Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Greed Ain't Good

For those of you who missed it in the New York Times and on cable TV, here's Bernie Sanders in the Big Apple today, calling for the breakup of the banks. (Only kidding about the coverage in the corporate media: there was none. The media were too busy taking a group swim in Obama's coincidentally-timed tears.)

 It's interesting that for all the rumors of his lack of support among black voters, Bernie was rousingly introduced by his "twin," State Senator James Sanders of New York, who happens to be black. "In New York City, we're starting to feel the Bern!" he said. So much for Hillary Clinton, New York's alleged Favorite Daughter. He also got the endorsement of the state's Working Families Party, which traditionally adheres to the Democratic machine except in the most extreme cases of corruption in the establishment candidate. Oops. When the WFP endorsed centrist incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the progressive Zephyr Teachout in 2014, they lived to regret it.

But back to the very popular Bernie.

"To those on Wall Street who may be listening today, let me be very clear," Sanders said. "Greed is not good. Wall Street and corporate greed is destroying the fabric of our nation. And, here is a New Year’s Resolution that we will keep: If you do not end your greed we will end it for you."

Is that welcoming their hatred, or what?

Here's his eight-point plan for financial reform:
Break up huge financial institutions in the first year of my administration. Within the first 100 days of my administration, I will require the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a “Too Big to Fail” list of commercial banks, shadow banks, and insurance companies whose failure would pose a catastrophic risk to the U.S. economy without a taxpayer bailout. Within one year, my administration will break these institutions up so that they no longer pose a grave threat to the economy.

Reinstate a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act to clearly separate traditional banking from risky investment banking and insurance services. It is not enough to tell Wall Street to "cut it out," propose a few new rules and slap on some fines. Under my administration, financial institutions will no longer be too big to fail or too big to manage. Wall Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself, gambling trillions in risky financial instruments. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.

End too-big-to-jail. We live in a country today that has an economy that is rigged, a campaign finance system which is corrupt, and a criminal justice system which often does not dispense justice. The average American sees kids being arrested and sometimes even jailed for possessing marijuana. But when it comes to Wall Street executives — some of the most wealthy and powerful people in this country whose illegal behavior hurt millions of Americans — somehow nothing happens to them. No jail time. No police record. No justice.

Not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy. That will change under my administration. “Equal Justice Under Law” will not just be words engraved on the entrance of the Supreme Court. It will be the standard that applies to Wall Street and all Americans.

Establish a tax on Wall Street to discourage reckless gambling and encourage productive investments in the job-creating economy. We will use the revenue from this tax to make public colleges and universities tuition free. During the financial crisis, the middle class of this country bailed out Wall Street. Now, it’s Wall Street’s turn to help the middle class.

Cap Credit Card Interest Rates and ATM Fees. We have got to stop financial institutions from ripping off the American people by charging sky-high interest rates and outrageous fees. In my view, it is unacceptable that Americans are paying a $4 or $5 fee each time they go to the ATM. And it is unacceptable that millions of Americans are paying credit card interest rates of 20 or 30 percent.

The Bible has a term for this practice. It's called usury. And in The Divine Comedy, Dante reserved a special place in the Seventh Circle of Hell for sinners who charged people usurious interest rates. Today, we don't need the hellfire and the pitchforks, we don't need the rivers of boiling blood, but we do need a national usury law.

We need to cap interest rates on credit cards and consumer loans at 15 percent. I would also cap ATM fees at $2.

Allow Post Offices to Offer Banking Services. We also need to give Americans affordable banking options. The reality is that, unbelievably, millions of low-income Americans live in communities where there are no normal banking services. Today, if you live in a low-income community and you need to cash a check or get a loan to pay for a car repair or a medical emergency, where do you go? You go to a payday lender who could charge an interest rate of over 300 percent and trap you into a vicious cycle of debt. That is unacceptable.

We need to stop payday lenders from ripping off millions of Americans. Post offices exist in almost every community in our country. One important way to provide decent banking opportunities for low-income communities is to allow the U.S. Postal Service to engage in basic banking services, and that's what I will fight for.

Reform Credit Rating Agencies. We cannot have a safe and sound financial system if we cannot trust the credit agencies to accurately rate financial products. The only way we can restore that trust is to make sure credit rating agencies cannot make a profit from Wall Street. Under my administration, we will turn for-profit credit rating agencies into non-profit institutions, independent from Wall Street. No longer will Wall Street be able to pick and choose which credit agency will rate their products.

Reform the Federal Reserve. We need to structurally reform the Federal Reserve to make it a more democratic institution responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans, not just the billionaires on Wall Street. It is unacceptable that the Federal Reserve has been hijacked by the very bankers it is in charge of regulating. When Wall Street was on the verge of collapse, the Federal Reserve acted with a fierce sense of urgency to save the financial system. We need the Fed to act with the same boldness to combat the unemployment crisis and fulfill its full employment mandate.
So my message to you is straightforward: I’ll rein in Wall Street's reckless behavior so they can’t crash our economy again.

Will Wall Street like me? No. Will they begin to play by the rules if I’m president? You better believe it.
Howard Fineman, a fairly middle-of-the road liberal writer for The Huffington Post, broke away from the group-think mainstream pack today, and actually admitted that Hillary might not be the shoo-in for the nomination his colleagues believe she is. 
Voters in 2016 are more skeptical than ever of leaders in all realms, beset by a lack of growth in real wages, and vociferously divided on immigration, race, religion, policing, guns, terrorism, refugees and drugs.
The kind of anti-establishment sentiment heard around the world -- from the early days of the Arab Spring to the darker nationalist movements in Germany and France -- echoes loudly in the U.S. Voters are drawn to the energy and electricity of candidates who vow to smash the power of institutions from Wall Street to Washington, from university campuses to the media.
Floating above it all, for the moment, is Hillary Clinton -- still the conventional wisdom's pick to become the next president.
The former first lady/former senator/former secretary of state has organized intensively and tried to address the economic disquiet in her Democratic Party with solid policy proposals that move her cautiously into the anti-Wall Street camp. But the mood of the country is more dangerous to her chances than her supporters admit or outside analysts recognize.
This isn't a good time to be the embodiment of a political insider. But she is. Clinton and her husband have grown very wealthy over their decades in politics. They have become experts at currying the favor of rich donors, many of whom are now their personal friends.
Greed ain't good. Time ain't on her side.

Give me a Bernie Vs Trump contest, and I might not follow through on my New Years resolution to cancel cable.


Nasreen Iqbal said...

If he wins New Hampshire, can you even imagine the corporate/DNC flip-out that is going to occur?

annenigma said...

I couldn't believe what I saw on ABC World News tonight. David Muir had the nerve to announce with a straight face that "Bernie Sanders wants to blow up the Too Big to Fail Banks". ABC even left that phrase as a headline at the bottom of the screen while Muir finished the segment, just to be sure no one missed it. "BLOW UP"!

Gee, I wonder if someone watching who's never heard of Bernie might think he's off his rocker, publicly inciting or threatening violence/domestic terrorism. How irresponsible can ABC get? I'm not holding my breath for a retraction or apology. Nobody with half a brain would use those LOADED words without questioning and checking them first. It was deliberate and the damage is done.

When I went to the website to link Muir's news video here, it was gone. What a stinking, rotten dirty trick. Hillary must celebrating.

CBS News actually did a good and fair job of covering what Bernie said. NBC didn't breathe a word of it.

All 3 broadcast networks showed Obama's fake crying.

teenlibrarian said...

And NYT, "Bernie Attacks Hillary Clinton..." in their short piece on Bernie's speech to reign in Wall Street.

Pearl said...

I posted this on the previous column by mistake so am repeating it. I thought it
interesting that the Toronto Star thought it more important than the NYtimes to include the video in their paper.

'The Toronto Star had a video of part of Bernie's speech. Let's hope more U.S. media take note of future ones.'