NEW YORK – Speaking a few subway stops away from the epicenter of the global financial crisis, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders promised to remake the financial system to serve America’s working families.
“We can no longer tolerate an economy and a political system that has been rigged by Wall Street to benefit the wealthiest Americans in this country at the expense of everyone else,” Sanders said. “I’ll rein in Wall Street behavior, so they can’t crash our economy again. Will they like me? No. Will they begin to play by the rules if I’m president? You better believe it.”
Sanders presented a sweeping plan to rein in the greed of the nation’s biggest financial institutions, drawing sharp contrasts with Sec. Clinton’s approach. “My opponent says that as a senator she told bankers to ‘cut it out’ and end their destructive behavior,” Sanders said. “But, in my view, establishment politicians are the ones who need to ‘cut it out.’ The reality is that Congress doesn’t regulate Wall Street. Wall Street and their lobbyists regulate Congress. We must change that reality and as president I will.”
Sanders’ administration will create a list of “too big to fail” institutions by the end of his first 100 days in the White House. ”Within one-year, my administration will break these institutions up so that they no longer pose a grave threat to the economy,” he said. Sanders will accomplish this goal by appointing strong regulators who will utilize Section 121 of Dodd-Frank to ensure the safety and soundness of the financial system by breaking up large banks and shadow banks that pose a grave threat to the economy.
Sanders promised to fight to establish a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act, a Depression-era law signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt designed to prevent Wall Street speculators from crashing the economy. He also said his administration will cap ATM fees, allow post offices to offer banking services and reform the Federal Reserve to focus on its full employment mandate.
“Secretary Clinton says that Glass-Steagall would not have prevented the financial crisis because shadow banks like AIG and Lehman Brothers, not big commercial banks, were the real culprits. On this issue, Secretary Clinton is wrong. Shadow banks did gamble recklessly, but where did that money come from? It came from the federally insured bank deposits of big commercial banks – something that would have been banned under the Glass-Steagall Act,” Sanders said.
Sanders also said he will fight to cap ATM fees at $2, cap interest rates on credit cards and loans at 15 percent, establish modest banking services at post offices, and turn credit rating agencies into non-profits that are committed to accurately rating financial products, and are not beholden to Wall Street.
“Not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy,” Sanders said before describing some of the biggest crimes committed by financial institutions in recent years. “That will change under my administration. ‘Equal justice under law’ will not just be words engraved on the entrance of the Supreme Court. It will be the standard that applies to Wall Street and all Americans.”