This is a Barack Obama speech that should go down in history, for its declaration of the evils committed over the past decade by credit card companies, banks and, yes, Verizon and various telephone companies as well.
Who thinks that those Verizon bills -- and the bills as well from National Grid or ConEd (as in "We con Ed or Bob or anyone else we can") or Citi Card -- were really meant to inform their consumers?
The statements have been so stunningly confusing that one suspected, at first, that they were devised by illiterates.
It took a year or so to realize it was intentional obfuscation on the part of the companies.
The time lag in reaching that awareness was attributable -- not just to stupidity -- but a reluctance to accept that well established American companies would treat their customers with such cold, calculating and (dare we say criminal) contempt.
American businesses, at the level of Verizon and big banks and insurance companies, created a culture of deception that enveloped us in a painful financial crisis, a crisis that, until recently, seemed likely to destroy the way of life we have known.
Obama's speech criticizing that culture was discussed and parsed on CNN and other news stations, but they were fairly boring and meaningless, really, when measured against the real thing.
They did not, of course -- egotists that they are -- want streaming competition from a 19 minute presidential speech of this type.
In it, Obama (in his gentle way) criticized companies that have cunningly lured millions of Americans into loans and deals they could not afford and that they did not understand, companies that offered "a bewildering array of incomprehensible options," companies that competed "not by offering better products but more complicated ones, with more fine print and more hidden terms."
Thus the need, he said, for better, tougher regulation.
[Meanwhile, The New York Times, in an analysis, says "There was "Only a Hint of Roosevelt in (Obama's) Financial Overhaul."]
A video of the speech was there on the White House website, for bloggers to grab and post.