Washington The U.S. needs major changes to its financial system so consumers are better protected, banks fortified and the economy safeguarded from sliding into another Depression, President Barack Obama said Saturday.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama told Congress to act quickly and pass “commonsense rules that will allow our markets to function fairly and freely while reining in the worst practices of the financial industry.”
That, he said, is the central lesson of the current financial crisis that has cost millions of Americans their jobs and nearly caused the collapse of the entire financial system.
“And we fail to heed that lesson at our peril,” Obama said.
The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee is set to begin debate Monday on legislation from its chairman, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., that would give the government unprecedented powers to split up big financial firms, force the industry to pay for its most spectacular failures and create an independent consumer watchdog.