Huffington Post: December 12, 2014. Early Friday evening Senator Elizabeth Warren took to the Senate floor and gave a plain-spoken, barn-burning speech that could make history... Warren's Senate speech was electrifying... an historic speech, and potentially game changing.
SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN'S speech.
Transcript and notes - Bronwyn Llewellyn
A dangerous provision has been slipped into a "must pass" spending bill at the last minute, solely to benefit Wall Street. This provision would REPEAL a rule called:
"PROHIBITION AGAINST FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BAILOUT OF SWAPS ENTITIES "
On Wednesday Warren asked Democrats to strip this provision out of the omnibus bill and protect taxpayers... On Thursday Warren asked Republicans for this provision to be taken out, that puts taxpayers right back ON the hook for bailing out big banks.
There is a third group that wields tremendous power in Washington... CITIGROUP.
Many Wall Street institutions have exerted extraordinary influence in Washington's corridors of power. CITIGROUP has risen above the others:
Its grip of our economic policy-making in the Executive Branch is unprecedented.
Three of the last four Treasury-Secretaries under Democratic presidents have had close CITIGROUP ties... The fourth was offered the CEO position at CITIGROUP but turned it down.
The Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve system is a CITIGROUP alumni...
The Under Secretary for International Affairs at Treasury is a CITIGROUP alumni...
The US Trade representative and the person nominated to be his deputy are CITIGROUP alumni...
A recent chairman of the National Economic Council at the White House was a CITIGROUP alumni...
Another recent chairman of the Office of Management and Budget went to CITIGROUP immediately after leaving the White House
Another recent chairman for the Office of Management and Budget is also a CITI alumni... but i'm double-counting now, because he is now, the Secretary of the Treasury.
That's a lot of powerful people all from one bank. But they aren't the only way that CITIGROUP exercises power...
Over the years the company has spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress and funding political campaigns of its friends in the House and the Senate. There are many ways that are much more subtle
Last year Warren wrote to CITIGROUP and other big banks asking them to disclose the amount of shareholder money that they have been diverting to think tanks to influence public policy."
Warren was stonewalled: "A year has gone by and they didn't even acknowledge receiving my letter."
"CITIGROUP has a lot of money. It spends a lot of money. It uses that money to grow and consolidate power."
"During the financial crisis, CITI received nearly half a TRILLION dollars in bailouts.
During Dodd-Frank, there was an amendment to a bill that would have broken up the big banks... It had bipartisan support that might have passed. It ran into powerful opposition from an alliance between Wall Streeters on Wall Street and Wall Streeters who had powerful government jobs. This bill was blocked and now CITI is larger than ever.
#WallStreet #GlassSteagall #BailOuts
Following transcript by Huffington Post.
Edited by Bronwyn Llewellyn:
Democrats don't like Wall Street bailouts. Republicans don't like Wall Street bailouts. The American people are disgusted by Wall Street bailouts
And yet here we are, five years after Dodd-Frank with Congress on the verge of ramming through a provision that would do nothing for the middle class, do nothing for community banks, do nothing but raise the risk that taxpayers will have to bail out the biggest banks once again...
So let me say this to anyone who is listening at CITI. I agree with you Dodd-Frank isn't perfect:
IT SHOULD HAVE BROKEN YOU INTO PIECES !!
If this Congress is going to open up Dodd-Frank in the months ahead, then let's open it up to get tougher, not to create more bailout opportunities. If we're going to open up Dodd-Frank, let's open it up so that once and for all we end too big to fail and I mean really end it, not just say that we did.
Instead of passing laws that create new bailout opportunities for too big to fail banks, let's pass... the Glass-Steagall Act... that would help break up these giant banks.
A century ago Teddy Roosevelt was America's Trust-Buster. He went after the giant trusts and monopolies in this country, and a lot of people talk about how those trust deserved to be broken up because they had too much economic power. But Teddy Roosevelt said we should break them up because they had too much political power. Teddy Roosevelt said break them up because all that concentrated power threatens the very foundations up our democratic system.
And now we're watching as Congress passes yet another provision that was written by LOBBYISTS for the biggest recipient of BAILOUT money in the history of this country. And its attached to a bill that needs to pass or else we entire Federal Government will grind to a halt.
Think about that kind of power. If a financial institution has become so big and so powerful that it can hold the entire country hostage. That alone is reason enough to break them up.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Enough is enough with Wall Street insiders getting key position after key position and the kind of cronyism that we have seen in the Executive Branch.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH with Citigroup passing 11th hour deregulatory provisions that nobody takes ownership over but everybody will come to regret.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Washington already works really well for the billionaires and the big corporations and the lawyers and the lobbyists.
But what about the families who lost their homes or their jobs or their retirement savings the last time Citigroup bet big on derivatives and lost?
What about the families who are living paycheck to paycheck and saw their tax dollars go to bail out CITI just 6 years ago?
We were sent here to fight for those families.
It is time, it is past time, for Washington to start working for them!
- END -
#CITIBANK #SenatorElizabethWarren #USpolitics #USeconomics #UShegemony#TooBigToFailBanks #USCongress
Huffington Post commentary:
Warren was down to earth, substantive, and frankly, angrier, unafraid of calling out by name the institutions--the big banks and CITIGROUP in particular - which tanked the economy, cost millions of Americans their jobs and homes, were bailed out with half a trillion dollars of taxpayer money, and then used their fortunes to buy Congress and make it more likely they'd be bailed out again. Moreover, she was unafraid to take on the President of her own party and numerous members of his administration drawn from CITIGROUP and other big banks, through the endless revolving door between Washington and Wall Street.
The REVOLVING DOOR between Wall Street and the White House...
Hillary Clinton represents the old politics of the status quo and accommodation to Wall Street's power. [Bill Clinton's] Treasury Secretary was former Goldman Sachs exec Robert Rubin. After leading Pres. Clinton's effort to dismantle the half-century old Glass-Steagel prohibition on government-insured commercial banks engaging in risky speculative bets which enabled the creation of financial megaliths like Citigroup, he went on to earn $126 million as a senior executive for Citigroup and brokered Citigroup's ½ Trillion Dollar bailout. His protégé, Timothy Geithner became Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary where he opposed breaking up the big banks who had cratered the economy.
Elizabeth Warren is the first major national politician in decades who is willing to openly challenge the power of the Wall Street oligarchy.