WASHINGTON – Saying “Wall Street gets whatever it wants, while Main Street gets nothing,” veteran actor and political activist Ed Asner this week called for a revival of the Glass-Steagall banking law.
In a letter to his congressional delegates, Asner wrote:
“It is time to acknowledge that the so-called financial reform efforts made after the crash of September 2008, including the Dodd-Frank bill, have failed to address the fundamental problem that caused the crash, that of increasingly wild speculation by the largest banks and financial institutions.
“This speculation has gotten far worse since the 1999 repeal of Franklin Roosevelt’s Glass-Steagall Act, which served the nation well for more than six decades. Many of the financial institutions which engaged in the wild speculation which caused the crash, were involved in the campaign to repeal Glass-Steagall, and they oppose restoring it today.”
Asner, a self-described history buff, plays FDR in a one-man show that’s been touring the country.
The Emmy Award-winning actor, who starred in “Lou Grant” and the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” went on to say:
“Since the passage of Dodd-Frank, the so-called Too Big to Fail banks have gotten larger. Despite trillions of dollars in bailouts, they are making fewer loans today than before the legislation, and the injustice implicit in that — that Wall Street gets whatever it wants, while Main Street gets nothing — has worsened.”
Activists from LaRouchePAC mobilized on Capitol Hill this week to push for Glass-Steagall’s return – which would rebuild the protective wall separating commercial bank deposits from investment houses that trade stocks, derivatives and a host of risky credit schemes.
House Resolution 129, co-introduced by Reps. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, and Walter Jones, R-N.C., has attracted more than 70 co-sponsors.
Two Glass-Steagall bills are pending in the Senate: SB 985 by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and a similar measure co-sponsored by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; Angus King, I-Maine; and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
On Tuesday, Kaptur delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor, charging that “Wall Street turned our strong banking system into a haven for speculators.”
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A subsequent statement from LaRouchePAC also challenged lawmakers:
“The future of the entire nation now comes down to one simple question: Will sufficient members of the U.S. Congress show the courage and honesty to reverse their disastrous capitulation to Wall Street by immediately passing the legislation before both bodies, to reinstate Glass Steagall?”
The organization headed by former presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche drew a connection between the banking reform and Detroit’s bankruptcy at the hands of Wall Street creditors.
“Congress, this summer, can unleash a flood of long-term, low-interest credit to take up the challenge posed by LaRouche in 2005,” the organization said. “Enough of the skilled work force and vacant factory facilities are still available even at this late date to launch an historic recovery.
“Detroit can once again be the Arsenal of Democracy—not for the purpose of defeating fascism on the battle fields of Europe and the Pacific, but to defeat the fascism of Wall Street by wiping out the gambling debts and restoring a functioning commercial banking sector to facilitate urgently needed great projects, such as the North American Water and Power Alliance.”
Though many financial pundits have dismissed the Glass-Steagall bills as “dead on arrival,” Asner said he was “encouraged that there is a renewed action in support of restoring Glass-Steagall,” and urged lawmakers to rein in the big banks.
“I know that Wall Street lobbyists are spending millions to prevent Glass-Steagall from being passed. It will take courage to stand up to them, but I expect that from you.”