Speaking at a Washington conference on “new populism” of the Campaign for America’s Future, Glass-Steagall sponsor Sen. Elizabeth Warren did not mention her legislation until prompted by LaRouche PAC during the question period to “talk about Glass-Steagall.” Warren then unleashed a strong 6-7 minute stemwinder on Glass-Steagall, which provoked a standing ovation by the 250 people present—and which was left out of the video of her presentation on the sponsors’ website.
Warren said of the gradual elimination of Glass-Steagall from the late 1980s, ending in its repeal in 1999, that “This is what created ‘too big to fail'” and “anything goes in banking,” and that those banking conglomerates were now “38% bigger than when the government bailed them out unconditionally in 2008.” They have, in addition, committed serious financial crimes, without punishment.
She described her 21st-Century Glass-Steagall Act with McCain, Cantwell, and King: “First, it will break these biggest banks up, and it is really only the biggest Wall Street banks that will be affected by this; and second, it will make the large, insured deposit-banking units use their resources on economic lending, otherwise, no support.” Ridiculing Obama’s and Geithner’s “bailouts with no conditions,” Warren recalled that she had taught bankruptcy law: When new money is put into a firm in bankruptcy, “the stockholders get wiped out; the bondholders take a haircut; the top management is removed, and may be prosecuted.”
“The big Wall Street financial firms,” said Warren, “don’t like” the Glass-Steagall legislation, and there is money pressure and threats to stop it. She concluded: “What kind of a country do we want to work for? What kind of a future do we want to have? Do we want to work for Wall Street banks, to make them even bigger? Or, do we want to work for our children and grandchildren to have a fighting chance?”
During her initial presentation, Warren had criticized President Obama for “choosing the side of the banks” since the 2008 crisis. During her Glass-Steagall speech, she heaped scorn on Attorney General Eric Holder’s claim a week earlier that now, at last, banks [foreign ones, at least] were not too big to jail. “I’ll believe it when I see one go to jail,” Warren said. “These banks have broken the tax laws; they have broken the drug laws; they have broken the money-laundering laws; they have broken the securities laws; and I have not yet seen anyone arrested.”