business economics politics

US presidents on banking

President Obama addressed Wall Street yesterday, marking one year since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

“There are some in the financial industry who are misreading this moment” he warned. “Instead of learning the lessons of Lehman and the crisis from which we are recovering, they are choosing to ignore them. We will not go back to the days of reckless behaviour and unchecked excess that were at the heart of this crisis, where too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses.”

Despite the strong words, the financial system remains pretty much intact, and with all the same underlying weaknesses. It is still elitist, unstable, and founded on usurious interest and unimaginable debt. The banks will fail again, because the whole system is unsustainable. Still, credit to Obama for telling them off. He is not the first president to do so. Here are four more:

“I sincerely believe… that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.”
Thomas Jefferson (1801 – 1809)

“Whoever controls the money in any country is master of all its legislation and commerce.”
James Garfield (1881)

“Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who, even if their action be honest and intended for the public interest, are necessarily concentrated upon the great undertakings in which their own money is involved and who necessarily, by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom.”
Woodrow Wilson (1913 – 1921)

And my personal favourite, said to the bankers at the Bank of America:

“You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the Eternal God, I will rout you out!”
Andrew Jackson (1829 – 1837)

That, to be honest, is the kind of thing I’d like to hear from Obama and Gordon Brown.


  1. We can’t rely on politicians to act against the financial establishment, particularly the banks.

    So we have to build a grass-roots movement that will demand change when they know about the scams the banks are perpetrating.

    So we have to inform and educate people about the issue. How?

    One way is to get them to enter ‘Monetary Reform’ into a Google search engine.

  2. Why is it that members if “Make Wealth History” have not responded to this post?

    Is it because they all agree with it? I hope so. In that case why don’t they say so?

    Perhaps they disagree.

    I can’t believe that. A stable and sustainable banking system is a prerequisite for a stable economy. It is the present system of fractional reserve banking that is driving the necessity of growth by its debt based money.

    1. I agree, a sustainable banking system is vital. We’ve been supporting the Positive Money campaign and the New Economics Foundation, to name just two grassroots groups working in this field.

      Sorry for the delay in replying!

Leave a Reply to Jeremy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: