President Barack Obama said that the Occupy Wall Street protests are giving voice to Americans who are frustrated by the financial sector's efforts to fight regulation.
During a press conference Thursday, Obama said that Americans will continue to express their anger at the two sets of rules for Wall Street and everyone else.
You're still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly, trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us in the problem in the first place, Obama said. I think people are frustrated and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.
This was Obama's first press conference since the Occupy Wall Street protests began about three weeks ago. Since then, demonstrations against U.S. financial policies and economic priorities have spread to other cities such as Seattle and Boston.
Labor, Democratic Public Officials Starting to Show Support
Labor and Democratic elected officials are beginning to show more support for the demonstrations. Major unions in New York City on Wednesday held a solidarity march with the Occupy Wall Street protesters from City Hall down toward the Financial District.
While dinging the financial sector, Obama said that he supports banks and financial institutions-he defended the bank bailouts that stanched the economic collapse-that do right by their consumers.
A health financial sector must make money in ways other than hidden fees, deceptive practices or derivative cocktails that nobody understands and expose the entire economy to enormous risks, Obama said.
He also chided the financial sector and Congressional Republicans for fighting the administration on issues like Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Now you got these same folks saying we should roll back all those reforms and go back to the way it was before the crisis, he said. [The American people] are frustrated by it.