BUSINESS

Jim Chanos On Obama's Speech: 'A Little Bit of Admonishment,' But Won't Kill Wall St.'s 'Golden Goose'

Hedge fund manager -- and proud short-seller -- James Chanos spoke to CNBC reporters today outside of New York City's Cooper Union after President Obama's speech on Wall Street reform. Chanos, the president and founder of Kynikos Associates, said Obama's speech was "measured," with a little bit of admonishment, but a lot of common sense.

Chanos, who suggested that Wall Street responded positively to the speech, was clear that reform is coming -- in some fashion. Reform, that is, that won't kill Wall Street's "golden goose" of profits.

"Let's not make this an argument that is not an argument ... Wall Street is understanding that reform is going to happen no matter what it does," Chanos said.

Here's more Chanos:

"What American people and what the
markets
want is a fair and level playing-field, where the rules are clearly elucidated, where the referees are competent, and where we know that the game is not rigged."

Hesitant to speak on the Goldman scandal, Chanos did say that, "There was a lot of criminality, in my view, that was going on at other institutions." Chanos predicted that we're going to see more cases like Goldman--including criminal cases.

Despite the tough rhetoric in Obama's speech on derivatives regulation, Chanos reaffirmed one of the President's key caveats.

"We can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Even the president said derivatives in and of themselves are important for hedging and, by the way, for every hedger there's a speculator. Let's not forget that. So you need both in the marketplace, but again you need transparency and you need fairness."

WATCH the James Chanos interview here (it begins near the 2:00 mark):