Letter: Disproving recent Glass-Steagall comments - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letter: Disproving recent Glass-Steagall comments

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Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2012 8:24 am

It must be that the Mesa tea party has become an echo chamber for disinformation. In a letter from tea party member Bill Sandry, we are asked to believe that the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial savings banks from Wall Street investment banking since 1933, was repealed by the likes of favorite tea party targets Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Charlie Wrangle. It didn’t take five minutes of research to disprove such nonsense.

In fact, Glass-Steagall was repealed in a bill entitled The Gramm, Leach, Bliley Act — named for its author, Sen. Phill Gramm, R-Texas, co-sponsor Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, and co-author Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, R-Virginia. Bliley was also chairman of the House Commerce Committee at the time as both House and Senate were controlled by Republican majorities. To even imply that this bill was championed by the likes of Franks, Dodd and Wrangle is malicious deception.

It may be true that Sandry asked Mitt Romney, directly or otherwise, how he stood on bringing Glass-Steagall back in order to regulate Wall Street’s riverboat gamblers. It is also not surprising that Romney hasn’t given a straight answer either. Efforts to regulate banking have been stonewalled by Republicans through both filibuster and watering down the Dodd-Franks Act which took a stab at restoring order after the 2008 disaster.

In another excruciating stretch, the letter insists that President Obama doesn’t favor a return to Glass-Steagall because he has friendly contributors among Wall Street bankers who keep him reined in. Obviously, advocates for a simple return to a 79-year-old law don’t understand the consequences of the Glass-Steagall repeal. Since 1999, through mergers and commingling of assets, investment and savings banks have blended themselves internationally, tying the global economy together for better or worse — most probably worse. If the President of the United States signaled to the European banking community that U.S. banks were returning to Depression-era investment regulations, the already fragile European economy would implode, taking us down with it.

In the end we can only offer some kind advice to Mr. Sandry and his Mesa tea party. First, understand that you are all entitled to your wild opinions, but you don’t get to create new sets of facts out of whole cloth. Second, you might want to strive for better understanding of global economic conditions and the realities faced by the White House. Finally, no matter how much you must hate President Obama, we are lucky he has a better grasp of reality than the Mesa tea party.

Ron Weitbrecht


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