Obama sets course for Wall Street giants
WASHINGTON (AP) – From simple home loans to Wall Street’s most exotic schemes, the government would impose and enforce sweeping new “rules of the road” for the nation’s battered financial system under an overhaul proposed Wednesday by President Barack Obama.
Aimed at preventing a repeat of the worst economic crisis in seven decades, the changes would begin to reverse a determined campaign pressed in the 1980s by President Ronald Reagan to cut back on federal regulations.
Obama’s plan would do little to streamline the alphabet soup of agencies that oversee the financial sector. But it calls for fundamental shifts in authority that would eliminate one regulatory agency, create another and both enhance and undercut the authority of the powerful Federal Reserve.
The new agency, a consumer protection office, would specifically take over oversight of mortgages, requiring that lenders give customers the option of “plain vanilla” plans with straightforward and affordable terms. Lenders who repackage loans and sell them to investors as securities would be required to retain 5 percent of the credit risk – a figure some analysts believe is too low.
Obama: More benefits to same-sex partners first step
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama signaled to gay-rights activists Wednesday that he’s listening to their desire for greater equality in “a more perfect union.” But he didn’t give them even close to everything they want, bringing to the surface an anger that’s been growing against the president.
“We all have to acknowledge this is only one step,” Obama said.
But the president’s critics – and there were many – saw the incremental move to expand gay rights as little more than pandering to a reliably Democratic voting bloc, with the primary aim not of making policy more fair but of cutting short a fundraising boycott.
“When a president tells you he’s going to be different, you believe him,” said John Aravosis, a Washington-based gay activist.
“It’s not that he didn’t follow through on his promises, he stabbed us in the back.”