Bernie Sanders, Bank Buster

Amien Essif

A bill introduced today by Bernie Sanders gets straight to the point about what to do with the banks deemed “too big to fail": The Secretary of the Treasury shall break up entities included on the Too Big to Fail List, so that their failure would no longer cause a catastrophic effect on the United States. Sanders drafted the Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act in part as a response to Attorney General Eric Holder’s confession last month that the Justice Department does not press criminal charges against powerful financial institutions for fear of risk to the economy. “No institution, no CEO in America should be above the law,” Sanders stated at a news conference Tuesday. The “Too Big to Fail List,” as it is called in the new bill, would include those institutions that the Financial Stability Board has dubbed “systemically important”—such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, all of which received billions in federal bailout dollars in 2008. Sanders noted in a press release that the six largest banks in the country collectively own $9.6 trillion in assets and are bigger now than they were before the 2008 bailout. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who introduced a companion bill in the house, called on Congress to take action before another financial crisis makes action impossible: [The banks] claim; ‘if we go down, the economy is going down with us,’ but by breaking up these institutions long before they face a crisis, we ensure a healthy financial system where medium sized institutions can compete in the free market.

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Amien Essif is a regular contributor to Working In These Times and maintains a blog called The Gazine, which focuses on consumerism, gentrification, and technology with a Luddite bent. His work has also appeared on the Guardian and CounterPunch. You can find him using Twitter reluctantly: @AmienChicago
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