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Goldman Sachs on mortgage crisis: 'Serious money' to be made

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Major domestic automakers General Motors and Chrysler were in deep trouble last year, dropping some 400,000 jobs. Washington stepped in, providing more than $60 billion in aid.

“Many believed this was a fool’s errand,” Obama said in his radio/web address Saturday. “But we decided that while providing additional assistance was a risk, the far greater risk to families and communities across our country was to do nothing.”

Obama points to improvements in the auto industry since then: added jobs, loan payback, and profitability at Chrysler for the first time in three years.

As Obama acknowledges, “We still have a ways to go.” And there are questions about the way in which GM has paid back Uncle Sam, raised by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley this week in a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

But for Obama, the segue from Detroit to Wall Street is clear: “Part of what led to the crisis in our auto industry – and one of the main causes of the economic downturn – were problems in our financial sector. In the absence of common-sense rules, Wall Street firms took enormous, irresponsible risks that imperiled our financial system – and hurt just about every sector of our economy.”

That’s why Obama went to Manhattan Thursday, telling an audience at Cooper Union college that included some of America’s richest bankers that reform is "in the interest of your industry."

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