Thursday, April 22, 2010

Obama to Wall Street: ‘Join Us, Instead of Fighting Us’; Steve Schwartzman doesn't get it

This related story seems an apt introduction to Obama's words:

Wall Street's know-it-alls can't tell right from wrong
By Steven Pearlstein
Washington Post
April 23, 2010

I know you'll all be comforted, as I was Wednesday, by the public vote of confidence from Steve Schwartzman, chief executive of private equity giant Blackstone Group, when he said that his firm would continue to do business with Goldman Sachs and that he's never had a shred of doubt about the investment bank's ethical character.

So let me get this straight. Goldman Sachs is now relying on the character reference of a Wall Street sharpie who notoriously snookered investors into buying non-controlling shares of a private equity firm at the very moment when a credit-induced takeover bubble was about to burst...

Obama to Wall Street: ‘Join Us, Instead of Fighting Us’
Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
April 22, 2010

President Obama challenged some of the nation’s most influential bankers on Thursday to call off their “battalions of financial industry lobbyists” and embrace a new regulatory structure meant to avert another economic crisis.

Speaking in the bankers’ backyard, at the Cooper Union in Manhattan, Mr. Obama castigated a “failure of responsibility” by Wall Street for having led to the financial crisis of 2008, and he pressed his case for what he called “a common-sense, reasonable, non-ideological” system of tighter regulation to prevent any recurrence. He took issue with the claim that his proposal would institutionalize the idea of future bailouts of huge banks.

“That may make for a good sound bite, but it’s not factually accurate,” Mr. Obama said. “It is not true. In fact, the system as it stands is what led to a series of massive, costly taxpayer bailouts...

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