Merkley and Wyden: Slaying the dragons of Wall Street. Or at least trying to.

Carla Axtman

Update: 1:10PM: Looks like the Senate GOP might finally cave in to the pressure and allow debate on the reform bill.

In the effort to break up the big Wall Street banks, some U.S. Senators are carrying the water for the massive banking industrial complex. Instead of cynically complaining about a do-nothing Senate, RJ Erskine of Campaign for America's Future has decided to kick a little ass and name some names:

The four Democrats who helped rescue the big banks were Kent Conrad, Mark Begich, Mark Warner, and Bill Nelson. If you live in North Dakota, Alaska, Virginia, or Florida, you might want to let your Senator know how you feel about what they just did. And here's a promise: When Senators like these serve their banking masters at their nation's expense, we intend to let you know about it.

Wall Street behemoths: They're stifling the economy. Their profits are soaring through the roof, thanks to the cheap money we've given them, and because everybody knows we'd have to rescue them again. Kent Conrad, Mark Begich, and Bill Nelson just saved them -- and hurt you.

But Erskine doesn't stop there. He also names the Senators who are working to do the right thing and break up these massive banks who are raking in profits and will inevitably have to be bailed out again under the "too big to fail" threshold:

While we're at it, let's note the other Senators that did the right thing. That would be Sens. Murray, Wyden, Feingold, Byrd, Stabenow, Cardin, Sanders, Whitehouse, and Merkley. (emphasis Carla)

There's something really awesome about having BOTH of our US Senators on the same good path. If we hadn't dumped Gordon Smith (who couldn't get out of Oregon fast enough, just as I figured), we'd be down by half, as Smith would have been lockstep with the big banks.

Wyden and I some times part some ways on policy--but on this one, he seems to really be getting it. He's doing us proud. Merkley is consistently great on policy: a serious champion for consumers.

And while I have your attention, take a moment to click through on that RJ Erskine link. There are some handy graphs and charts showing the growth and profits of the big banks. Interesting stuff.

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    From your update link:

    "The first thing we had to ensure with this bill is that it didn't leave taxpayers on the hook for any more Wall Street bailouts," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday. "I raised the alarm on that issue, and the two parties have been looking into it."

    Mitch McConnell can't seem to tell the truth if his life depended on it. He would make Winston Smith blush in the doublethink/doublespeak audacity of McConnell and his clown posse.

    One of the two main sticking points in the Dodd/Shelby negotiaitons was over how to pay the costs associated with shutting down failed big banks.

    As Borosage over The Huffington Post summed it up earleir today, The Dodd bill calls for the banks to ante up a $50 billion fund. This would be used by the FDIC if it were forced to take over a failing big financial institution. Unlike the last bailout, where the banks were rescued but not reorganized and taxpayers paid the bill, in the Dodd bill, a troubled big bank would be treated basically like smaller insolvent banks. The FDIC would take it over, fire the management, and reorganize it, liquidating assets, merging with other banks. The shareholders would lose their investment; the creditors would take a hit. The bank financed fund would cover any costs along the way.

    For all of Republican warnings about the FDIC's incompetence, the Republican alternative essentially calls for the same procedure. The FDIC would be named receiver. It would liquidate the assets, or transfer them to a "bridge bank" and sell them. It would fire the management; operate the bank if necessary while dispersing its assets. Shareholders would be wiped out; creditors would take a hit. But in some cases, the FDIC will have to take "emergency action to stabilize" the bank, "issuing guarantees, purchasing assets, and advancing funds to creditors." The FDIC would seek to recoup this money from creditors and shareholders in the ensuing liquidation.

    Where would that initial money come from? Here's where Republicans pay tribute to George Orwell. The money won't come from a fund paid for by the banks. Republicans denounce that as leading to "taxpayer funded bailouts." No, the money would come from, well, taxpayers, and thereby save us from taxpayer funded bailouts. War is peace. Black is White. Are Republicans a great party or what?


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    Let's not ignore Reid's part in this. Unlike the HCR bill, he seems to understand the value of making these mega-bank supporters vote on cloture every couple of days. That just can't be good for the R's at this point.

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    FYI, Rs have now capitulated and agreed to let the bill move to the floor.

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    Finally, the "party of no" realizes that obstruction for obstruction's sake is not a very smart long term political strategy. Sadly, it took much longer than it should for some of our Democratic leaders to understand that courage is more effective than capitulation.

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      Let's hope a little success teaches them the lesson we'd all like them to learn.

      And thanks, Carla, for some legit "Yeah, Oregon" cheerleading. Considering what it must feel like if you lived in, I don't know... North Dakota, Alaska, Virginia, or Florida... I'd say it is pretty cool to be a voter (and a Democrat) from Oregon right now!

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    How about if Ron Wyden were to make a public statement of apology for having voted for Graham-Leach-Bliley, as Bill Clinton made an apology for what "free-trade" did to the home-grown agriculture in Haiti?

    I believe Wyden may eventually be convinced to take a somewhat progressive stance, as with support of the Dodd bill, but only when he sees the political writing-on-the-wall demands it.

    When the fantasies of financial deregulation and free-trade were going ahead as the dominant political paradigm, Ron Wyden had no problem going along with them.

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    I posted that almost two hours ago. Has Wyden apologized yet?

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