Shame on you – Obama blasts Wall Street

US President-elect - Barack Obama
US President-elect - Barack Obama

Barack Obama scolded Wall Street Thursday for a me-first mind-set that fed the financial meltdown – and held up financier Bernie Madoff as exhibit A for greed.

“There needs to be a shift in ethics on Wall Street,” Obama said as he tapped a new top cop at the Securities Exchange Commission, Wall Street regulator Mary Schapiro.

He said Congress, the White House, regulators and financial fat cats all share blame for the economic free fall.

“We have been asleep at the switch,” Obama said.

He pointed to Madoff, the accused $50 billion fraudster, as proof “of how badly reform is needed.”

As the President-elect was painting him as the worst example, Madoff spent his first full day wearing an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor his movements.

He is confined to his $7 million upper East Side penthouse, and he and his wife were ordered to surrender their passports.

Authorities say Madoff carried out his astounding Ponzi scheme despite 10 years of tips of something amiss to the feds, who apparently failed to follow up.

“I think the American people right now are feeling frustrated that there’s not a lot of adult supervision out there,” Obama said.
He conceded that some Wall Street shenanigans can beat even the best regulators, but he tried to shame highfliers into doing the right thing.

“We can have the best regulators in the world,” Obama said. “But everybody from CEOs to shareholders to investors are going to have to be asking themselves, not only is this profitable, not only whether this will boost my bonus, but is it right?”

Rep. Anthony Weiner jumped in to pile on Madoff, standing outside the alleged scammer’s apartment to demand prosecutors yank his $10 million bail.

The Brooklyn-Queens congressman insisted it would be a “mistake” to leave Madoff free because the 70-year-old might flee.

With Wall Street hijinks in the spotlight, Obama pledged to push reforms quickly, including consolidating federal watchdogs.

“This will be one of my earliest initiatives,” Obama said.

Along with announcing Schapiro, Obama named former Goldman Sachs partner Gary Gensler to head the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Georgetown law Prof. Daniel Tarullo to be a new governor of the Federal Reserve.

Source: Daily News

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