The New Glass-Steagall Bill We Should All Be Fighting For

Elizabeth Warren slams Steve Mnuchin over his proposed “21st Century Glass-Steagall Act”

Tim Canova
Chair, Progress For All

Wall Street banks already have far too much power, and now Donald Trump has stacked his administration with Wall Street bankers and billionaires, and they are pushing to gut whatever regulations are still in place that protect consumers and promote financial stability.

As a law professor and activist, I have spent my entire career writing and warning about the deregulation of Wall Street, including the watering down of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that had separated commercial banking from risky investment banking and securities dealing. Glass-Steagall helped provide financial stability and limit the excesses of Wall Street for six decades — from the time it was enacted by President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression until 1999 when it was repealed under pressure from Wall Street. Its repeal ushered in a new era of excessive Wall Street gambling with depositors’ money — spurring the 2008 global financial collapse — when millions of Americans lost their savings, their jobs, and even their homes.

That’s why we are speaking out at Progress For All in support of the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act (S.881) that was introduced by Senators’ Bernie Sanders, John McCain, Elizabeth Warren and others to help create a banking system that better serves consumers, small businesses, and the overall economy. For what its worth, it has been reported that even President Trump is considering breaking up major Wall Street banks with a new Glass-Steagall Act. Please call your senator and urge him or her to support this legislation that will reign in and regulate the mega-banks that threaten our economy.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, Wall Street has only grown bigger and more concentrated. And we have seen much the same trends in industry after industry — from airlines to cable TV, broadband companies to media giants, private health insurance to electric utilities, petrochemicals and big pharmaceutical companies to big agriculture. In these and other big industries, we see greater and greater concentration of assets and political power in the hands of fewer and fewer giant firms. The consequences have been dire for small and medium sized businesses, consumers, workers, taxpayers, and local communities — in short, for the public interest. And it’s meant financial windfalls for greedy CEOs and wealthy shareholders.

All of this is the inevitable consequence of the gutting of our antitrust enforcement by Republican and Democratic administrations alike — a betrayal of the Progressive agenda dating back to the 19th century, from the time of President Theodore Roosevelt to the early New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt and the antitrust policies of the Kennedy administration. We must speak up clearly against this Crony Capitalism and fight for truly free markets and fair competition to revitalize Main Street. We must start by taking on Wall Street and breaking up the big banks with a new Glass-Steagall Act.

Please help our efforts by calling your Senators at (202) 224–3121.

And help educate your friends, neighbors, and loved ones that now is the time to fight back against this corporate greed. Thank you for your support and please spread the word.

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