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Bridget Johnson


March 27, 2013 - 2:53 pm

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today if the Obama administration doesn’t act to break up big banks, he’ll do it himself.

Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Banking Committee earlier this month that bringing charges against some banks four years after the financial crisis could bring unacceptable repercussions.

“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” Holder said.

Sanders takes umbrage with the 10 largest banks in the United States being bigger now than before a taxpayer bailout following the 2008 financial crisis.

“In other words,” Sanders said, “we have a situation now where Wall Street banks are not only too big to fail, they are too big to jail. That is unacceptable and that has got to change because America is based on a system of law and justice.”

Sanders’ legislation would give Treasury Secretary Jack Lew 90 days to compile a list of commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds and insurance companies that he deems too big to fail. The affected financial institutions would include “any entity that has grown so large that its failure would have a catastrophic effect on the stability of either the financial system or the United States economy without substantial government assistance.”

If his bill became law, the Treasury Department would have one year to break up those banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions identified by Lew.

“If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist,” Sanders said. “No single financial institution should be so large that its failure would cause catastrophic risk to millions of American jobs or to our nation’s economic wellbeing. No single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure could send the world economy into crisis.”

“We need to break up these institutions because they have done of the tremendous damage they have done to our economy.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (4)
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I wasn't aware that a single Senator could unilaterally pass a law. Someone should tell Bernie that his last name is Sanders and not Dzhugashvili
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yep, too big to fail.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hey Bernie, the same could be said for governments. If the Federal Government failure will destroy the economy, it's are too big. Cut it down to a manageable size.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How about an audit of the Fed? That would be a great start to the 'how and why' the banks got fatter these past few years. DUH! Lending money at 0% interest and and the banks playing the stock market and parlaying that into 5-8% gains is how they they've been getting fat in case you haven't noticed.

In other words its just one more bubble being created that will pop - and have disastrous effects somewhere down the road. So live it up while you can big banks - when the crap hits the fan next time I doubt the taxpayers will have any stomach for a bailout. Next time you can circle the drain as far as I care.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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