Belfast Telegraph

Change or we're doomed warns Obama

US President Barack Obama has stressed that the mistakes that led to the economic meltdown of the past few years must never be allowed to happen again.

Without laws imposing stronger scrutiny of the financial industry, America is doomed to repeat the past, he said.

In a speech at New York's Cooper Union college, near Wall Street, Mr Obama outlined the need for new financial regulations and explained what the nation would be risking if the existing framework is allowed to remain in place unchanged.

The President also called on Wall Street to join - not fight - the overhaul effort.

Mr Obama spoke at Cooper Union as a presidential candidate in March 2008 and decried practices that he said too often rewarded financial manipulation instead of productivity and sound business practices.

"I take no satisfaction in noting that my comments have largely been borne out by the events that followed," he said.

"But I repeat what I said then because it is essential that we learn the lessons of this crisis, so we don't doom ourselves to repeat it. And make no mistake, that is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass - an outcome that is unacceptable to me and to the American people."

He added: "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. What happens here has real consequences across our country."

The sweeping regulation, representing the broadest attempt to overhaul the US financial system since the 1930s, aims to prevent another crisis. Democrats are preparing to bring the Senate version of the bill up for debate, but solid Republican opposition has complicated the effort. The House passed its version of the bill in December.