The good news on the Senate financial reform bill these days is that we have a few provisions worth fighting for. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) has introduced one of the most important - a bold section in the Dodd bank reform bill (Section 716, colloquially known as 106) that will force the biggest banks to spin off their swaps (or derivatives) desks into a separate entity. That entity will be regulated and can remain part of the bank holding company, but it no longer has access to the Federal Reserve's flow of funds, FDIC insurance and the taxpayer guarantee. Supporters include legendary economists and public policy experts such as Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz, Nouriel Roubini, and Michael Greenberger.
News Articles By Mary Bottari
Today a right-left coalition scored a victory for the American people when Senators voted 96-0 to audit the Federal Reserve.
The Center for Media and Democracy’s Wall Street Bailout Tally shows that since 2008, the U.S. government has flooded Wall Street banks and financial institutions with $4.7 trillion dollars in taxpayer money, mostly in the form of loans from the Federal Reserve. The Fed has never told us which firms got these loans and what type of collateral American taxpayers got in return. This will now be revealed. We will also get an accounting of the Fed’s “stealth” bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
It is important to note that in November 2008, Bloomberg News submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the most basic of bailout information, but the Fed stalled forcing Bloomberg into court. Two sets of judges have ordered the Fed to turn over the information, but the Fed keeps stonewalling, appealing the case again last week. The Senate bill now forces the Fed to turn over this critical information. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont pulled together a right-left coalition that got the job done.
Dylan Ratigan (MSNBC) is the host of the only honest business show on cable. He doesn't spend his day talking only about the ups and the downs of the stock market and encouraging people to "buy, buy, buy!" Instead, Ratigan covers real issues, like how the financial crisis is affecting average Americans, and what the chances are for real reform in Congress.
This week Ratigan went ballistic after the Brown-Kaufman amendment to cap the size of the biggest banks was voted down in the Senate. He created a new term for those who voted against it: the "Bankster Party." In the process, he gave us a target list of Senators who need to be convinced of the need for meaningful structural reform of the banking system. Ratigan's site currently links to BanksterUSA and also CMD's Total Wall Street Bailout Cost table.
Is Your Senator a Bankster?
by Dylan Ratigan
What we have now is a group of politicians with shifting alliances on a case-by-case basis to the special interests who fund them. And currently, the most damaging one to our nation is the rise of the Bankster Party. Thankfully, we can now better identify its members.
Last week's "flash crash," which sent stocks plummeting 1,000 points in an afternoon, was just the latest indicator that the U.S. financial system is still spinning out of control and desperately in need of new rules.
Wagering On Angelina Jolie
When I visit London, I can drop into a corner kiosk and bet on anything I want. I can put down a million dollars on whether or not Angelina Jolie's next baby will be a boy or a girl, but these bets are regulated for what they are -- gambling. In America, the big banks can spend billions in a far more destructive type of speculation, but this speculation in the so-called "swaps" or derivatives market is completely unregulated.
A lead editorial by the New York Times on May 5, 2010 parallels arguments made by the Center for Media and Democracy's "Real Economy Project" and publishers of BanksterUSA on the necessity of shrinking the "Too Big to Fail" firms and cracking down on the gambling in the derivatives market. True leadership in the aftermath of Wall Street's reckless disregard for our country's economic future requires tough reforms, not watered-down compromises in the name of "bipartisanship." With all the misinformation out there about who is really on the side of the American people and who is in the pocket of the Big Banks, now is the time for clarity, not for the sake of political expediency, but because the flawed de-regulation and market-knows-best policies of the recent past must be put in check for the health of our economic opportunities and for our nation's future prosperity.
The financial reform bill is now on the Senate floor. The bad news is that Senate leadership has not yet decided if critical amendments will see a vote. For instance, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Ted Kaufman (D-Delaware) have not been assured of a vote on their amendment to cap the size of "too big to fail" banks. Is this a democracy or a dictatorship? Senators should be allowed a debate on their measures followed by a vote. Send a message to Congress at BanksterUSA.org. Also Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has not yet seen a vote yet on his simple amendment to audit the Federal Reserve. If you have not taken action yet, send a letter to the Senate by clicking here.
The financial services reform bill is on the Senate floor this week. The recently announced criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs, the bumbling testimony of Goldman's and the rocking Wall Street protest last Thursday show that momentum is with reformers. This bill could codify the "doom loop" of a "boom and bail" economy, or it could set us on the path to a more sustainable future. The good news is that a group of Senators has stepped forward to champion a critical set of issues worth getting excited about. Send a message to your Senator in support of these "too big to fail" amendments at BanksterUSA.org
Sign the petition at BanksterUSA. A financial services reform bill passed the House in December. Now the action moves to the Senate. The Republicans (and one Democrat) are currently obstructing a vote to debate the bill, but few think their resistance will last in the face of public outrage about bailouts, bonuses and other Bankster shenanigans.
On Monday night, Senate Republicans lined up like lemurs and voted “no” on a motion to bring the Senate bank reform bill to the floor for a debate. Forty Republicans and one Democrat, Senator Ben Nelson (D-Kansas), stood shoulder to shoulder with 1,500 bank lobbyists and said “no” to Wall Street financial reform. (Evidently, Nelson was displeased that his friend Warren Buffett did not get special treatment in the bill.)
Before gloom sets in, it is worth noting that on Tuesday, all eyes will be on the “Fabulous Fab,” the Goldman Sachs trader at the heart of the SEC’s recent charges against the firm. Some of us are rooting for the Fab, hoping that his testimony will put financial reform back on the floor and put us on the path to reform.