Wednesday, 20 January 2010 18:00

The Administration Looks Like It Is Getting Real

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Finally, measures that are actually attacking the root of the problem in lieu of chasing after the consequences.

CNBC: Obama to Take Tougher Line on Wall Street Big Banks

President Barack Obama, reeling from an election defeat in the U.S. Senate, will propose stricter limits on financial risk-taking on Thursday in a move that may recall Depression-era curbs on banks.

 "The proposal will include size and complexity limits specifically on proprietary trading and the White House will work closely with the House and Senate to work this into legislation," the official said.

The key is to allow firms to escape this limitation through significant reduction in size. Once you hit a few billion or so in assets, you (by default) should be limiting the risks that you take. 

A more aggressive proposal was put forth last month by former Republican presidential nominee John McCain and Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell. Their measure would reinstate the 1930s-era Glass-Steagall limits on banking by barring large banks from affiliating with securities firms and being in the insurance business.

Passage of the Cantwell-McCain bill would force firms at the center of last year's financial crisis - such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo - to rethink their banking, investment and insurance operations.

 ... Obama will speak at 11:40 a.m. eastern standard time, following a meeting with Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman who heads his economic recovery advisory board and who favors curbing big financial firms to limit their ability to do harm.

Why is it that Volcker seems like the one of the very few with common sense down there?

Obama has already unveiled a plan to tax banks up to $117 billion over the next 10 years to recoup money taxpayers lost in the bank bailout conceived by his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, to stem the financial crisis.

Obama is picking on a popular enemy. Ordinary Americans, facing 10 percent unemployment as the economy recovers from the recession inflicted by the financial market collapse, have been enraged by reports of multimillion-dollar banker bonuses.

Goldman Sachs is expected to report strong earnings on Thursday. Critics argue that such large profits -- and similarly large bonus payouts -- are only possible because of public support of financial institutions.

Actually, any objective person who was paying attention would argue that. See AIG Took Four Tries on Filing as N.Y. Fed Asked to Withhold Swaps Records and conceptualize Goldman's earnings with that $7 billion dollar hole from the AIG haircut, and the daisy chain effect it would have caused if a) they would have tried to enforce their credit protection purchased on AIG, or b) it was found that they purchased that credit protection with knowledge of inside information on AIG since one of their board members at on the NY Fed as well, not to mention their ex-CEO being the treasury secretary, or even to mention Geithner at the NY Fed having some connections.


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Reggie Middleton

Resident Contrarian Badass at BoomBustBlog (you can call me Editor-in-Chief)...

Disruptor-in-Chief at, where we're ushering the P2P Economy.
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