Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 undid the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, that had regulated the financial services industry since the great depression..  This deregulation is said to have contributed greatly to the current meltdown on Wall Street.

Turning to the New York Times, Nov 5, 1999,:

Supporters of the legislation said that
....historians and economists have concluded that the Glass-Steagall Act was not the correct response to the banking crisis because it was the failure of the Federal Reserve in carrying out monetary policy, not speculation in the stock market, that caused the collapse of 11,000 banks. If anything, the supporters said, the new law will give financial companies the ability to diversify and therefore reduce their risks. The new law, they said, will also give regulators new tools to supervise shaky institutions.
See, now the Federal Reserve only has to bail out a few mega-corporations, not 11,000 piddly little banks. Taxpayers now own the largest insurance company in the land. As CIP put it: "It's got to be ironic that the US takes it's most dramatic step toward socialism under the most right wing President since Hoover (or maybe ever)."

The world changes, and we have to change with it,'' said Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, who wrote the law that will bear his name along with the two other main Republican sponsors, Representative Jim Leach of Iowa and Representative Thomas J. Bliley Jr. of Virginia. ''We have a new century coming, and we have an opportunity to dominate that century the same way we dominated this century. Glass-Steagall, in the midst of the Great Depression, came at a time when the thinking was that the government was the answer. In this era of economic prosperity, we have decided that freedom is the answer.''
The Republican Plan to Dominate The Twenty-First Century seems to be coming to an ignominious end. They should have called it "The Plan For the New American Decade".
''I think we will look back in 10 years' time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930's is true in 2010,'' said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota. ''I wasn't around during the 1930's or the debate over Glass-Steagall. But I was here in the early 1980's when it was decided to allow the expansion of savings and loans. We have now decided in the name of modernization to forget the lessons of the past, of safety and of soundness.''
How can you be so wrong, Senator Dorgan? We crumbled in 2008, not 2010.
Senator Paul Wellstone, Democrat of Minnesota, said that Congress had ''seemed determined to unlearn the lessons from our past mistakes.''

Scores of banks failed in the Great Depression as a result of unsound banking practices, and their failure only deepened the crisis,'' Mr. Wellstone said. ''Glass-Steagall was intended to protect our financial system by insulating commercial banking from other forms of risk. It was one of several stabilizers designed to keep a similar tragedy from recurring. Now Congress is about to repeal that economic stabilizer without putting any comparable safeguard in its place.''

Worry-wart! The following retort set Senator Wellstone straight!
''The concerns that we will have a meltdown like 1929 are dramatically overblown,'' said Senator Bob Kerrey, Democrat of Nebraska.

1 comment:

DianeDem said...

This was signed into law with a NO VETO CLAUSE!!!!

Clearly McCain's self professed "economic guru" was wrong. UBS's losses totaled 4 years of profits. WOW
Wonder how they like him now?

Republicans have destroyed this's time for a Democratic administration to attempt to clean things up.