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Reinstate Glass-Steagall

[Written by Fred Wickham]

Right wing commentators have been trashing the Wall Street Occupiers. “What is it they stand for?” they’re demanding. And, frankly, it is about time they took one simple stand. My suggestion is that the protestors demand the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall act. That is the piece of legislation from 1933 which separated investment banking from commercial banking.

It was overturned in 1999 by Republicans Jim Leach and Phil Gramm. It passed in the senate on a party line vote. I don’t understand why Clinton did not veto it, but he didn’t.

The aspiration of the Republican Party over the past thirty years have been to destroy the U.S. Government by simply having corporations take its functions over. And it has entirely succeeded. But it can still be dismantled. The momentum of the Occupy Wall Street movement is a good indicator of that.

I would like to see signs begin popping up in the crowds calling for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall. It is time. It’s a big enough fight in itself that it doesn’t need to be diluted by other demands. But yes, there should be one simple demand now.

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10 Comments

  1. Dratheos wrote:

    “It passed in the senate on a party line vote.”

    Um, what? No it didn’t. The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act passed the Senate 90 to 8.

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 2:32 am | Permalink
  2. PatriotSgt wrote:

    Thanks Dratheos and just to add to the truth -
    The House passed its version of the Financial Services Act of 1999 on 1 July 1999 by a bipartisan vote of 343-86 (Republicans 205–16; Democrats 138–69; Independent 0–1),[4][5][6] two months after the Senate had already passed its version of the bill on May 6 by a much-narrower 54–44 vote along basically-partisan lines (53 Republicans and one Democrat in favor; 44 Democrats opposed).[7][8][9][10][11]

    When the two chambers could not agree on a joint version of the bill, the House voted on July 30 by a vote of 241-132 (R 58-131; D 182-1; Ind. 1–0) to instruct its negotiators to work for a law which ensured that consumers enjoyed medical and financial privacy as well as “robust competition and equal and non-discriminatory access to financial services and economic opportunities in their communities” (i.e., protection against exclusionary redlining).[12]

    The bill then moved to a joint conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. Democrats agreed to support the bill after Republicans agreed to strengthen provisions of the anti-redlining Community Reinvestment Act and address certain privacy concerns; the conference committee then finished its work by the beginning of November.[9][13] On November 4, the final bill resolving the differences was passed by the Senate 90-8,[14][15] and by the House 362-57.[16][17] The legislation was signed into law by President Clinton on November 12, 1999.[18]

    source = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramm-Leach-Bliley_Act

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 6:26 am | Permalink
  3. Falkelord wrote:

    This Fred Wickham really doesn’t do any research does he?

    There has been a long list of “demands” unofficially that has been circulating around the occupy wall street crowds since about the second or third day of the protests. Someone even posted it in a comment on here. So I’ll post it again:

    LIST OF PROPOSED “DEMANDS FOR CONGRESS”CONGRESS PASS HR 1489 (“RETURN TO PRUDENT BANKING ACT”http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1489 ). THIS REINSTATES MANY PROVISIONS OF THE GLASS-STEAGALL ACT. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass–Steagall_Act — Wiki entry summary: The repeal of provisions of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933 by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act in 1999 effectively removed the separation that previously existed between investment banking which issued securities and commercial banks which accepted deposits. The deregulation also removed conflict of interest prohibitions between investment bankers serving as officers of commercial banks. Most economists believe this repeal directly contributed to the severity of the Financial crisis of 2007–2011 by allowing Wall Street investment banking firms to gamble with their depositors’ money that was held in commercial banks owned or created by the investment firms. Here’s detail on repeal in 1999 and how it happened: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass–Steagall_Act#Repeal .

    USE CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY AND OVERSIGHT TO ENSURE APPROPRIATE FEDERAL AGENCIES FULLY INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE THE WALL STREET CRIMINALS who clearly broke the law and helped cause the 2008 financial crisis in the following notable cases: (insert list of the most clear cut criminal actions). There is a pretty broad consensus that there is a clear group of people who got away with millions / billions illegally and haven’t been brought to justice. Boy would this be long overdue and cathartic for millions of Americans. It would also be a shot across the bow for the financial industry. If you watch the solidly researched and awared winning documentary film “Inside Job” that was narrated by Matt Damon (pretty brave Matt!) and do other research, it wouldn’t take long to develop the list.

    CONGRESS ENACT LEGISLATION TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY BY REVERSING THE EFFECTS OF THE CITIZENS UNITED SUPREME COURT DECISION which essentially said corporations can spend as much as they want on elections. The result is that corporations can pretty much buy elections. Corporations should be highly limited in ability to contribute to political campaigns no matter what the election and no matter what the form of media. This legislation should also RE-ESTABLISH THE PUBLIC AIRWAVES IN THE U.S. SO THAT POLITICAL CANDIDATES ARE GIVEN EQUAL TIME FOR FREE AT REASONABLE INTERVALS IN DAILY PROGRAMMING DURING CAMPAIGN SEASON. The same should extend to other media.

    CONGRESS PASS THE BUFFETT RULE ON FAIR TAXATION SO THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE & CLOSE CORPORATE TAX LOOP HOLES AND ENACT A PROHIBITION ON HIDING FUNDS OFF SHORE.

    CONGRESS COMPLETELY REVAMP THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION and staff it at all levels with proven professionals who get the job done protecting the integrity of the marketplace so citizens and investors are both protected. This agency needs a large staff and needs to be well-funded. It currently has a joke of a budget and is run by Wall St. insiders who often leave for high ticket cushy jobs with the corporations they were just regulating.

    CONGRESS PASS SPECIFIC AND EFFECTIVE LAWS LIMITING THE INFLUENCE OF LOBBYISTS AND ELIMINATING THE PRACTICE OF LOBBYISTS WRITING LEGISLATION THAT ENDS UP ON THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS.
    CONGRESS PASSING “Revolving Door Legislation” LEGISLATION ELIMINATING THE ABILITY OF FORMER GOVERNMENT REGULATORS GOING TO WORK FOR CORPORATIONS THAT THEY ONCE REGULATED. So, you don’t get to work at the FDA for five years playing softball with Pfizer and then go to work for Pfizer making $195,000 a year. While they’re at it, Congress should pass specific and effective laws to enforce strict judicial standards of conduct in matters concerning conflicts of interest. So long as judges are culled from the ranks of corporate attorneys the 1% will retain control.

    ELIMINATE “PERSONHOOD” LEGAL STATUS FOR CORPORATIONS. The film “The Corporation” has a great section on how corporations won “personhood status”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SuUzmqBewg . Fast-forward to 2:20. It’ll blow your mind. The 14th amendment was supposed to give equal rights to African Americans. It said you “can’t deprive a person of life, liberty or property without due process of law”. Corporation lawyers wanted corporations to have more power so they basically said “corporations are people.” Amazingly, between 1890 and 1910 there were 307 cases brought before the court under the 14th amendment. 288 of these brought by corporations and only 19 by African Americans. 600,000 people were killed to get rights for people and then judges applied those rights to capital and property while stripping them from people. It’s time to set this straight.

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink
  4. Michael wrote:

    Yes, the final version passed 90-8, but don’t forget this:

    “…two months after the Senate had already passed its version of the bill on May 6 by a much-narrower 54–44 vote along basically-partisan lines…”

    I don’t know Fred Wickham and haven’t read his stuff, but I’m guessing this is what he is referring to. Sure, you can argue that he is dissembling by providing inadequate context (i.e., lying by omission), but there is some basis for the original claim.

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink
  5. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Maybe if he works for Faux News it would be acceptable. Or maybe they’re all Faux News…just not the ones we love to hate.
    If Beck, Rove or Limbaugh had said it would you attempt to defend? Just thinking…

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    I appreciate the fact checking, and I’m sure Fred does as well (he’s a regular reader, so I’m sure he’ll make a comment).

    I just wish all news sources (including, but not limited to Faux News) were fact checked so well.

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  7. Arthanyel wrote:

    Falkelord – thanks for reposting what I had posted earlier. It’s all still good ideas.

    Monday, October 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink
  8. Fred Wickham wrote:

    Whoops. I sure did have my facts wrong. Michael pointed out the senate vote I believed to have been the whole story. In my defense, I’m more of a satire writer than a reporter. So while my reporting might be compared to that of Beck and Limbaugh, I’m a lot funnier than they are.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 1:44 am | Permalink
  9. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Fred and IK – I can’t count the # of times my facts have been wrong, but it’s been more then a few. Thats what i like it around here, ya’ll keep me honest and force me to do my homework, which keeps the debate sincere.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 7:17 am | Permalink
  10. Falkelord wrote:

    @Arthanyel just doin’ my job! And yes, they’re pretty solid ideas indeed :D

    @Fred It’s no biggie, it happens to the best of us (myself included). That’s why the rest of us are here!

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink