Friday, May 18, 2012

Elizabeth Warren: Handcuffs for bankers

We agree.

Warren is running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. Unlike many U.S. Senators, she understands that the big banks are destroying the middle class. She understands what caused the financial crisis of 2008. She also understands that JPMorgan Chase is threatening our economy again with trading losses that could be as high as $5 billion. That's more than the GDP of Lichtenstein.

Problem is, JPMorgan Chase is regulating itself -- even as it's subsidized by the government.

Here's a partial transcipt of Warren's comments to firedoglake News about JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and the Federal Reserve:

FDL News: You have made another point throughout this past week, one that’s a little under the radar, one about Jamie Dimon serving on the Board of the New York Federal Reserve. This gets back to the importance of the regulators, especially if they’re being advised by the people that they end up having to regulate. Is that the kind of coziness you need to eliminate to get effective oversight of Wall Street? 
Warren: I think that many people just weren’t aware that Jamie Dimon was advising the New York Federal Reserve. So part of this conversation is just having a lot of people say, “What?” More broadly, Jamie Dimon should resign, but it’s also time to look at the structure of the New York Fed. 
FDL News: Of all the regional Fed banks, no? 
Warren: All of them, certainly, but let’s remember. The New York Fed decided to bail out AIG, and they set the terms for that bailout. When I was at the COP, we did a massive investigation to understand the process that the New York Fed went through. How they decided not just to bail out AIG, but to pay the counter-parties 100%. I’m sure you remember my questioning of a certain Secretary of the Treasury on that matter. The point is remembering the origin of that as coming from the New York Fed. The basic decisions and execution were shaped by NYFed. So Jamie Dimon should not sit in a position of responsibility, advising that bank, when there’s so much at stake. 
FDL News: Can all of these issues with regulation and oversight of Wall Street ever be successful without them involving handcuffs in some manner? The efforts to hold the banks and their executives accountable have all resulted in slap-on-the-wrist fines and settlements. We’re four years on from a financial crisis that wrecked the US economy, one rooted in multiple levels of fraud, and no top executive has gone to jail for it. 
Warren: And that is disgraceful. No one has been held accountable. Americans know that all the way down to their gut. The financial crisis has been treated as if it were a tsunami or a snowstorm, or a natural act for which no human being had any direct participation. The people who broke the economy should be held accountable. It’s as simple as that. And that means criminal investigations, civil investigations. Without that, it’s not possible to clean the system and rebuild it.