Bernie Sanders Says It Is Time To Break Up The Big Banks As They Are Nothing But Monopolies
Paging Christine Varney. Finally, what Zero Hedge has been pounding the table on for months is starting to make it through to (some of) the ruling elite. In an interview with Dylan Ratigan, Bernie Sanders, who unfortunately is not quite representative of the prevailing DC groupthink yet), says: "it is not just a too big to fail problem, it is monopolistic control of the economy and the incredible concentration of ownership. If Teddy Roosevelt were here right now, the guy who broke up all the big special interests in his day: if he believed that two-thirds of the credit cards were being issued by four banks, does anyone think we should not be breaking these guys up."
He points out the following simple arguments for breaking up the big banks: 1) four largest banks issue two thirds of the credit cards, 2) they hold 50% of mortgages and 3) $7 trillion in assets (50% of GDP). One can extend these observations from the simple consumer facing side of the banking model, to the intrabanking world, where Goldman has a monopoly in virtually all fixed income and equity (including derivative) trading axes and has infinite visibility into market flow.
The argument for breaking them up is blatantly simple: to protect taxpayers against another TBTF episode, as well as to preempt their concentration of ownership which means "unbelievable power and monopolistic influence over the whole economy."
Sanders, following in William Black's footsteps, is also painfully blunt: "the issue is not whether Congress regulates Wall Street, it's the degree to which Wall Street regulates Congress."
No matter what kind of reform you bring forth, if a BofA is about to teeter, and take with it a significant part of the economy and millions of jobs they are going to be bailed out. What you have to do is break them up today."
In conclusion Bernie sumarizes our current predicament perfectly: "Take a breath for a moment and think about where we're at. You have a middle class collapsing, you have small and medium sized businesses desperately in need of affordable credit so they can expand and create jobs, they're not getting that help. What you have is a Wall Street living in a parallel universe playing with trillions of dollars in gambling casinos, instead of investing in the real economy and producing real products, and helping us create real jobs. That's is the ultimate issue - we need a new Wall Street, where it lives in the real world, not just in a world in which they can use their greed and recklessness to make as much money as they possibly can any way they can."
On Goldman: "Let's give the SEC credit for finally waking up and being prepared to take on one of the most powerful institutions in the world but they've got a lot more to do. Remember under the Bush administration, these guys were comatose."
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