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Treasury Strikes Back At Wall Street Lobbyists, GOP Critics

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Treasury's Deputy Secretary Neil Wolin strikes back at critics of financial regulatory reform with a speech today to the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit public policy group.

Wolin, who is often used as a pit bull to push back against Treasury's critics, takes aim at GOP lawmakers and Wall Street lobbyists working to delay and dilute new financial rules and regulations. He forcefully defends the pace and breadth of reforms that are currently being implemented by various agencies and strongly advocates for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a target of particular scorn.

He ends the speech with an emphasis on the need for reform in the wake of the worst crisis since the Great Depression:

Sixth –- and perhaps the most striking criticism of all -– is that we can’t afford these new protections.  Some say that regulatory reform is too costly.  We say that the costliest system of all is one that’s prone to collapse. 

In the absence of the proper protections – in effect, in the absence of the protections that this legislation puts in place – our system descended into a crisis that had tremendous costs to businesses, to the economy, and to the American people.    If we had not moved to reform the system, we would find ourselves still exposed to a cycle of collapses and crisis, with potentially devastating repercussions for the nation.  But we did reform the system.  And we need make sure that agencies have the resources they need to implement the law.    The strategy of some critics to defund enforcement or implementation is part of a larger strategy to undermine the statute and weaken the comprehensive reforms it puts in place.  We cannot afford to let that happen.   We can’t afford it, because the price of reform is a small one compared to the cost of crisis.  We must invest now in building a strong, stable system.  There is no responsible alternative, because if we don’t invest in reform now, we run the unacceptable risk that we will pay dearly later – in jobs, in lost wealth, in foreclosed homes, and in the soundness and security of our entire economy.     

We can’t allow that. 

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