NYC Public Radio Promotes FDR’s Glass Steagall
April 12, 2016 (EIRNS)—Topic No. 1 of WNYC radio Brian Lehrer’s "30 Issues in 30 Weeks" pre-election series, which started on Monday, just a week before the New York primary, was one "at the heart" of the Democratic Party campaign, host Lehrer announced: breaking up the "To Big to Fail" (TBTF) Banks. Enter the voice of Franklin Roosevelt, telling Americans that his bank holiday proclamation "was the first step in the government’s reconstruction of our financial and economic fabric."
So, this issue is not new to 2016, Lehrer interjects; that was Franklin Delano Roosevelt speaking to the nation on March 12, 1933. He asks: does this not sound familiar? And FDR continues:
"We have had a bad banking situation. Some of our bankers have shown themselves either incompetent or dishonest in their handling of the peoples’ funds. They have used the money entrusted to them in speculation and unwise loans."
That opening frames a half-hour program dedicated to making a solid case for FDR’s Glass Steagall as the needed remedy for today’s Too Big to Fail banks, which Dodd-Frank does not do.
Audio clips of Bill Clinton and Obama defending the revocation of Glass-Steagall on the grounds that it was needed for the industrialized, centralized, and more nationalist economy which no longer exists; Sen. Byron Dorgan’s outraged warning in 1999 that eliminating Glass Steagall would create TBTF banks whose collapse we would rue within 10 years; and short clips from Bernie and Hillary, completed the setting for the interview with New York Times Business section writer Gretchen Morgenson which followed.
Morgenson spelled out how Wall Street was responsible for the Great Depression; argued that if Glass-Steagall had been in effect the whole economy would not have been brought down by the mortgage crisis of 2007-2008; insisted that the FDIC is not enough to protect deposits, Glass-Steagall is still needed; and dismissed Dodd-Frank as a too-long bill which didn’t end TBTF and mandated regulations which still haven’t been written, six years later.