Monday :: Nov 9, 2009

Bernie Sanders Takes On The Bankers Who Would Be Gods


by Turkana

In the past couple weeks, a couple of very powerful bankers literally invoked the name of Jesus, to defend their obscenely exorbitant profits; and today, there is a buzz about Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein claiming he's doing God's work. Well, Senator Bernie Sanders is apparently without fear, because he is ready to take on these self-styled saints.

As explained by Barry Ritholtz:

Everyone this weekend was so busy watching the Health care bill, that they might have overlooked the most important financial reform legislation since the Commodities Future Modernization Act: A bill is gaining ground in Congress that would “break-up” big banks.

Independent U.S. senator Bernie Sanders has introduced the Volcker Plan. It gives the government the power to identify and break up financial firms that are “too big to fail.”

James Kwak, of the Baseline Scenario, links to a pdf of the bill, itself. Which reads, in its entirety:

A BILL To address the concept of ‘‘Too Big To Fail’’ with respect to certain financial entities.

1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-
2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
3 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
4 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Too Big to Fail, Too
5 Big to Exist Act’’.
6 SEC. 2. REPORT TO CONGRESS ON INSTITUTIONS THAT
7 ARE TOO BIG TO FAIL.
8 Notwithstanding any other provision of law, not later
9 than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the
10 Secretary of the Treasury shall submit to Congress a list

2

1 of all commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds,
2 and insurance companies that the Secretary believes are
3 too big to fail (in this Act referred to as the ‘‘Too Big
4 to Fail List’’).
5 SEC. 3. BREAKING-UP TOO BIG TO FAIL INSTITUTIONS.
6 Notwithstanding any other provision of law, begin7
ning 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the
8 Secretary of the Treasury shall break up entities included
9 on the Too Big To Fail List, so that their failure would
10 no longer cause a catastrophic effect on the United States
11 or global economy without a taxpayer bailout.
12 SEC. 4. DEFINITION.
13 For purposes of this Act, the term ‘‘Too Big to Fail’’
14 means any entity that has grown so large that its failure
15 would have a catastrophic effect on the stability of either
16 the financial system or the United States economy without
17 substantial Government assistance.

Kwak explains the beauty of the bill's simplicity:

The bill says that Treasury can break up the institutions any way they want to, so long as the resulting entities do not individually threaten the financial system (and thereby our economic well-being). So opponents can throw out all those arguments about why separating commercial and investment banking is bad, or why banks have to be global (a bit of an embarrassment to Wells Fargo) — now they need to argue that a well-functioning financial system must include institutions that could take down the financial system.

Ritholtz says that even though larger banks will fight the bill, the oligopoly created by the banking bailout might inspire smaller and mid-size banks to support it. We should, too. As Nemo, of Self-Evident, says:

This is not about Democrats or Republicans. It is not about Barack Obama or George Bush or Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann or Sarah Palin or even Nancy Pelosi.

This is about the financiers versus everybody else. And we are losing, badly.

Now I am going to say something I never dreamed I would say: God bless Bernie Sanders.

Sign the petition to support Senator Sanders!

Turkana :: 12:46 PM :: Comments (4) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!