Democrats & Republicans Team Up To Break the Back of the Banksters
AN UNLIKELY DUO has joined forces to resurrect landmark legislation enacted following the Great Depression that was directed at breaking the back of the money trust. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) have teamed up to introduce a bill to restore the Glass-Steagall Act, which was killed in the late 1990s during the Clinton administration, allowing banks to metastasize across state lines into financial behemoths that can sell loans, gamble on Wall Street and hock insurance.
In 1933, following the Great Depression, the Glass-Steagall Act, officially known as the Banking Act of 1933, created the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission, which guaranteed deposits in member banks for up to $2,500. More importantly, the key measure prevented so-called bank holding companies—private corporations that own banks—from growing exponentially by branching out into the insurance and investment sectors.
For 60 years, the law held. However, in 1999, at the behest of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and President Bill Clinton, the bipartisan Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed Glass-Steagall, allowing banks to start gambling on Wall Street. What we now know as the shadow lending industry took shape as a result of that bill, taking the shackles off of banks so they could create even more crushing debt.
Legislation introduced on Dec. 15 by Cantwell and McCain, titled the Banking Integrity Act of 2009, would bring back key provisions of Glass-Steagall and bar commercial banks from getting in bed with investment and insurance firms.
In a telling report, the country’s leading mouthpiece for New York financials, The Wall Street Journal, remarked that the legislation would put an end to today’s megabanks like Citigroup and Bank of America.
Upon introducing the bill, Ms. Cantwell said:
“America can’t afford another financial crisis. With big banks using depositor money to gamble on Wall Street, it’s only a matter of time.. . .We must return stability, security and confidence to commercial banking for theAmerican public. The first step is this bill.”
McCain had this to say about the legislation: “My reasons for joining this effort are simple—I want to ensure that we never stick the American taxpayer with another $700 billion—or even larger—tab to bail out the financial industry. If big Wall Street institutions want to take part in risky transactions—fine. But we should not allow them to do so with federally insured deposits.”
He added: “It is time to put a stop to the taxpayer-financed excesses of Wall Street. No single financial institution should be so big that its failure would bring ruin to our economy and destroy millions of American jobs. This country would be better served if we limit the activities of these financial institutions.”
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(Issue # 1 & 2, January 4 & 11, 2009)