Skip to main content

View Diary: Face it Republicans. Obama is the Democrat's Reagan. (264 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  The repeal of Glass Steagall (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    did not cause what you say.

    The Commodity Futures Modernization Act was a cause, but not Glass Steagall repeal.

    Ask President Obama.

    •  I respect your opinion, Armando (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MRA NY, ORDem, Gator Keyfitz, askew, Yamara

      but I also recognize that many economists do not share it:

      In fact, the financial crisis might not have happened at all but for the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall law that separated commercial and investment banking for seven decades. If there is any hope of avoiding another meltdown, it's critical to understand why Glass-Steagall repeal helped to cause the crisis. Without a return to something like Glass-Steagall, another greater catastrophe is just a matter of time.
      STIGLITZ: I think the example that most epitomizes the problems that I've been talking about was the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act that allowed investment banks and commercial banks to come together. After the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the differences between the investment banks, which took rich people's money, invested in high-risk activities, high return, the difference between those banks and ordinary commercial banks was abolished, and the unfortunate consequence of that was that the commercial banks began to act like investment banks, undertaking high-risk activities with ordinary individuals' money.

      It had two other consequences. One was that the banks grew bigger and bigger. They became too big to fail. That meant that they - if they gambled and won, they walked off with the profits, but if they gambled and lost, they knew that the government would bail them out, which they were right, it did bail them out.

      And finally, there are a host of conflicts of interest that were apparent in the years before the Great Depression and which had led to the passage of the Glass-Steagall Act, an act which served the country well. In the decades following the passage of this - Glass-Steagall Act separated the commercial and investment bank - the United States had no financial crises, no major bank failures.

      In the period after deregulation, we've seen the kind of instability that we face.
      I was reminded of this recently after reading articles that argued over the role the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act played in the financial crisis. The Depression-era regulation that separated Main Street banks from Wall Street investment firms had a huge impact on the finance sector.

      The repeal of Glass-Steagall may not have caused the crisis — but its repeal was a factor that made it much worse. And it was a continuum of the radical deregulation movement. This philosophy incorrectly held that banks could regulate themselves, that government had no place in overseeing finance and that the free market works best when left alone. This belief system manifested itself in damaging ways, including eliminating regulation and oversight on derivatives, allowing exemptions for excess leverage rules for a handful of players and creating dangerous legislation.

      As the events of 2007 to 2009 have revealed, this erroneous belief system was a major factor leading to the credit boom and bust, as well as the financial collapse.

      Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
      ¡Boycott Arizona!

      by litho on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:16:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

        The problem is Stiglitz actually has no data to back up his claims.

        Consider Bear Stearns and Lehman (not to mention Goldman). 2 banks that did NOT merge with commercial banks.

        Their colapses were the catalyst to the problems, not the merged banks, which in fact, due to their broader bases, were better able to withstand  the housing collapse.

        I respect Stiglitz, but the evidence actually disproves his assertions.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site