It can be hard to grasp all the details of Section 716, the Senate provision that would force big banks to spin off their swap desks, but the principle isn’t that complicated: Banks that get access to discounted money from the Federal Reserve, or federally-guaranteed deposit insurance, shouldn’t be able to gamble with them. And the four huge institutions that dominate the derivatives market shouldn’t use the implicit guarantee of a taxpayer bailout as a license to act recklessly. Instead they should use that money, and that guarantee, to lend to the businesses that can get our economy moving again.
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