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President of Major U.S. Trade Union (IAM) Renews Call for Glass-Steagall

May 21, 2014 (EIRNS)—As warnings proliferate about the blowout of the world financial system, possibly triggered by the “bai-in” procedure, calls for a strict separation between commercial banks and investment banks in order to protect taxpayers and depositors are growing.

R. Thomas Buffenbarger, International President of the IAMAW (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers), took the occasion of the IAM Legislative Conference in Washington on May 11 to again insist on the need to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act. He also called for a "national TVA" to mobilize the economy, to deal, in particular, with the national drought and water supply crisis.

In discussing the officials who have conducted the bail-out for the banks, he said his shop stewards could have done a better job of negotiating than did the U.S. Treasury Department!

Buffenbarger was recently re-elected by a 2-1 margin to his position, which he has held for 16 years. This was a special election, forced by "reformers," to attempt to challenge his policy leadership. The IAM is on record strongly endorsing re-enactment of Glass-Steagall since 2010, and Buffenbarger himself has been outspoken on the subject.

In fact, three prominent backers backers of two Senate bills to bring back Glass-Steagall were invited speakers at the Legislative Conference: Senators Tom Harkin, Elizabeth Warren and Maria Cantwell.

Moreover, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.Vice-Chairman Thomas Hoenig gave a speech on May 7 titled "Can We End Financial Bailouts?", to which he replied, in essence: No, we cannot, because Congress has not separated the banks with Glass-Steagall (cf. above). He also made it clear that the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” is a hoax.

The issue of Glass-Steagall even came up at the May 15 hedge fund conference sponsored by SALT in Las Vegas, during a debate between former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and author Nassim Taleb. The latter said, to great applause: "let’s go back to when banks were boring-like utilities and didn’t take too much risk and taxpayer money, and investment banks were the ones taking risk and would go bust like Drexel did."