Curbing Wall Street
Now that the Senate is beginning floor debate on a financial reform bill, the push is on to make the bill stronger, identify the obstructionists and rebut the arguments against robust reform. We are tracking the Senate debate with reporting, commentary and research from our blog team and other progressive media sources.
Forty-one senators blocked debate on a financial reform bill April 26. Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson joined 40 Republicans in voting to obstruct forward movement on changes that would prevent a recurrence of the conditions that led to the current recession and an unprecedented Wall Street bailout. We are identifying those who are standing in the way of reform and debunking their arguments.... more »
If you are sensitive to stories of human suffering and economic hardship, let me warn you that the following report contains material that could be upsetting, so discretion is advised. It's about a fellow named Jamie. He lives in New York City, and he has recently had a very rough go with a large financial institution. Such behemoths can be heartless, so as you can imagine, it's tough to stand up to them. The giant in this case is JPMorgan Chase, Wall Street's biggest bank, and it went after poor Jamie Dimon hard. In the end, the bank took more than half his income. It was a bitterly painful experience, but thanks to the indomitable human spirit, Jamie's story has turned from sad to uplifting! Yes, he was down, but not out. Luckily, he had something big going for him in this fight: JPMorgan is his bank. I don't mean he banks there; he's the CEO.more »
Many people have been asking about the Justice Department's priorities in the wake of the suicide of computer whiz and political activist Aaron Swartz. As has been widely reported, the Justice Department was pressing charges that carried several decades of prison time against Swartz. He was caught hacking M.I.T.'s computer system in an apparent effort to make large amounts of academic research freely available to the public. The Justice Department's determination to commit substantial time and resources to prosecuting Swartz presents a striking contrast to its see no evil attitude when it comes to financial fraud by the Wall Street banks. People should recognize that this is not just a rhetorical point. It is clear that the Justice Department opted to not pursue the sort of investigations that could have landed many high level people at places like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup behind bars.
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At a time when the country is still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the storm has reaffirmed progressive principles that have been under attack in recent years. Sandy has, in fact, brought together a trifecta of progressive policy vindications: the dangers of climate silence, the importance of a strong and responsive federal government, and the necessity of collective bargaining rights for workers.more »
It's a sign of our shadowy times that the latest regulatory "reform" bill hasn't been laughed out of Washington. Same goes for the latest bankers' complaint, this time about being asked to cover their own bets. And if you think it's bad now, wait and see what happens if Romney takes over.
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One of the major growth industries in Washington is the promotion of budget hysteria. Well-funded groups have weekly, if not daily, events designed to hype the country’s budget situation. Much of the national media, most importantly the Washington Post, have enlisted in this effort, devoting both their opinion and news sections toward this goal.
Unfortunately for the deficit-crisis industry, the facts may stubbornly refuse to cooperate. Any discussion of the deficit requires separating out the short-term and the long-term story. The short-term story is very simple. The economy collapsed in 2008 when the housing bubble burst. That is the story of the large budget deficits that we have seen in the last five years: full stop.
Hurricane Sandy was the stimulus nobody wanted. It took a terrible toll in lives, homes, and dreams. For the families who lost loved ones the tragedy will never end. And yet, in a bitter irony, this terrible storm will spur the kind of spending we should have been seeing all along. There will be jobs, at least for a while -- in construction, road work, repair, and other lines of work. more »