Obama is coming to Wall Street.

The President will laying out his case for legislation at 11:55 to crack down on Wall Street regulation.  “One of the most significant contributors to this recession was a financial crisis as dire as any we’ve known in generations,” Obama will say, according to excerpts from his speech released by the White House.  “And that crisis was born of a failure of responsibility — from Wall Street to Washington — that brought down many of the world’s largest financial firms and nearly dragged our economy into a second Great Depression.  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.” 

The President needs just one Republican vote (or two non-votes) to pass the 1,336-page Financial Reform Bill authored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd which aims to bring new oversight to hedge funds and derivatives while cracking down on risky bank trading and to put in place protections for consumers of financial products.  It will also establish a system for unwinding troubled financial companies to (theoretically) prevent a repeat of past catastrophes with BSC, LEH and AIG.  

The House of Representatives approved a bill in December that called for the most sweeping regulatory changes since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The House bill embraced most of a comprehensive package of financial reform proposals introduced by Obama in 2009.  The Senate version, if passed, would have to be reconciled in joint committee with the House before it goes to Obama for his signature and becomes law.  Meanwhile, the IMF has a proposal on the table to tax bank balance sheets that some analysts suggest will cut pre-tax profits by as much as 20% if the measure moves forward

And speaking of catastrophes that need unwinding – Greece has sent the Pound and the Euro back to recent lows and has Europe down about a point as The EU says Greece’s budget deficit last year was worse than it previously forecast and could top 14 percent of gross domestic product as “off- market swaps” cloud its estimates.  The EU’s statistics office said today Greece’s deficit was 13.6 percent last year, higher than the government’s April 7 forecast of 12.9 percent. The EU forecast a shortfall of 12.7 percent in…
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