Thursday, November 12, 2009

Byron Dorgan's Financial Plan: Common Sense From The Senator Who Saw This Coming

Great stuff from Dan Froomkin at Huffington Post:

{{w|Byron Dorgan}}, U.S. Senator from North Da...Image via Wikipedia

Byron Dorgan's Financial Plan: Common Sense From The Senator Who Saw This Coming: "

Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, was one of eight senators who stood up to oppose the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act in 1999. That repeal, which was signed into law by President Clinton exactly 10 years ago today, broke down the barriers between commercial banking and investment banking, and led to the growth of behemoth financial firms that were able to take enormous risks with impunity, because they were 'too big to fail.'

'I think we will in 10 years' time look back and say we should not have done this,' Dorgan said back then. The video of his speech has become something of a cult favorite for wonks -- ten years, a $700 billion bailout and a major financial crisis later.


Dorgan, who is finishing up his third term in the Senate, is also an author. His latest book, published in May, is titled: "Reckless! How Debt, Deregulation and Dark Money Nearly Bankrupted America and How We Can Fix It".

In it, he writes about the government's obligation to right the tilted playing field of modern free-market capitalism, which currently favors the major players over regular folk. He writes:

North Dakota state quarterImage via Wikipedia

Every day we see energy speculators, war profiteers, managed health-care providers, media propagandists, and/or financiers given some unfair advantage over the average consumers and taxpayers, and the cumulative effect of the American people watching selfishness prevail over the public interest has been an undermining of the public's trust in government.

This "anything goes" approach to capitalism has injured the very economy we have aspired to create. It is a philosophy that corporations and markets can be counted on to police themselves....

I'm a big fan of the free-market system. I don't know of any better method of allocating the goods and services. But in a free- market economy it is not unusual to see the big interests pitted against the little guy. When they are allowed to run unchecked or to rig the system, the big interests have the potential to drag down the very economy they need to remain stable and healthy. That is why it is so important we fight for a new era of reform and change to put our country back on track -- giving working people and small businesses the voice and the power to make the changes necessary.

This is not about a liberal or conservative philosophy. It is about making sure our economy and the free-market system work for everybody.

"There's no question the system is rigged against the little guy," Dorgan told me. "The bigger interests have a lot more information. They jerry-rig the system so that they always win."

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