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Wall Street Über Alles

The big banks are back in business -- and the taxpayers will once again be at risk
Wall Street Über Alles

Just so you know who runs things. Erika Eichelberger writes in Mother Jones:

A year ago, Mother Jones reported that a House bill that would allow banks like Citigroup to do more high-risk trading with taxpayer-backed money was written almost entirely by Citigroup lobbyists. The bill passed the House in October 2013, but the Senate never voted on it. For months, it was all but dead. Yet on Tuesday night, the Citi-written bill resurfaced. Lawmakers snuck the measure into a massive 11th-hour government funding bill that congressional leaders negotiated in the hopes of averting a government shutdown. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation.

“This is outrageous,” says Marcus Stanley, the financial policy director at the advocacy group Americans for Financial Reform. “This is to benefit big banks, bottom line.”

More:

The Citi-drafted legislation will benefit five of the largest banks in the country—Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. These financial institutions control more than 90 percent of the $700 trillion derivatives market. If this measure becomes law, these banks will be able to use FDIC-insured money to bet on nearly anything they want. And if there’s another economic downturn, they can count on a taxpayer bailout of their derivatives trading business.

From the WaPo:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pointed to this item as the main reason she would vote against a bill backed by her own president.

“What I am saying is: the taxpayer should not assume the risk,” she said. She said the amendment went “back to the same old Republican formula: privatize the gain, nationalize the risk.  You succeed, it’s in your pocket.  You fail, the taxpayer pays the bill.  It’s just not right.”

And:

But the regulatory change could also boost the profits of major banks, which is why they are pushing so hard for passage, said Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

“It is because there is a lot of money at stake,” Johnson said. “They want to be able to take big risks where they get the upside and the taxpayer gets the potential downside,” he said.

One more reason why I remain a conservative, but not a Republican. These guys do not have the backs of the ordinary person.

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