The Legend of the Banksters
The Senate did not reach the 60 votes necessary for cloture on debate - thus allowing a vote - on its financial regulatory reform bill yesterday. Two Democrats, Sens. Russ Feingold (WI) and Maria Cantwell (WA), joined Republicans to block the vote. They demanded that votes be allowed on amendments making the bill tougher on Wall Street. Feingold in a statement after the vote, "We need to eliminate the risk posed to our economy by 'too big to fail' financial firms and to reinstate the protective firewalls between Main Street banks and Wall Street firms." Feingold wanted the equivalent of Glass-Steagal reinstated. So far, a few bank-owned Democrats, mostly led by Chris Dodd, have joined all the Republicans except Snowe and Collins of Maine, in working to dilute, delay, or block real, enforceable, and effective reform of the casino running on Wall Street that has stolen hundreds of billions of dollars from our economy and put it into the pockets of a few thousand insiders who have become multi-millionaires and billionaires over the past decade since Phil Gramm and Bill Clinton opened the casino. The legend is that Willie Sutton, the infamous Philadelphia bank robber, when asked why he robbed banks, said he did so because "that's where the money is." This generation of banksters has taken his lesson to heart, but instead of going in with guns blazing, instead they bought off enough legislators and Clinton and Bush to allow them to rob our banks with only a minimal risk of going to jail. It's like giving Willie Sutton the keys to the banks - and we need to take those keys back.