This astute Kos poster dug up an old NYT article about the passage of one of many deregulation laws, this one letting banks off in 1999. Overwhelming support from both parties, the bulk of the opponents coming from, yes, the Progressive Caucus. And check out the euphoria in this opening paragraph from the allegedly liberal Times.
Congress approved landmark legislation today that opens the door for a new era on Wall Street in which commercial banks, securities houses and insurers will find it easier and cheaper to enter one another’s businesses.
A new era! Passed just before the dot com bubble collapse and heralding a brand new financing bubble complete with no doc loans, ridiculous extensions of consumer credit, and the ascent of variable rate mortgages.
It was “one of the most significant achievements” of the White House (Clinton) and Congress.”
The measure, considered by many the most important banking legislation in 66 years, was approved in the Senate by a vote of 90 to 8 and in the House tonight by 362 to 57. The bill will now be sent to the president, who is expected to sign it, aides said. It would become one of the most significant achievements this year by the White House and the Republicans leading the 106th Congress.
The opposition, the naysayers, were accused of adhering to pedestrian economics and “old thinking.” Imagine.
The decision to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 provoked dire warnings from a handful of dissenters that the deregulation of Wall Street would someday wreak havoc on the nation’s financial system. The original idea behind Glass-Steagall was that separation between bankers and brokers would reduce the potential conflicts of interest that were thought to have contributed to the speculative stock frenzy before the Depression.
The opponents of the measure gloomily predicted that by unshackling banks and enabling them to move more freely into new kinds of financial activities, the new law could lead to an economic crisis down the road when the marketplace is no longer growing briskly.
Pessimism. Gloom and doom. The sky is falling. They had to be dragged into the twenty-first century kicking and screaming. I mean, check out this guy:
”I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930′s is true in 2010,” said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota. ”I wasn’t around during the 1930′s or the debate over Glass-Steagall. But I was here in the early 1980′s when it was decided to allow the expansion of savings and loans. We have now decided in the name of modernization to forget the lessons of the past, of safety and of soundness.”
One Republican Senator, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, voted against the legislation. He was joined by seven Democrats: Barbara Boxer of California, Richard H. Bryan of Nevada, Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, Mr. Dorgan and Mr. Wellstone.
In the House, 155 Democrats and 207 Republicans voted for the measure, while 51 Democrats, 5 Republicans and 1 independent opposed it. Fifteen members did not vote.
Slightly different topic, current economic news as told by Calvin and Hobbes: