Senator Elizabeth Warren's Q&A at the March 7, 2013 Banking Committee hearing entitled "Patterns of Abuse: Assessing Bank Secrecy Act Compliance and Enforcement." Witnesses were: David Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, United States Department of the Treasury; Thomas Curry, Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; and Jerome H. Powell, Governor, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Too big to fail has morphed into too big to prosecute. Attorney General Holder:
"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. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large."
Today, Senator Warren sent this email out:
Attorney General Eric Holder indicated in testimony before the U.S. Senate that some Wall Street banks have gotten so big that they are now above the law.
He actually said earlier this week:
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.
This is wrong -- just plain wrong. We are a country that believes in equal justice under the law -- not special deals for the big guys. And that's not all the special deals that the big banks get.
According to recent calculations by Bloomberg, the top ten biggest banks receive an $83 billion subsidy every year in the form of lower borrowing costs -- something not available to your community bank or credit union. The markets think that, if things get tough, the government will be there to bail out the big banks again but not the little guys.
To put things in perspective -- that $83 billion subsidy is about the same amount of money being fought over in the sequestration.
So why are we still debating this issue at all? Isn't it obvious that the "too big to fail" problem still exists and is bad for small banks? Bad for taxpayers? Bad for our economy? Bad for justice?
Here's one theory that worries me: maybe people believe that the banks have in fact become too big to shrink. They have started to say that we can't cut these banks down to size.
I'm not one of them, and neither are colleagues of mine like Sen. Sherrod Brown who have been fighting hard on this issue. We know we can take on the big banks and their army of lobbyists and win because we've done it before.
When banks are too big to fail, too big to jail, too big for trial, too big to manage, too big to regulate, too big to shrink, and too big to reform... they are just too big.
We're just getting started here.
Thank you for being a part of this,
Have I mentioned how utterly thrilled I am that she's a U.S. Senator? We need 99 more like her.