Obama vows substantial Wall Street overhaul

President-elect Barack Obama on Wednesday warned “Wall Street has not worked” and promised a “substantial overhaul” of United States financial markets in the wake of the worst economic crisis in generations.

In an interview with CNBC a day ahead of his major speech on Thursday laying out details of his economic stimulus package, Obama did not rule out the plan growing beyond its current near-$800-billion price tag.

“Wall Street has not worked, our regulatory system has not worked the way it’s supposed to,” Obama said.

“So it’s going to be a substantial overhaul. We’re going to have better enforcement, better oversight, better disclosure, increased transparency.

“We’re going to have to look at this alphabet soup of agencies and figure out how do we get them to work together more effectively.”

Obama also indicated that the stimulus plan that will shortly be taken up by Congress could also expand in size.

“We’ve seen ranges from $800-billion to $1,3-trillion and our attitude was that given the legislative process, if we start towards the low end of that, we’ll see how it develops,” he said.

Also in the interview, Obama, who will be inaugurated on January 20, said he would soon lay out a plan to prevent mortgage foreclosures and said he hopes the US economy will grow again in the second half of the year.

Obama is set to make public more details of his economic stimulus plan, which Democrats hope to pass through Congress by mid-February, in a speech in Washington’s Virginia suburbs on Thursday.

Presidential transition officials said the address would make the case for “urgent action” on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, designed to save or create three million jobs. - AFP

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