Wall Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself, gambling trillions in risky financial decisions while expecting the public to bail it out.
The six largest financial institutions in this country today hold assets equal to about 60% of the nation’s gross domestic product. These six banks issue more than two-thirds of all credit cards and over 35% of all mortgages. They control 95% of all derivatives and hold more than 40% of all bank deposits in the United States.
We must break up too-big-to-fail financial institutions. Those institutions received a $700 billion bailout from the US taxpayer, and more than $16 trillion in virtually zero interest loans from the Federal Reserve. Despite that, financial institutions made over $152 billion in profit in 2014 – the most profitable year on record, and three of the four largest financial institutions are 80% bigger today than they were before we bailed them out.
Our banking system must be part of the productive, job-creating economy. The Federal Reserve, a government entity which serves as the engine of the banking industry, must eliminate its internal conflicts of interest, provide stricter oversight, and insist that the banks serve the economy in a way that works for everyone, not just a few.
These institutions have acquired too much economic and political power, endangering our economy and our political process.
- Introduced the “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act,” which would break up the big banks and prohibit any too-big-to-fail institutions from accessing the Federal Reserve’s discount facilities or using insured deposits for risky activities.
- Led the fight in 1999 defending Glass-Steagall provisions which prevented banks (especially “too big to fail” ones) from gambling with customers’ money, and currently is a co-sponsor of the Elizabeth Warren/John McCain bill to reinstate those provisions.
- Has proposed a financial transaction tax which will reduce risky and unproductive high-speed trading and other forms of Wall Street speculation; proceeds would be used to provide debt-free public college education.
- Is co-sponsoring Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s bill to end Wall Street’s practice of paying big bonuses to bank executives who take senior-level government jobs.
- Introduced a tax on Wall Street speculation to make public colleges and universities tuition-free
- Supports capping credit card interest rates at 15%.
- Sponsored an amendment calling for an audit the Federal Reserve. The audit found that far more had been spent in the Wall Street bailout than previously disclosed, and that considerable funds had been spent to bail out foreign corporations.
- Warned about the risks of deregulation eight years before the fiscal crisis of 2008.
- Has proposed limiting the ability of bankers to get rich from taxpayer bailouts of their institutions