Sunday, January 17, 2010

Obama confident his proposed bank fee will become law

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- President Barack Obama said Saturday that he's determined his proposal to require banks repay taxpayers for financial-crisis aid through a special 10-year fee will become law.

"We're not going to let Wall Street take the money and run. We're going to pass this fee into law. And I'm going to continue to work with Congress on common-sense financial reforms to protect people and the economy from the kind of costly and painful crisis we've just been through," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

The "Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee" proposed by Obama Thursday would total at least $90 billion over 10 years. The fee would be charged to financial institutions with more than $50 billion in assets. The assessment would remain in place for at least 10 years, or until all losses from the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP were repaid. Ten firms will pay 60% of the tax. Read more about the proposed fee.

"Those who oppose this fee say the banks can't afford to pay back the American people without passing on the costs to their shareholders and customers. But that's hard to believe when there are reports that Wall Street is going to hand out more money in bonuses and compensation just this year than the cost of this fee over the next ten years," Obama said.

"If the big financial firms can afford massive bonuses, they can afford to pay back the American people," he said. "After a very tough two years, after a crisis that has caused so much havoc, if there is one lesson that we can learn, it's this: we cannot return to business as usual."

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