On Thursday, April 22, President Barack Obama made the case for increased regulation of the financial industry in a televised speech at Cooper Union in New York City. It was widely billed as President Obama's chance to harness the momentum behind reforming Wall Street and move forward the bills being considered in the House and Senate. Those measures face stiff opposition from most of the Republican Party and an army of lobbyists from Wall Street who have the ear of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.
William K. Black thinks President Obama didn't acknowledge a key component in the financial crisis that the bills before Congress won't address — fraud. A former regulator who helped crack down on massive fraud during the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s, Black tells Bill Moyers on THE JOURNAL that, despite evidence of fraud at the top banks, prosecutions seem far away. "If you go back to the savings and loan debacle, we got more than a thousand felony convictions of the elite. These are not, you know, tellers or something. We today have zero convictions, zero indictments, zero arrests of any of the elite, non-prime lenders that, through their fraud, drove this crisis."