Friday, September 19, 2008

Bernie Sanders
The junior senator from Vermont has a plan for the financial problems facing the country. His speech should be read in its entirety.
To recap, as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee in 1999, then-Senator Phil Gramm, spearheaded legislation that bears his name, and that is the so-called Gramm-Leach-Bliley bill that broke down critical regulatory safeguards that the Government put in place after the Great Depression to prevent exactly what we are experiencing today. Having laid the groundwork for our crisis in the financial sector, the very next year, amazingly enough, Senator Gramm is credited with slipping legislation into a largely unrelated bill that deregulated the electronic energy market. Shockingly, when he slipped this measure into the law, a measure we now know as the Enron loophole, Senator Gramm's wife, Wendy Gramm, had recently been on the board of directors of--you guessed it--the Enron Corporation.

This deregulation of the energy markets has allowed speculators to drive up the price of a barrel of oil to as high as $147 and, as I mentioned earlier, there are many economists who believe the volatility and the high price of oil today is not supply and demand primarily, but it is because of speculation on the part of financial institutions and hedge funds.

Deregulation is bad!

This country can no longer afford companies that are too big to fail. If a company is so large that its failure would cause systemic harm to our economy, if it is too big to fail, then it is too big to exist. If it is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. We need, as a Congress, to assess which companies fall in this category. Bank of America is certainly one of them. Those companies need to be broken apart. We cannot have companies so huge that if they go under they take the world economy with them.

Then once we break them up, if a company wants to act in a risky manner, if they want to take risks in order to make some quick bucks, that is OK. If they want to take the risk and they want to lose money, that is OK. The American people should not have to, and would not be under those circumstances, be left to pick up the pieces.

Sink or Swim! I am all for it.

Finally, in terms of dealing with this unfolding disaster, we need to make sure working Americans, the middle class, do not foot the bill. If the economic calamity requires a Federal bailout, it should be paid for by those people who actually benefited from the reckless behavior of people empowered by the extreme economic views of Senator Gramm, President Bush, Senator McCain, and many others.

In other words, the point I am making is that in the last 10 years, many of these people have made billions and billions of dollars. It is unfair to simply ask the middle-class working families who are trying to figure out how they are going to pay their fuel bills, how they are going to send their kids to college, to bail out these large institutions from which many people made huge amounts of profits.

Eat the rich! Go Bernie Go!
Via Cernig at Newshoggers.

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