Welcoming Remarks by Former President Barack Obama
with Intro by Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO, Better Markets
Dodd-Frank Act 10th Anniversary Conference
Tuesday, July 21, 2020, 1-5 p.m.
Transcript of Video
President Obama was the first Democrat in more than three decades to win more than half of the popular vote. And, he racked up so many legislative accomplishments that some have compared his first two years to the historic first two years of President Lyndon Johnson’s administration.
But, when he came into office in January 2009, as Dean Bracey said, he faced the worst financial and economic conditions of any President since FDR in the 1930s. He then led through two brutal years of legislative heavy lifting, including the 18 months of fighting for financial reform while at the same time trying to prevent a collapse of the financial system and a second Great Depression.
That would be pretty significant in and of itself, but of course he did that while also enacting sweeping health care reform and advancing so many other domestic, defense and foreign policy issues.
Having done that and with the benefit of now ten years of hindsight, let’s hear what the President has to say about the Dodd-Frank Act and financial reform.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
Hey everybody. It’s great to join you as we mark ten years since I signed into law the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Financial Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
When Joe Biden and I came into office in 2009, we were teetering on the brink of a second Great Depression. Banks were collapsing, credit was freezing up, companies were shedding jobs and closing their doors. And, millions of Americans were losing their homes, incomes, and retirement savings. A lifetime of hard work was evaporating, almost in an instant. So as our administration worked quickly to stop the bleeding and recover from the crisis, we also worked to prevent recklessness on Wall Street from devastating folks on Main Street ever again.
And the reform we passed did just that. It prevented another era of too-big-to-fail. It cracked down an irresponsible behavior. And, it protected Americans from corrupt predatory practices with the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As you all know, passing and implementing this law was not easy.
We were met every step of the way by entrenched and well-funded opposition who tried to block any reform at all, but we kept at it because taxpayers and investors deserve better. We believed our financial system only works, our market is only free, when there are basic safeguards in place to prevent abuse, check excess, and ensure that it is more profitable to play it by the rules than to game the system. And our reforms worked, providing a sturdier foundation to help our financial system weather a future crisis; helping to unleash the largest string of private sector job creation in American history.
Now, in the years since I’ve left office, the same forces that opposed us back then have been doing their best to undermine the law. And while they’ve had some successes, the core of Wall Street reform remains intact. Our reforms are still promoting financial stability. They're still blocking taxpayer bailouts. They’re still protecting consumers and investors. And even with a pandemic that’s added a historic level of joblessness and contraction, so far these reforms have helped prevent the crisis from spiraling into a financial crisis too.
We can’t afford to go back to the days of unchecked recklessness and irresponsibility on Wall Street. We’ve seen how that plays out. We know we can do better; we've proven it. So, I want to end by saying thank you. Not just to those who helped make these reforms real, but all those who are still fighting to improve the law where we can and safeguard it for the years and decades ahead.
Thanks again everybody, have a great conference.