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Senator Brown's amendment

I enjoyed William Greider's take on the Wall Street reform bill. Some parts of this legislation should have gone through except that senators are owned by corporate interests. I am especially amazed that the Brown amendment could not pass. The Republicans continue to say that they do not want institutions to be too big to fail. The Democrats should be looking out for interests of the middle class and not the corporate class. I wrote both of my senators from Colorado a letter questioning them on why they voted against this amendment. Here is an excerpt from Senator Udall

"Thank you for contacting me regarding the Safe, Accountable, Fair and Efficient (SAFE) Banking Act of 2010 (S.3241). I appreciate hearing your views on this important topic. As you may know, the SAFE Banking Act was offered by senators Sherrod Brown and Ted Kaufman as an amendment to the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S.3217). This provision sought to inhibit banks from becoming 'too big to fail' by imposing a strict 10 percent cap on any bank holding company's share of the total national deposits in the United States. It would also limit the non-deposit liabilities of a bank holding company or thrift holding company to two percent of GDP."

The senator went on to say that the amendment failed but did not mention that he voted against it.

Stop for minute and look at this part of the amendment. This amendment from Senator Brown is only trying to limit the size of a bank to a 10 percent share of the total national deposits in the United States. Why should we allow any institution to have even a 10 percent hold of American's deposits? In my opinion, this amendment is far too weak. No bank should hold more than 1 percent of the total national deposits.

If this trend is not reversed, the damages will be much more than the obvious failing of a major institution. When you have an industry in which you build your career and there are only ten corporate players left, you will not be able to move to another company, as the big players will respect one  another's turf. This will drive down wages for the middle class, because your movement within your career is limited to ten corporate giants.

I want a new party. I left the Republican Party because what they say is conservative is actually a cheap, corporate-centered policy without no concern for our country. I voted Democratic this time, but both my Democratic senators are owned by corporate interests. I am extremely disappointed in senators Bennett and Udall. They continue to say that they fight for the people’s interests, but obviously they vote the corporate line when they believe they can. Here is senator Udall’s logic on why it was OK to vote the way he did.

"The Brown-Kaufman amendment failed by a vote of 33-61. However, the underlying Wall Street reform bill, which passed the U.S. Senate on May 20, 2010, by a vote of 59-39, imposes the strictest changes to Wall Street regulations since the 1930s and puts in place provisions to end the era of financial institutions deemed 'too big to fail.' I was proud to vote for this bill as it prevents financial institutions from taking on too much debt, reduces the type of risk-taking that nearly brought down our economy and puts in place a stronger system for monitoring and combating future systemic risks to our economy. In addition, the new legislation brings transparency and oversight to the previously unregulated derivatives market, prevents big banks from gambling with customers' money and creates the first independent bureau dedicated to ensuring consumers are treated fairly by financial institutions."

Senator Udall obviously is not a good debater. He says that this new legislation brings the strictest changes to Wall Street since the 1930s. He does not say that this is the correct legislation to deal with the problems. He does not mention the other regulations that have been weakened or taken apart or dissolved since 1930.

If you limit the size of the institutions, you automatically limit the chances of a major impact of one corporation failing. You will not have a significant compliance with any regulation until there are laws in which the corporate officers, if found guilty, serve substantial time in prison. Corporations will pay penalties all day long and continue to laugh at the regulators in a cat-and-mouse game.

We will continue to move toward a country where oligopolies and monopolies control the government through right wing talk show and TV coverage and corporate sponsored candidates. Let’s not call Republicans Conservative any more. Call them what they are. Cheap, self centered, corporate activists. What I like about the Republicans is that they are all same. The Democrats are a loosely grouped gathering of different coalitions. The main unifying theme that they have is that they do not trust republicans. The sad part is that corporations and lobbyists still can get the democratic vote. On the fourth of July we should remember that it is a privilege to live in America but a responsibility to be an American.

Mark Schlueter

Parker, CO

Jul 4 2010 - 12:22pm

Faux capitalism: the banksters

The bedrock of the capitalism system has always been supply and demand. Prices are a function of supply and demand and perform important tasks in the market place like rationing, creating incentives and indicating that production should be increased. If programmed trading interferes with supply and demand and pricing, then it is undermining the working methods of capitalism at its roots. There is clear evidence that this is happening.

Enormous profits from programmed trading are reaching the 20-25 percent range in our commercial banking system. They are the fruits of speculation rather than resulting from the interaction of supply and demand. With an infinite amount of money, high leverage, naked derivatives and programmed trading, this system is creating its own price reality. For example, metal prices and oil prices soared during Bush-Cheney, and it was not because of demand. A trillion dollars in trade money chased commodity prices in a billion-dollar future contracts market and moved the market by sheer volume and programmed trading.

These prices did not reflect a reality of increased demand because there were increasing inventories, which would not happen if demand outpaced supply. Instead, speculation created its own reality from casino-like trading and consumer prices reached record price levels. There are actual cases where rising prices caused the expansion of production for discontinued products.

Supply and demand does come into play in the global international monetary system, where trading by private commercial banks has replaced fixed currency exchange rates by nation-states. However, it is the extraordinary volume of surrogate naked default swaps that shifts and moves pricing, and this movement is determined by private bankster trading models. Is this better than the older system of Bretton Woods before deregulation? What’s the benefit?

Nation-states have given up control of the international monetary system to private interests who put the information into their voodoo software models and determine pricing. It begs an analogy with our voting system, where you can’t monitor the machine or the program because of a ridiculous claim that it is private.

Simply put, because of the removal of Glass-Steagall the banksters operate in a way that has fundamentally changed capitalism as we knew it. We might call it "faux capitalism," because supply and demand are no longer the determining factors in pricing. We have a lot more work to do to re-regulate the “too big….” banks, such as banning naked credit default swaps and reinstituting some form of Glass-Steagall. 

William J. Hague

Hoboken, NJ

Jul 3 2010 - 7:02pm

Smoke and mirrors

This time, both of the major political parties are responsible for this depression, and spin cannot hide the destruction of the world's interconnected economy. Wall Street is still "advising" both parties, so economic failure is a certainty. In the coming election, both parties will accuse each other of all kinds of nonsense, to distract the voter from their failed economic policies. It will not work! Main Street, supported by jobs, is the real economy. Main Street makes the products and buys them. No jobs, no market, no economy, and Wall Street will fail. Our only consolation is that they will lose their wealth. We succeed or fail together. Class warfare as a business model means everybody loses.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Jul 2 2010 - 3:36pm

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