When it comes to reforming Wall Street, President Obama is all talk, according to Eliot Spitzer.
The former New York governor took to Reuters TV’s Fast Forward with Chrystia Freeland to slam the president for what he says is a talk-tough, act-weak approach to the financial industry, which less than five years ago brought the global economy to the brink of disaster.
“I’m not persuaded that this President has really been a voice for reform when it comes to Wall Street,” he said. “Wall Street has pretended that it has taken its hits, but it really hasn’t.”
Spitzer summarized Obama’s efforts as the “occasional speech” criticizing Wall Street practices, largely followed by little to no substantial legislative action.
“When it has come to actually putting in place the reform-based structure that would actually have changed the way the banking system works, he has really been on Wall Street’s side since day one,” Spitzer said.
Spitzer criticized the Obama administration for what he perceives as opposition to the Volcker Rule, a key piece of financial reform that aimed to curb banks’ high-risk bets with their own money. Such trading has been criticized for pitting banks against their own clients. The president first introduced the rule more than two years ago, calling it a “simple and common-sense reform” at the time.
Spitzer also claims the White House did not fight to give judges the ability to reform mortgages in the wake of the housing collapse.
“The White House and Treasury intervened to defeat that in the Senate, something that could have fundamentally altered the course of our mortgage crisis that still continues to this day,” he said.