News Articles By Mary Bottari
Thursday, November 12th marks the ten year anniversary of the repeal of the depression-era Glass-Steagall Act that protected consumers from casino-style gambling on Wall Street and prevented significant financial crises for almost 60 years. As Congress took up a series of bills this fall to restore confidence in the financial sector, notably lacking were any bills to break up the big banks and restore Glass-Steagall protections.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has trouble understanding that the core responsibility of any federal official is to be thrifty with taxpayer dollars. This has been confirmed with new revelations from Bloomberg about Geithner's role in the secret AIG-Goldman bailout.
With the newspapers full of talk about "zombie" banks and parasitic "vampire squid" financial institutions, it was particularly fitting that the "Showdown in Chicago" started with a ghoulish group of zombies rocking out to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Chicago's own South Shore Drill Team opened the three days of banks protests with a bang and had the crowd of thousands of activists dancing in no time.
The Showdown promises to be the first major American protest against the banks since the financial meltdown in September 2008. Thousands are expected to join three days of educational activities and the large march on Tuesday to the American Bankers Association (ABA) convention at the downtown Sheraton hotel.
What do Americans need most right now? Jobs. If you wanted Americans to buy your snake oil, what would you promise them right now? Why, jobs of course, even though the snake oil being peddled is the very thing that sank the economy in the first place.
October 14th, the Obama administration's principal piece of financial service reform legislation, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, will be up for committee consideration in the House Financial Services Committee. The most important thing to know about the bill? It creates a new federal agency in Washington whose sole purpose is to protect consumers from the deceptive tricks and traps of the financial services industry. The most important thing to know about the committee reviewing the bill? It's on FIRE.
Today, the Real Economy Project of CMD is introducing a new award we are fondly calling our "Golden Throne Award." The Throne salutes the behind-the-scenes lobbyists and spinmeisters who have managed to maintain the status quo and hold off any meaningful reform of the financial services sector since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch
Likening the actions of the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to those of Oscar Wilde's famous cynic "who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing," New York Federal Judge Jed Rakoff tossed an SEC settlement with Bank of America (BofA) out of court yesterday and ordered the parties to ready for trial.
A short time ago, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo released a report focusing on the bank bonuses paid out by the biggest banks in 2008, the same year they were bailed out by federal taxpayers. The report notes that in many instances the bank bonuses exceeded bank profits, the implication being that taxpayer dollars were being used to subsidize the salaries of the ace banking executives who created the financial crisis in the first place.
Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (a.k.a. the SIGTARP ) caused quite a stir in Washington last week when he released a quarterly report that attempted to tally up the total dollar amount of federal government commitments related to the bailout. Those commitments include federal government programs that spend taxpayer money or issue loan guarantees in an attempt to rescue financial services institutions and support the economy. While the administration and the media have focused on the $700 billion in bailout funds explicitly authorized by Congress, Barofsky tried to bring a little transparency to the complex array of federal programs including those of the Treasury and the opaque Federal Reserve. His report put the potential outlay of taxpayer dollars of the combined 50-plus programs at an astonishing $23.7 trillion.