If it were left up to me, I would break up the large banks and take “Too Big to Fail" off the table and with some revisions, I would reinstate Glass-Steagall. I would then let Elizabeth Warren fight it out with Wall Street. That's not going to happen, so all we can agree on is that Dodd- Frank is 2319 pages long and has 243 new rules of which have been litigated by 7% who supported the public interest and 93% who supported the financial industry. It's funny how Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, says he agrees with 70% of Dodd-Frank but is a major player lobbying against it.
I know Glass-Steagall would not have prevented the 2008 financial crisis because Bear Stearns, Lehmann brothers and AIG were not commercial banks and dealt primarily in the investment sector. That's why I stated, “Glass-Steagall with revisions." It's equally important to know that according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the financial markets began to exhibit distress in the summer of 2007. We have this bad habit of regulating previous crises and not doing anything to prevent future mistakes.
Again, Glass-Steagall is not the silver bullet because the financial sector could not exist if it were 100% risk free. Even the mom and pop bank loan has a risk. Glass-Steagall was enacted in 1933 to prevent another stock speculation like the one that led to the Great Depression. It continued to be weakened throughout the years and finally was repealed in 1999; Glass-Steagall split commercial banking from investment banking keeping Aunt Martha's savings being used for high speculative trading. Today's stock market is viewed as legalized gambling ,so let the buyer beware but your average citizen's money should not unknowing be subject to those trades.
Dodd-Frank put in the Volker rule to specifically prohibit a bank or institution that owns a bank from engaging in proprietary trading that is not at the behest of its clients.
Bankers argue that they need the ability to hedge and be heavily leveraged to compete. Ordinarily, a compromise could be met but they're at least two lobbyists for every page of the 2319 pages of legislation, and you probably couldn't wedge a paper clip between Wall Street and Congress. Right now, we have. What's called a moral hazard where bankers can take undue risks knowing that taxpayers will bail them out again. We can't expect a few $100,000 a -year regulators from the SEC to understand the complexity of all the transaction that the banks are engaging in daily, especially the derivatives. I don't think any one in the crossroads can decipher the formula I posted as a graphic and that's a simple one. Hedge fund managers, Wall Street CEOs and Alan Greenspan have admitted that they don't understand derivatives. Bankers also lose a lot of credibility when they complain that the regulations will cripple them because we continue to see Wall Street profits rising along with their big bonuses. We also saw JPMorgan Chase take a little more than a $3 billion loss and breathed a sigh of relief because lesser banks would not have been able to sustain what they did and an don't get me started on the Facebook fiasco.
Like everything else, this issue has been politicized, and Mitt Romney has promised to repeal Dodd-Frank on day one but as of yet, I haven't heard what he will replace it with, if anything.
To each, his own, but I think witnessing one financial meltdown in a lifetime is enough for me.
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