Bernie took a lot of heat recently for “botching” an answer to a question that is at the very epicenter of his campaign: How will he actually break up the big banks? Bernie does indeed have a plan, and it makes a lot of sense:
Here it is straight from a recent press release:
“Within the first 100 days of his administration, Sen. Sanders will require the secretary of the Treasury Department to establish a “Too-Big-to Fail” list of commercial banks, shadow banks and insurance companies whose failure would pose a catastrophic risk to the United States economy without a taxpayer bailout.
“Within a year, the Sanders administration will work with the Federal Reserve and financial regulators to break these institutions up using the authority of Section 121 of the Dodd-Frank Act.
“Sen. Sanders will also fight to enact a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act to clearly separate commercial banking, investment banking and insurance services. Secretary Clinton opposes this extremely important measure.
“President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Glass-Steagall Act into law precisely to prevent Wall Street speculators from causing another Great Depression. And, it worked for more than five decades until Wall Street watered it down under President Reagan and killed it under President Clinton. That is unacceptable and that is why Sen. Sanders will fight to sign the Warren-McCain bill into law.”
As the Huffington Post noted, it’s really not like this stuff wasn’t in the interview. But the reporters who conducted the interview consistently asked questions and responded to answers in ways that made it seem like it wasn’t. Like this exchange:
Daily News: Okay. Well, let’s assume that you’re correct on that point. How do you go about doing it?
Sanders: How you go about doing it is having legislation passed, or giving the authority to the secretary of treasury to determine, under Dodd-Frank, that these banks are a danger to the economy over the problem of too-big-to-fail.
Daily News: But do you think that the Fed, now, has that authority?
Sanders: Well, I don’t know if the Fed has it. But I think the administration can have it.”
The question was, essentially, “how would you break up the big banks?” And Bernie answered: with existing legislation (Dodd-Frank), enforced by giving powers to an existing body (the treasury). But the reporter responds by invoking the Federal Reserve, which is… not the treasury. How was Bernie supposed to answer such a weird non-sequitur?
The issue isn’t that Bernie doesn’t have a plan. It’s that his plan is simple, while the banks and a handful of billionaires have convinced us that it is not; they’ve convinced us that big banks are a necessary evil, that their greed is good for the economy, and that their total destruction of our economy and our lives was just an unfortunate but inevitable glitch in their otherwise perfectly fair business model. None of that is true, and a whole lot of people are coming to see that. Now we just need the media to open their eyes and see it too.
Read the Huffington Post piece for more here.
And you can read the entire press release here.