Houston and Bowery, the President on his way to Cooper Union — © Brian Rose
One of the most significant contributors to this recession was a financial crisis as dire as any we’ve known in generations. And that crisis was born of a failure of responsibility – from Wall Street to Washington – that brought down many of the world’s largest financial firms and nearly dragged our economy into a second Great Depression.
It was that failure of responsibility that I spoke about when I came to New York more than two years ago – before the worst of the crisis had unfolded. I take no satisfaction in noting that my comments have largely been borne out by the events that followed. But I repeat what I said then because it is essential that we learn the lessons of this crisis, so we don’t doom ourselves to repeat it. And make no mistake, that is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass – an outcome that is unacceptable to me and to the American people.