Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bring Back Glass-Steagall, Investigate the SEC

(1) Simon Johnson
(2) Paul A.Volcker
(3) Joseph E. Stiglitz
(4) John Reed
(5) Michael Perino

These are some of the credentialed, experienced economists, worthy experts, who have recently publicly recommended Glass-Steagall (a 1930's very effective two-act set of banking regulations) be reenacted. The Clinton Administration and Gramm, Leach, et al, riding high on the recovery from the 1992 recession, allowed Glass-Steagall to lapse in 1999, heralding the hedge fund, derivatives-based, wild banking sprees which in large measure brought on the 2008-2009 Great Recession. "It's a new era, requiring more latitude, less regulations..we can all get rich!" (That was the argument promulgated by '90's bank-paid lobbyists, the same thinking of the '20's on-spec stock "margin-magic" morons.)

Why isn't The Obama White House heeding such sage advisers as
Simon Johnson of MIT and the IMF, or Paul Volcker,
the still-respected economist who preceded Alan Greenspan?
I have a notion, a most unattractive one: other, vested-interest
advisers surrounding the President. I'll mention two:
Emanuel and Giannoulias, both from Illinois, both of whom
have wealth derived from banks,
two men who can scarcely be objective about reining in the
banking community. Many others in the inner circle
are tightly bound by
too-recent ties to Wall Street and the "too-big-to fail"
banks as well; T. Geithner was/is an extremely poor choice for
Treasury Secretary.

Spectacular SEC failure to regulate and investigate Wall Street and the big banks requires more
investigations by Congressional Rep. Barney Frank and the House Finance Committee...again, the SEC has too-incestuous ties to the persons and institutions which caused our current crisis.

"Pure" economic theories can't work on Earth in 2009; I believe they never have. In America,
most economists say we have a "mixed" economy, with publicly-funded entities such as
police forces, schools and libraries, as well as private corporations. WE HAVE NEVER HAD pure Laissez-Faire in the United States, so the extreme, deregulation advocates need to find a different dream.

Humanity does have a dark side, a selfish side, a short-term standard side. Almost everyone is sometimes guilty of these behaviors, me included. But when the stakes are high, when millions can be unjustly, needlessly hurt by the thoughtless, powerful few, it would be a great blessing to know sane and sensible regulations exist to protect us all....

So, let's all stick a pin in Congress. Call your senators and house reps, ask them to be brave:
Bring back Glass-Steagall, investigate the SEC.

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