Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) vowed to end the “greed” of Wall Street as president, attempting to differentiate himself from his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Secretary Clinton says that Glass-Steagall would not have prevented the financial crisis because shadow banks like AIG and Lehman Brothers – not big commercial banks – were the real culprits. On this issue, Secretary Clinton is wrong,” Sanders said during a campaign speech in Manhattan.
“Shadow banks did gamble recklessly, but where did that money come from? It came from the federally insured bank deposits of big commercial banks — something that would have been banned under the Glass-Steagall Act,” he added.
Sanders said that dishonesty, greed, fraud and arrogance best describe the reality of Wall Street today.
“To those on Wall Street who may be listening today, let me be very clear. Greed is not good. In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the fabric of our nation,” he said. “And here is a New Year’s resolution that I will keep if elected president, and that is if Wall Street does not end its greed we will end it for them.”
Sanders vowed to break up large banks as president and end “Too Big To Fail.”
“My opponent says that as a senator, she told bankers to ‘cut it out’ and end their destructive behavior. But in my view, establishment politicians are the ones who need to cut it out,” said Sanders, who began his first term as a congressman in 1990. “The reality is that Congress doesn’t regulate Wall Street. Wall Street and their lobbyists regulate Congress. We must change that reality, and as president, I will.”
Sanders indirectly criticized the speaking fees Clinton has collected from Wall Street. CNN reported in October that Clinton made $3.15 million in 2013 from speaking to firms such as Morgan Stanley.
“Wall Street makes huge campaign contributions, they have thousands of lobbyists and they provide very generous speaking fees to those who go before them,” Sanders said.
Sanders argued that a “weak regulatory climate” allows illegal behavior to be overlooked, saying that fraud is the “business model” on Wall Street.
“Not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy – that will change under my administration,” he said. “‘Equal justice under law’ will not just be words engraved on the entrance of the Supreme Court. It will be the standard that applies to Wall Street and all Americans.”