The following is a copy of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by The Honorable Barney Frank, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts at the Democratic National Convention, Thursday, September 6, 2012.
When it comes to Wall Street reform, you'd think Republicans have amnesia. Like they've forgotten how we got into the Great Recession in the first place. Did they forget they were in power leading up to the crisis? That it was their plan that set Wall Street free and crashed the economy? Did they forget that this whole crisis started because banks gave out loans they knew people couldn't pay? That those banks were gambling with our money? Using the kinds of financial tricks only Mitt Romney's accountant would understand?
When President Obama got into office, he fought the big banks. He demanded tough regulations to crack down on the Wall Street recklessness that got us into this mess. I was there with him, and we passed a law to end the practices that crashed the economy. Because of Barack Obama, banks won't be able to give you a mortgage if they know you can't pay it back. They won't be able to gamble with your savings account.
But Republicans want to undo all of that. When the law was being written, Republicans fought alongside big banks and lobbyists to block it. Once the bill was signed into law, they tried to strangle it by cutting off funding. But only a few people on the far fringes of their party say they would actually overturn the entire law—people like Michele Bachmann and people like Mitt Romney. It defies logic.
Because of Barack Obama, for the first time, we have an agency whose entire job is to protect consumers. The banks and the credit card companies have plenty of people protecting them—why shouldn't you have someone looking out for you when you want to get a car loan or help your kids pay for college? Why would Mitt Romney be against that? Mitt Romney's saying stop being so mean to Wall Street. These regulations are too complicated for these poor people in the financial industry to understand. Well, you know, what was too complicated for them to understand? Their own razzle-dazzle shenanigans. That's what got us into trouble in the first place. Really, it comes down to a simple question. They want to let Wall Street write its own rules again. But do they have a plan to make sure Wall Street doesn't collapse again and pull us all down with it? If they do, they're keeping it awfully secret.
Now, just recently, Mitt Romney seems to have discovered the middle class. He talks about helping families, even though he made his fortune laying off workers. But that's nothing new for our opponent. He said the same thing when he was running for governor of Massachusetts.
So let me tell you about two Romneys: the real Mitt Romney and the myth of Romney. The myth of Romney is that his financial experience means he knows how to create jobs. As governor of Massachusetts, the real Mitt Romney's record on job creation was terrible. During his term, net job growth was less than one percent, about one-fifth the national average, 47th in the country. The myth of Romney is that he never raised our taxes. In fact, the real Mitt Romney called his tax hikes "fees." And in his first year alone, he raised fees more than any other governor in office. Some of those fees? Mitt created a $10 fee for a "certificate of blindness." He increased the cremation inspection fee from $50 to $75. Maybe he didn't call them taxes, but they felt like taxes.
The myth of Romney is that he worked hard to bring employment opportunities to Massachusetts. The real Mitt Romney did no such thing. During his time in the governor's office, manufacturing jobs were leaving our state at twice the national rate.
Today, the real Mitt Romney has chosen for his vice president one of the most conservative elected officials in Washington. The real Mitt Romney would lower taxes for millionaires and billionaires—which would blow a hole in the deficit. In fact, the Romney-Ryan budget would have made Mitt's total tax rate less than one percent.
And that's just the beginning. The Romney-Ryan budget turns Medicare into a voucher program—and then bankrupts it by 2016. It would slash Pell Grants and Head Start. It would pull teachers out of classrooms and cops off the street. And even after all that, the only way Romney and Ryan could pay for their millionaire tax cuts would be to stick the middle class with the bill.
That's the real Mitt Romney. The Mitt Romney who declared himself "severely conservative." The Mitt Romney who is no friend of average Americans. And that's a Mitt Romney who has no place as our president. That's why this November we have to re-elect President Barack Obama!