[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/2009/06/17/news/economy/regulatory_reform/obama_090617.03.jpg caption="Obama called his proposals the most sweeping financial reforms since the Great Depression."]
CNN Financial News Producer
President Obama earlier today unveiled his long-awaited plan to restructure how banks and other firms are regulated in the hope of preventing another financial collapse.
The far-reaching effort - the greatest regulatory overhaul since the Great Depression– would reorder the roles of some key agencies to try to tighten government supervision of the financial sector.
It would also toughen standards for big financial firms and create a new agency dedicated to protecting consumers from deceptive or dangerous mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.
"We did not choose how this crisis began. But we do have a choice in the legacy this crisis leaves behind," Obama said.
Four banks repay bailout money
Four of the nation’s biggest banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, repaid nearly $45 billion dollars in taxpayer bailout funds today - a move that now frees them from government restrictions on hiring and executive compensation.
JPMorgan repaid $25 billion, Morgan Stanley $10 billion, U.S. Bancorp $6.6 billion, and BB&T Corp. $3.1 billion. JPMorgan, U.S. Bancorp and BB&T also said they intend to buy back warrants for their common stock from the U.S. Treasury.
Consumer prices post largest drop in 59 years
A key index of prices paid by consumers showed the largest year-over-year decline since April 1950, primarily due to sinking energy prices.
The Consumer Price Index, a key measure of inflation, has fallen 1.3% over the past year. That's the largest decline in nearly 60 years, and is due mainly to a 27.3% decline in the energy index.
On a monthly basis, CPI rose 0.1% in May, after remaining flat the previous month.
The more closely-watched core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, increased 1.8% on an annual basis.
Gas prices rise for 50th straight day
Gas prices climbed for the 50th straight day today, the longest streak in records dating to 1996, even as oil prices fell.
Gas prices rose 5-tenths of a cent overnight to $2.679. In the last 50 days the average price of gas has increased 63.1 cents or 30.8%. The average price of a gallon of gas is down $1.44 or 35.1% from the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.
The highest gas prices are in Hawaii ($3.027) and California ($3.019). The cheapest prices are in South Carolina ($2.487)
Oil prices, meanwhile, reversed course this morning. Crude dipped below $70 per barrel after a weekly inventory report showed stockpiles of gasoline rose much more than expected.
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