Senate Finance Reform Bill Falls Short of Addressing Concentration of Wealth and Power on Wall Street
Interview with Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies' Program on Inequality and Common Good, conducted by Scott Harris
The U.S. Senate passed a finance reform bill on May 20, joining the House, which passed its own legislation in December in response to the abuses of Wall Street firms and the nation's largest banks that triggered the worst economic crisis in the U.S. since the Great Depression. While America's largest financial institutions employed an army of lobbyists and spent millions of dollars in an attempt to weaken regulations in the Senate bill, they seemed relieved that the legislation, passed by a 59-39 vote, did not adopt stronger regulations or mandate more fundamental changes to the current system. In fact, the day after the Senate passed the bill, bank stocks soared.
The Senate legislation creates a new consumer financial protection bureau, regulates the financial derivatives market, establishes a financial stability oversight council of regulators that would work to identify systemic risks and sets up new procedures for liquidating failed financial firms. Progressive activists were disappointed that the Senate rejected an amendment by Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio and Ted Kaufman, D-Del., that would have broken up some of the biggest banks to limit the risks that these "too big to fail," institutions pose to the financial system. There was also frustration that the legislation retained some dangerous loopholes in derivatives trading. Congressional leaders hope to hammer out differences between the House and Senate bills and take a final vote before the Fourth of July recess.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies' Program on Inequality and Common Good. Here Collins assesses the Senate reform legislation's strong points and shortcomings - expressing hope that activists will continue to work hard to strengthen the bill before its signed into law.
Contact the Institute for Policy Studies' Program on Inequality and Common Good group by calling (202) 234-9382 or visit their website at www.ips-dc.org
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