced to, it was voluntary. IN essance, you traded the representation of your time [$] for the thing you purchased. You MUST have felt that you made a good deal. That the thing you purchased was worth more to you than the time represented by the money. And, so did the vendor.

    The profit the vendor has in his hand is the value to you of that trade. There can not be profit if there is not an exchange of value. Profit then, is a representation of the value created. It’s NOT a representation of what wrong with the world, it’s a representation of whats good with the world.


    • [Profit then, is a representation of the value created.]

      Not necessarily. If someone runs a ponzi-scheme and makes a profit, where was the value created? That’s exactly what’s going on on Wall St.

      Another example is private health insurance. All they do is take money from the insured and hand it over to the medical facilities and doctors. Where’s the value added in that? Why should CEOs of those insurance companies be earning 10s and even 100s of thousands of dollars a year?

  3. Mr. Hoffman,

    This fundraiser was an old Chicago mob protection racket shake down. Here is what our President left unsaid. ‘You Wall streeters are here to pay protection money. You know it and I know it. Those of your competitors who are not here WILL hear from my ACORN mob and the IRS.’

    As far as health insurance companies, you only know what your puppet masters have told you. Every place that OBAMA type care has been tried, it is a disaster. Prove me wrong. And yes it has been tried.

    What do you think will happen when the private insurers, you know those evilllll guys, are gone?????

    • [Every place that OBAMA type care has been tried, it is a disaster.]

      You have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re just spouting right-wing talking points.

      First of all, there is no such thing as Obama type care since they’re still working on what the reform will actually be. It will include new regulation, but they have yet to include the public option, which you probably think is the same thing as what they have in Canada. Canada has a single payer system, which is far different than a government option for health insurance.

      Second, we’re the ONLY developed nation on earth with FOR PROFIT health insurance. Other countries that have private insurance cannot operate for profit.

      Third, one could make the point that private insurance in our country is a miserable failure. It’s expensive, they actually DO have death panels, they deny coverage when they can because covering expensive procedures cuts into their profits, and CEOs make ridiculous salaries. They operate at a 20% overhead. That means $20 out of every $100 we pay for our insurance goes towards administration.

    • Gosh Allan, do you really think the government is shaking down Wall Street? Where have you been man? May I assume that it’s perfectly all right with you for someone to pay themselves $28 million because they did such a bang up job making money with the dollars the taxpayers loaned them? Even before they’d paid the loan back? Even if they may never pay the loan back?

      You say to Ben:
      [As far as health insurance companies, you only know what your puppet masters have told you.]
      Don’t know how old you are Allan, but I’m glad to tell you I’m 66 and have sufficient life experience of insurances and our ‘health care’ industry to assure you that Ben is absolutely correct and I’m afraid you have it all wrong. The private insurers will be with us for a long time to come, which is too bad, because they suck the blood right out of a pretty good medical system. Talk about getting between you and your doctor – those guys have perfected the art.

  4. Mr. Hoffman and Moe,

    Yes Obama-care is still being shaped. The back room deals protecting everybody’s rear end that are being cut right now would make a wall streeter turn green with envy. Do you have the naivete to really believe Washington politicians are less corrupt and selfish than private insurers?

    As far as Obama-care in the US being already in place, please let me educate, you the unwashed. In the New England States, they actually have a track record of Government mandated health care. Each state has it’s own variation. Between them I am confident everything that could possibly be in the final Obama-care bill is being tried.

    To quote National Review, “Health care costs more in New England than it does anywhere else in the country.Insurance companies have fled the region, leading to less competition and higher premiums.”

    I have a lot more on the specifics in New England if you have the guts to challenge me on them.

    By the way Moe my name has one l. I’m quite sensitive about the spelling and I am a dozen years junior to you.

    • Alan it is then. I’m from New England – spent 50 years there. You may be entirely correct about the costs of health care in my home region. I don’t know. the only state I’m aware of that has a full blown system is Massachusetts. But okay, let’s give you that. The costs are higher than elsewhere. However, measuring by cost alone is not measuring at all. Like anything else, cost informs us only in the terms of value received, as Ben said a few days ago. In the case of health care, the value received is outcomes. New England has the best statistics in the country for outcomes; less infant mortality, longer lives, better disease treatment . . . they get a better product and they pay more. And that’s the way it’s supposed to work I thought.

  5. Moe,

    You cannot leave costs out. That is the most central issue. If costs were not, we would not be talking now. If everyone could afford it, health care would be easy. President Obama himself said it was about cost. If we did nothing about cost it would economically destroy us.

    It’s easy in the world of cost shifting to also shift the truth. I know you liberals do not believe that over taxing business and the wealthy can have bad consequences, but I say it can.

    Obama should let the experiments in New England play out before he destroys my health care. I am confident that the New England states policies will be disasters long term, unless Obama bails them out by letting them roll their unfunded liabilities on to me and the rest of America.

    Somebody, anybody show me where I’m wrong. Believe me I hope I am.

    • Alan – didn’t say leave costs out – I said put them into context. Otherwise they cannot be measured in any way at all. May as well say it’s all gonna cost fiftygajillion.

      Rolling costs onto you? How about the trillions lostin the market crash; the bailouts; the TARP. The money will always go somewhere – gov’t or private, you are never going to keep it all. May as well get something for it.

      • Conservatives hate paying taxes for government services but don’t mind paying for multi-million dollar CEO salaries.

      • It’s kind of like health care. People don’t mind insurance company bureaucrats. But dealing with government bureaucrats would surely bring down the nation. Plus private bureaucrats are much better looking.

  6. Hey guys this sure is fun, but back to business. Nobody forces a corporation to pay the CEOs big salaries. It is what they do to attract top talent. Kinda like the Yankees. Do they over pay at times, sure. Do they get screwed sometimes, sure. It is their money, just like it’s Steinbrenner’s money.

    Should taxpayers bail them out? No. Is it your business or Barak Hussein Obama’s business what private enterprise pays it’s hired help???? No! You see I can call him Hussein now,cause it ain’t racist since he was inaugurated with it. Hypocrisy, you bet you sweet asterisk it is.

    Paying taxes to a conservative is like taking an emetic. Enacting taxes that other people pay is like Crack Cocaine to a Progressive.

    • In theory, I agree with you. If a corporation screws up, they should have to suffer the consequences. But the problem here is our economy and much of the world economy is at the mercy of these financial giants, so if they suffer, we suffer.

    • Alan, one (final, please!) word on this Wall Street stuff. If all those huge salaries were worth it in order to get the best talent, how come that talent failed – utterly. And I’m with you and Ben that they should have suffered the penalty for their failure. Instead, they got bonuses they didn’t earn and we bailed them out with your money and mine. And that’s after the money we lost because it was invested and they lost it for us because they played craps while drunk. That is NOT capitalism. That is criminal.

      And yes, I do believe in taxes. Cuz I like roads and police and firefighters and the internet (invented by the US military) and TV and radio (government brought the airwaves into usable form for the public). I also like having a literate populace, I like being able to vote (they pay for elections too). I like mail. I like the polio vaccine. I like that we ended the scourge of smallpox. I like that my nephew was able to captain his US Navy vessel to Indonesia after the last terrible tsunami. Hell, I like having a Navy. I like clean water to drink. I like Lake Superior not being on fire. I like the Hudson River having actual fish in it again. I like all the amazing equipment and municipal employees who raced to the World Trade center to help. Our tax dollars make all that possible. And I”m not willing to give it up.

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