December 5, 2016 – Vice President Joe Biden warned at Georgetown today that the policies that caused the recession of eight years ago are the same ones being proposed today by the incoming administration.
He said policies such as cutting the top income tax rate, deregulation of the financial industry and other measures caused what came to be known as the Great Recession of 2008.
“…We can’t allow the repeal of Dodd-Frank,” Biden said in a talk hosted by was co-hosted by the university’s McDonough School of Business and its Center for Financial Markets and Policy. “We can’t go back to the days when the banks hired bank regulators. We can’t go back to the days when the banks were free to take risks with your, depositors’ money.
Can’t Afford Massive Risks
“We can’t go back to the days when [the banks] take massive risks with the knowledge that taxpayer bailout is around the corner when they fail. We can’t afford that. The country can’t afford that.”
Paul Volcker, former chair of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve (1979-1987), introduced the vice president.
The Volcker Rule, proposed by its namesake in 2010, is part of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, designed to hold Wall Street accountable and protect families from abusive or unfair financial practices.
“For sure, we are on sounder economic footing than when President Obama and Vice President Biden took office,” and thanked Biden, who he said championed his proposal.
A Better Position
Biden noted that the U.S. unemployment rate is down to 4.6 percent and said the Obama administration has done much to curb what he called the reckless financial behavior of the banks and corporate CEOs.
The vice president also said he was more optimistic about America than he has ever been in his 44 years of public service.
“We are in so much better a position than any nation in the world,” Biden said. “We have a workforce that continues to be replaced, because I might add, of the value of immigration.”
He challenged the audience to name any product that has transformed the world in terms of technology that wasn’t made and conceived of in the United States.
“Stamped in the DNA of every American native-born or otherwise,” he said, “[is that] no matter how bad our education system is … no child is ever criticized for challenging orthodoxy, unlike any other country in the world, including our allies.”
“We’re a remarkable country,” he said.
Faith and Power
On a personal note, he said his son, Hunter (C’92), and several of his nieces and nephews graduated from Georgetown.
A request to speak at a Jesuit Volunteer Corps retreat at Georgetown years ago helped him realize that his own Catholic faith and “all the great faiths” had led him to abhor the abuse of power, including economic power.
“There was no speech that I worked harder on,” said Biden. “…It ended up being a significant moment in realizing all the things that have ever gained my emotional commitment, my intellectual effort, all related to the abuse of power.”