Bernie Sanders Says It Is Time To Break Up The Big Banks As They Are Nothing But Monopolies

Tyler Durden's picture

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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Marvin_M's picture

just an independent socialist from a very small and insignificant State, another looney toon like Black...move along now, nothing more to see here...

Vendetta's picture

yeah, the status quo isn't looney

Marvin_M's picture

oh Dear!...I just realized that I too am a looney toon...

Thunder44's picture

30% interest on credit cards -------40-45% income tax ,whats the difference.

fsudirectory's picture

30% interest on credit cards compound monthly (about 100X worse than income tax).

Problem Is's picture

"just an independent socialist from a very small and insignificant State, another looney toon like Black..."

Yeah Sanders.... worse. Sanders has "bizarre" ideas like Ron Paul.

Bernank-ster scoffs...

Off Topic: How come you guys get Cougar ads and I get "Singles Over 40" and "Currency Trading for Dummies" ??

Is Marla trying to tell me something?

PenGun's picture

 There are ads here?


 Scuttles off with heavy crouching. I may have been playing a bit too much S.T.A.L.K.E.R lately.


 May the Zone take you.

Double down's picture

You are new, and I forgive you.

Problem Is's picture

Marvin_M has a classy avatar though... Only the guy with the paper bag in flames on top is better...

Temporalist's picture

I like Bernie when he's pissed off and doesn't hold back.  And just look at that hair...he looks like he was just in an MMA death match.

Thunder44's picture

Yeah it's nice to run your mouth when you know nothing you say will ever get done.

bigdad06's picture

They won't be broken up. Those in power never voluntarily give up that power. They must collapse and new banks must emerge that have sound banking policies with sound currencies backed by gold and silver.

anarkst's picture

"Those in power never voluntarily give up that power."


Stranger's picture

I seem to recall tanks shelling the Duma to end the USSR.

I suppose after that the communists left "voluntarily".

BorisTheBlade's picture

It was not Duma, it was not in 1991 and it had little to do with communists.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Now, after we bailed them out.  Genius.

Thunder44's picture

I Just saw neil barofsky say GM paid back their loan with another loan they had put aside from tarp.

Sancho Ponzi's picture

Is that Bernie's hair blowing, or the plume from (sp?) eyjacantspelldafukka?

Ned Zeppelin's picture

Nice, we need alot more of this. Yelling about the TBTFs is becoming the rage this spring. About time.

anony's picture

Boy how politicians love to mount their thrones and pronounce this and that and nothing, but nothing actually gets done, but tiny, atomic changes at the margin.



hbjork1's picture

Thats why we vote for them.

svendthrift's picture

Break them up. No one institution should have assets in excess of 1% of GDP. The United States needs small banks. Screw "globally competitive". How about locally competitive. Or local competition. I'm tired of my country.

agrotera's picture

I have to say Bernie is a man to love!


goldfreak's picture

If everyone pulled their money out of JP, BAC, Citi, would it make a difference? Or would Chopper just replace the  funds with new money?

Stranger's picture

So let me see if I get this right - the government has to break up large corporations because the government is full of morons that keep getting suckered by them.

Makes perfect sense for our day and age.

buzzsaw99's picture

We would die without our parasitic overlords.

Pure Evil's picture

Well, at least that percentage of the population that's totally dependent upon the leviathan.

But, of course, they would drag the rest of us down with them.

potatomafia's picture

Damn, if there could only be some sort of financial crisis in where all these banks were illiquid and bankrupt, exposing them of the fraud that they have committed...  Then the market could naturally break them up whereby the assets would be sold off at market value to those with capital, and then the people that made the bad bets would lose and those that were prudent and smart with there investments would realize gains on their smart investing and savings.


Oh, I know i am only dreaming, as our economy is way to strong right now for any sort of real crisis to actually happen.



cougar_w's picture

Sounds like the ox is in the well now.

We should not imagine that "the powers that be" as we refer to them are some sort of unified block of overlords who meet weekly to smoke Cuban cigars and plot another twist in a centuries-long plan to break the slaves in the middle-class on the wheel of debt in order to harvest their savings, their holdings, their children and their major internal organs for profit.

Because they are not all that unified.

They are individuals and groups of such who have agendas that do not entirely agree. And so long as the trough is full for all the pigs, the pigs get along. Once things get crowded or the slop runs low they start looking around at each other wondering which pig is weak enough to toss over the fence to the waiting wolves.

That's when it gets interesting. Once they are locked in mortal combat to stay ... at ... the ... trough! ... they won't be in much shape to avoid the real knives.

Bacon: It's what's for dinner!

All my metaphors end up being about food. Must be a cat thing.

MrPalladium's picture


Goldman shifts its money to the repubs and bamo! Goldman gets hit with a fraud suit voted by the Dem majority of SEC Commissioners. That'll teach the bastards to fund the other side!!

The game is just beginning to get mean. The compliant whores in D.C. just got uppity and took out their razors. It's survival time!!

Soon, it will get real mean, as the darkening of the public mood spreads up the food chain to the big dogs.  German banks refusing to do business with Goldman - Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Citi paying calls on all the squid's clients. Any more friendly deals and collegial info shareing among the big dogs, or is it turning to fear, mistrust and revenge?

Oops, gotta check that BKX!!

doublethink's picture




WASHINGTON — Angered by what it viewed as foot dragging, a special panel charged with getting to the bottom of the nation's financial crisis issued a subpoena Wednesday to compel Moody's Corp. to provide information.

It was the first such subpoena issued by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and comes days before Moody's chief Ray McDaniel is scheduled to appear Friday before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Read more:


Paul E. Math's picture

The only thing accomplished by breaking up the banks is that we avoid a TBTF situation.

But the banks still own us.

The structure of our economy, the role of credit, the central bank, the creation of money - they all favor a growing share of our output by the banks.

It does not matter whether my master is worth $1T or only $100B - I am still a slave.

Mercury's picture


Mercury's picture

Bernie is such an old school leftie it almost makes him "conservative" in a way and even though I disagree with al lot of his cant it reminds me how much I admire some of the old school lefties (who, alas, are *sigh* mostly no longer with us)

I hate to say it but Bernie's mostly right here - although actions speak louder than words...we'll see...

If you substitute "government"  for "Wall St" in the following quote I'd really start getting aroused:

"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."

Giant banks = TBTF and all the problems that go with it.... I'm with you Bernie.

New acronym alert: TSTBTBTF = Too Small Too Be Too Big Too Fail

Let's shoot for that.


tahoebumsmith's picture

For all you Sanders critics, here is a clip from 2002! Imagine if they or you for that matter had taken him seriously 8 Fricken years ago?

Clinteastwood's picture

Yeah well......unfortunately, in this youtube clip Alan Greenspan had Bernie Sanders for lunch.

fsudirectory's picture

Well, look who was proven corrent and who failed us.

Clinteastwood's picture

Sanders (big supporter of obamacare) has no power (except to shoot off his mouth) and is an utter failure, unlike Greenspan who had/has maximal power and ran the nitwits who insisted on getting themselves overleveraged in debt into the guardrail where they belong.

tony bonn's picture

hear, hear! finally someone with half a brain is speaking. too big to fail is ipso facto a signal to break up the banks.

the american people should be infuriated that they are holding the bag for incompetent bankster management. they should vote out every scumbag representative - i.e. all of them - regardless of party and vote for anything but dem or repub.

fuck the fed, fuck congress, fuck the president, fuck the banksters, and fuck their supporters...

George Costanza's picture

Get your money out of the giant banks !!!   I have my money at a local regional bank.  It took me 1 hour to open a new account at my local bank ( First Merit )

bbbilly1326's picture

I closed my Wachovia account today, went to a Canadian bank.

truont's picture

What a world where the crazies like Sanders and Ron Paul speak the truth, while the sophisticated and educated Benny Bernanke only speaks assuaging lies.

Crab Cake's picture

Break them up?  Burn them down!  Death to the Fed.

We deserve, we have a right to, representation and control of our nation's monetary policy. 

AccreditedEYE's picture

Amen Sanders!!! And...........Simon Johnson for Treasury Secretary. :) (Asmentioned in previous posts, yes I am a dreamer!)

kaiserhoff's picture

It's a cold day in Calcutta when a libertarian agrees with a communist, but as the sheep stealers say, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. 

The issue is clear.  Will Goldman Sucks and the Washington cartels be allowed to suck all of the blood from the middle class, or will we fight for the constitution and the rule of law?

Curioser and curioser.

Pure Evil's picture

Why waste all that energy on the banks.

We need to shank that other monopoly called the Federal Government.

Once we've killed that leviathan, killing the Wall Street banks will be like stepping on an insect.

Clinteastwood's picture

Right.  First........get rid of Sanders.

Pure Evil's picture

Well, actually, we should encourage the State of Vermont to succeed and join their commie comrades in arms in the province of Quebec. 

Pure Evil's picture

I have to wonder if 'Weekend At Bernie's' alzheimer's is kicking in or he just conveniently suppressed the S&L crises from the 80's and 90's.

I guess the failure of over 740 savings and loans back then to the tune of nearly $160 billion, admittedly a fly speck compared to today's profligacy, was something to be shoved down the memory rat hole.

At the same time we may approach the shut down of approximately 2000 small banks nationwide.

My point being, breaking these TBTF banks up into smaller entities does not solve the problem when they are being run by criminals and politicians.