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Can Washington Rein In Wall Street?

(Photo by Robin Holland)

In this week's JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with financial journalist Gretchen Morgenson about the financial reform legislation that lawmakers are crafting in Washington.

Morgenson said that the proposals she's seen have been insufficient to rein in many of the Wall Street abuses that helped bring on the economic meltdown.

"I think that the bills we have seen have been so half-baked and really do not address some of the crucial elements of reform that are needed if we want to prevent this kind of crisis from happening again... We are nowhere closer to any kind of technique [or] strategy to prevent that kind of behemoth from growing again... I myself have been stunned watching the brazenness with which [the bankers] are willing to operate now - just swaggering about town, throwing money at their problem, throwing money at legislators to make sure they don't have to face a formidable regulatory framework... They take the gains when their stock is rising, when their companies are profitable, but when they get into trouble, you socialize the losses. The taxpayer has to pay them. We have rewarded this kind of dysfunctional behavior... It wasn't that we needed more regulation. We needed regulators with an appetite to regulate. We had plenty of regulations on the books about mortgages, products, practices, [but] no one was enforcing it."

What do you think?

  • Do you believe that Washington lawmakers will create legislation that seriously tackles financial abuses from Wall Street?

  • What specifically would you like the legislation to address?

  • How can citizens take action to encourage regulators to actually regulate?

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    I think that we should pull back are troops from the war in Afganistan.

    Congress can NOT controll Wall Street! It has not for decades, so why now?

    Only Mainstreet can make a differecne this time!

    Washington thinks time will dull Mainstreet's mind. The internet is exposing records of Rubin-esk lies, "I was not aware of the risk Goldman Sachs investments exposed our clients too". Brooksley Born killed that argument 10 years ago.

    Washington does NOT understand that this is not a democratic or republican issue, but a WASHINGTON fleece the EARNERS issue exposed!
    Anger ain't going away!

    Vote incumbents OUT!

    Billy Bob Florida

    RESTORE AMERICA - take action by clicking on my URL...

    Take back America - stop pontificating ... do some research, take action, and RESTORE AMERICA!

    Goldman Sachs charged with fraud by the SEC April 16, 2010!

    Darian L. Smith,
    What the "mega Rich" have is not a "Free Market"; it is a manipulated market in their favor.
    Our problem is not too much debt; it is lack of funds to support a quality social system.
    The top five billionth of one percent of the population control most of the available money. They have gobbled up most of the nations available funds. It is classic financial monopoly end game. There is one winner and everyone else loses.
    We need a new system of economics that provides equity and justice for all of the nation's people.
    Our government is intended to maintain equity and justice not kowtow to vested interests. Without government intervention, we will all be slaves to the few rich and powerful.

    Axiom: the law of functional reality is intended to create order from chaos.

    The book 13 bankers by KWAK is a good description how the mega rich have
    deregulated their own industry,and brainwashed us all into admiring them for their "free market" accomplishment. This is not new in our history. But they have our government so co-dependent on them that they have us by the balls.
    Here's how to take it back:

    Still, everything accomplished began with small, willful acts, outward in concentric circles. Great Grandma used to say, "Come time, come tell."

    Posted by: Michael J. Sanchez, AFGE Local 1216

    Posted by David C. Eddy
    AJF AAU AMF AFE APA and the AHR (American Human Race)

    I think maybe that the present problem is that President Obama has the Ship of State going around in circles as it sinks into the ocean of confusion. Instead of bailing out the ship with the bilge pumps of working people, he is bailing out the ship by throwing money at the people who are trying to sink the ship.
    Now he is back pedaling on generating more work for the jobless.
    Instead of the unions supporting the working people; they are pocketing perks from the greedy CEO's.
    The more recent saying is "What goes around comes around". When the demand side of economics fails, the supply side will be next. Jumping out of business tower windows will again be popular.

    In other words, "I'd love to talk reform strategy, but I gotta get back to work."

    I've gone over the responses above. The best ideas seem, from my humble working man's perspective, to include PUBLIC INPUT INTO EVERY STEP OF LEGISLATIVE REFORM, and DOING THE NEEDED RESEARCH TO FIND THE ROOT LEGISLATIVE CAUSES AND BEGIN REPEALING EACH OF THEM.
    These two alone will require, I fear, more collective resolve than can ever be mustered among those in Congress with the power to do so, and much more public will than can be raised amid the absolutely distracting economic crises that exist in most families.

    Still, everything accomplished began with small, willful acts, outward in concentric circles. Great Grandma used to say, "Come time, come tell."

    Our national systems are not set up for the kind of mass reform needed. The infection of greed breeds unchecked in all three branches of government.
    There is not one working man or woman who does not know in their heart of hearts that there is in America--of all places--the cruelest and most heinous mis-distribution of wealth, power, and resources.
    Faced with a premise of taking action to restore any semblance of equality, Oliver Stone's character "King" from PLATOON put it simply, "You gotta be rich in the first place to think like that."

    Last week, Gretchen Morgenson suggested increasing the cost of doing business for financial institutions that can get 'too big to fail.' It is already too late for regulatory reform of our financial industry. What we need now is a major, if not complete, downward redistribution of wealth (that which is created when reasonable investors provide the capital for workers to convert raw materials into useful goods and provide valuable services).

    Following the recent Supreme Court ruling that corporations are individuals for the purpose of spending unlimited amounts of ill gotten wealth on campaign advertising, it stands to reason that something equitable and fair (that just might fill the bill without actually amending the Constitution) would be for the IRS to tax those same corporations as the rightful 'individuals' the Supreme Court says they now are, eliminating all those messy extra deductions and exemptions that mere wage earners are not entitled to, despite the fact that good healthcare is to real workers much as good maintenance and repair are to industrial equipment and fleets of motor vehicles.

    This week, it seems, Mr. Moyers will be addressing America's excessive prison populations. I hope it will be noted that the same four horsemen of the American apocalypse (politics, in linear and multiplicative conjunction with higher education, capitalism and religion, resulting in false senses of wisdom, moral superiority and entitlement, are responsible for both the economic collapse and the unlawful prosecution of victimless crimes, as just another pretended justification for being, and illegal source of revenue (upward redistribution of wealth).

    If America is to recover from this economic regression (my label), with social justice (not specified in the Constitution to be only criminal justice) for all, then those at the top will eventually have to learn the meanings of balance, moderation and reason, and to honor and obey the laws of the land like they tend to insist upon for most wage earners in America. In the short term, however, this November, if the hundred million or so Americans who watched the Superbowl would spend an equivalent amount of time studying the candidates and issues, perhaps they would know to vote all of those incumbent Republicans and Democrats who have abused, betrayed, chastised, diminished and oppressed them, for a few decades now, out of office. Let reason prevail.

    Last week, on TV, I watched a self proclaimed progressive – who probably needed some cash, so he sold us out – praising Baucus and Fowler for their selfless service to our country by getting the healthcare bill passed, and then today, someone was interviewing Barney Frank about the finance reform bill. Here is what this financial wiz/sellout had to say back in 2005:

    I am very pleased to join in support of this resolution. Indeed I was a prime co-sponsor. The main sponsor is our colleague from California, Mr. Miller, who comes to congress with a distinguish record himself in building homes. And this is a very important resolution, particularly this time, because we have an excessive degree of concern right now about homeownership and the economy.

    Obviously speculation is never a good thing [famous last words], but those who argue that housing prices are now at the point of a bubble seem to me to be missing a very important point. Unlike previous examples we’ve had where substantial excessive inflation of prices later caused some problems, we are talking here about an entity, homeownership – homes where there is not the degree of leverage that we have seen elsewhere. This is not the dot com situation. We have problems with people having invested in business plans for which there were no reality. With people building in fiber optics cable for which there was no need. Homes that are occupied may see an ebb and flow in the price – at a certain percentage level – but you’re not going to see the collapse that you see when people talk about a bubble. And, so those of us – on our committee in particular – will continue to push for homeownership.

    So you tell me – is that nutjob, Glen Beck, completely wrong when he says progressives are destroying this country? If our so called Democrat politicians keep this up, we’ll probably start seeing more and more shows with hosts like Anne Coulter and Willy Geist. I wonder what the title of their show will be (ironic, aint it).

    There is little disagreement on the fact that the financial system is a mess. To bring some balance to the system, I offer a simple proposal: that a public option should be Included in any banking reform.

    In short, people would have the option of borrowing from the federal government. Congress would establish a pool of bank credit in the Treasury, lending it to individuals and businesses as ordinary mortgages and loans, borrowers repaying the loans in the ususal way, with the interest being paid into the treasury. This interest would be used to fund programs such as health care, national parks, highways, bridges, food inspection, the coastguard, provide care for wounded service men and women, and the thousands of services provide for the benefit of our citizens. The big advantages are that there would be no increased cost to the people paying their mortgage, and government programs would receive increased funding without rasing taxes.

    The necessary legislation for the option has been in place since the Civil War, its constitutionality was established in the last ‘legal tender’ court case, Julliard V Greenman, in 1884.

    Following the example established by North Dakota, other state can charter banks on a larger scale to meet state needs. In this financial crisis, BillParks wrote, in part, "North Dakota has a state budget surplus of more than $2,000 per resident, a very low unemployment rate and a moderate foreclosure rate, the commercial banks responsible for prosecuting most foreclosures."

    Thanks, Mr. Parks, for the post.

    I just don't see a way that the United States of America, over a certain length of time (in a nanosecond world, much shorter than a HUMAN scale of time), can remain "united".

    Compare what is happening in North Dakota to what is happening in Arizona and you'll get why I am "prophet-sizing".

    Also, you have to have lived among the banksters to know one thing for certain about them - they're depraved when it comes to money.

    Talking about "regulations" now is INSULTING, at best. It's making up the rules of a PRE-EMPTIVE "war"

    AFTER everyone has already been killed.

    Gretchen Morgenson,
    You certainly did prove that Blond women are not all just light headed and no substance.
    You have an excellent understanding of the reality of economic systems.
    It is all about trust and fidelity and the necessary funds to keep society functional.

    As the old saying goes; "you have to get the corruption out of the system before you can get the corruption out of the politics".

    No more lobbyists, no more corporate money, no more cook the books and sufficient funds to run the country are the solution to our present economic failure.
    The objective of economics should be to provide quality lifestyles for all of its people.
    Economics is a people designed system and "insufficient funds" is a people failure to understand the necessary principles of their economic system.

    If it is PUBLIC MONEY that established the PUBLIC INDUSTRIES that are fundamental to maintaining a MIDDLE CLASS standard of living in what cockamaini upside down world would CROOKS be given that "industry" to reap the profits from other people's money and other people's labor...?!!!
    Posted by: Anna D

    Posted by David C
    Good point Anna. It would work best if once the industry is established that the employees would be share holders in the industry and that they would hire a manager to run the industry.
    As Bill Parks suggested they could also have a company credit union to service the employees.
    This type of organization would be very democratic and avoid socialism criticism. (:-)>

    Do you believe that Washington lawmakers will create legislation that seriously tackles financial abuses from Wall Street?
    Washington lawmakers will create legislation having very little impact on the Practices on Wall Street. The financial abuse on Wall Street is symptomatic of a much deeper crisis in the monetary system.

    The Federal Reserve Banking system is a classic pyramid scheme using debt rather than investments as the source of profit.

    The banking system creates money out of nothing as bank credit, also known as checkbook money. Legalized by an act of congress, the Federal Reserve simply writes money into existence in exchange for government bonds or as loans to commercial banks. The commercial banks, following fractional reserve lending gridlines, multiply deposits by repeatedly lending the same money without creating anything of commensurate value, their crediting the money to several accounts at the same time. Money is created by Federal Reserve Banking system as the principal of loans. These loans must be repaid with interest. The interest must be paid from the existing money supply. Thus, when the loans are viewed as an aggregate whole, paying the required interest leaves insufficient money in the economy to repay the loans. Consequently, banks must continually make new, larger loans to cover this shortfall, thereby expanding the debt, a growing pyramid of debt, an ongoing process of a classic Ponzie scheme.
    What specifically would you like the legislation to address?
    Legislation must restore the authority to issue the nation’s money to the government. The benefit of creating the nation’s currency belongs to the American people not to a privately owned banking corporation in business to profit its shareholders. If the government issued the nation’s money, lending it the public like a bank, the interest on loans and mortgages would be paid into the treasury, replacing taxes, and funding the government.
    Unlike the banking system, the government spends this money directly into the economy, providing goods and services for the citizenry instead of making profits for corporation shareholders. Clarifying the point with an example, many people own houses, have mortgage, and pay interest to banks and mortgage companies. If they had government issued mortgages, identical in terms to those issued by the banks, their interest payment would pay for government services and programs.

    How can citizens take action to encourage regulators to actually regulate?
    Citizens can charter nonprofit community banks, making all residents in their area shareholder by pricing bank share as low as possible, paying profits directly to governments in return for local government’s depositing tax revenue in their bank. Large reserve deposits of local tax revenue would give the banks a quick start in the banking business. If public employees used the bank services by opening checking and savings accounts, financing houses and cars, the bank would grow quickly. If citizens were informed that profits from their banking business would go to fund local government services - such as funding schools, maintaining roads, paying for police and fire protection and lowering local taxes at no additional cost to themselves -- they would see the benefits of changing banks.

    Following the example established by North Dakota, other state can charter banks on a larger scale to meet state needs. In this financial crisis, North Dakota has a state budget surplus of more than $2,000 per resident, a very low unemployment rate and a moderate foreclosure rate, the commercial banks responsible for prosecuting most foreclosures.

    DCE opined, in part, "The third thing to do is to establish needed industries and then turn them over to the private sector."



    philosophical difference here with you, respectfully, of course...LABOR HAS THE RIGHTS TO THE FRUIT IT PRODUCES. SHAREHOLDERS DO NOT.

    And what just happened?

    Didn't the "Private Sector" ship off the jobs to countries still participating in slave labor...?

    If it is PUBLIC MONEY that established the PUBLIC INDUSTRIES that are fundamental to maintaining a MIDDLE CLASS standard of living

    in what cockamaini upside down world

    would CROOKS be given that "industry" to reap the profits

    from other people's money and other people's labor...?!!!

    What specifically would you like the legislation to address?

    The first thing to address is the uniform regulation of all financial institutions. All of these institutions should be non-profit and insured against losses with limits on personal incomes and perks.
    The second thing to do is to use the national super fund to provide funds for special investments for the development of essential social services.
    The third thing to do is to establish needed industries and then turn them over to the private sector.
    We have all the necessary know-how and resources; all we have to do is put people to work working the problem.
    The reason government exists is to govern the social systems so that they meet people's needs.

    "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs".
    Thomas Jefferson,
    3rd president of US (1743 - 1826 What do you know.

    Thank you Bill Moyers, and Ms. Morgenson, for a ray of light of truth regarding the U.S "financial bailout" of the banking cabal and Wall Street in the sea of darkness of corporate controlled mass media.

    google "financial bailout" and there is an ABC article stating that the "bailout" may cost taxpayers over $27 trillion dollars.

    As Ms. Morgenson stated the Federal Reserve "... hasn't had my pro-consumer DNA in its system since the early 1990's ... ."

    The Fed is actually owned by the banks themselves. The book "The Creature from Jekyll Island- A Second Look at the Federal Reserve" by G. Edward Griffin, explains why Ms. Morgenson's statement is true. It is available at Amazon.

    I’m sickened at how credit default swaps still exist. These outside the line trades that go on, have the potential to become the dark matter/dark energy of the free market universe. Corporations would only show the good financial news and continue to hide everything else. We would have no idea how many trades go on and the depth a company is in it. Why in the world should we call this a free market, when the regular Joe investor, who buys and sells shares of companies, bases it on what a company wants him to know and hides a potential Titanic of red tape. What happened to breaking up to big corporations? Also, great essay, Bill.

    Maybe this is why there is virtually no information out there about this healthcare mandate and any ramifications which could arise from it.

    Posted by: David F.

    On PBS newshour, the bill was compared to the Iraq War - "...only time will tell..." whether it was a "good" thing...

    PBS's MI-5 series had a show about a run on Britain's health care system by FINANCIAL terrorists...too bad USA does NOT have an MI-5 that considers the health of its citizens a matter of NATIONAL SECURITY....FBI being kept busy with all sorts of wingnuts arming themselves for "armaggedon"...CIA, well, let's not go there...

    FDA...carrying out Cheney's marching orders - don't stand in the way of "progress" get them organs any way you can...

    This whole fiasco has shell-shocked a lot of people - can't IGNORE all the proof about psychopaths and sociopaths...

    Everything is upside down...

    GOVERNMENT was about keeping the public square clean and free of criminals

    Now the streets are filthy, full of rats, trash and divided up into tribal "lans" between "pagans" and "hell's angels", for instance,

    And the "government" is where it DOES NOT BELONG - INSIDE YOUR CASTLE AND YOUR BODY.

    Any questions WHY everyone is creeped out...?



    banal and recaltricant,

    "governors" of the personal private and intimate?

    There is NO SCIENCE in this health care bill, people!

    It's a LIST GENERATING "law"...NO ONE WINS...

    Iraq indeed...

    Has a journalist -- real or faux -- ever asked Clinton to why he had signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley and Commodity Futures Modernization bills?

    To me, it seems like when it comes to social or wedge issues our Congress is divided up into Democrats and Republicans, but when it comes to financial issues, they practically all lean to the corporate right (conservaDems and neocons).

    For the past 30 or 40 years our corporate media has been distracting us with god, guns and gays (not to mention celebrity scandals, shark attacks and missing blondes), and at the same time they have allowed our neoCongress to systemically dismantling our economy, one bill at a time. Maybe this is why there is virtually no information out there about this healthcare mandate and any ramifications which could arise from it.

    We already have a mechanism in place for creating incentives and disincentives — the tax system. On the books, the US has some of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, but in practice, there are so many loopholes and exemptions that many of these massive corporations pay fewer dollars in taxes than people earning middle class salaries.

    If we really believe that there is something to allowing the Goldman Sachses and AIGs to take extraordinary risks, we could — at least — tax the extraordinary profits.

    Then, when things get bad, We the People might see that the money going to bail out these greedy vermin would be the very tax money they themselves had paid.

    As it is, we have Oligarchy in everything by Constitutional name. When things are good We the People pay to make Lloyd Blankfein and his ilk rich. When things are bad, We the People pay to make them richer.

    Absurd. Even the most awful monarchs of medieval Europe weren't able to get away with this.

    If anyone would like to look deeper into the underlying reasons for our financial meltdown, I have a few recommendations.

    Professor William K Black gives a great interview related to our financial meltdown and its underlying fraud here on the “Journal”. I highly recommend watching:

    Also, Professor Black has a blog that provides some great information about the concept of Control Fraud, as well as the other systemic features of our continuing financial / economic disaster:

    Search for his work on the Internet too.

    For a better understanding of why we consistently find ourselves in these sorts of calamities, (i.e. 9/11, ENRON…) I recommend the work of Michael D. Watkins & Max H. Brazerman of the Harvard School of Business. Their paper ( titled “Predictable Surprises: The Disaster You Should Have Seen Coming and How to Prevent Them” provides details into our physiological, organizational, and political vulnerability which run counter to effective preventative processes and intentions. Check out their book of the same title.

    If you understand our financial / economic meltdown is the result of corrupting corporate influences enabled through the granting of Constitutional Rights (the concept of Corporate Citizenship ), I recommend a long but very informative historical piece by Ted Nace, “Gangs of America; The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy.” :

    Good luck.

    What do you think?
    The Laws were already created!
    Do you believe that Washington lawmakers will create legislation that seriously tackles financial abuses from Wall Street? No, I do not believe that they will.
    The Legislator repealed the LAWS for the purpose to allow "ponzi schemes...!" The authorities such as SEC, FED, FDIC etc. turned "blind eye." One of such law-power applies for FDIC. It is:
    "Enforcement Actions"
    "The FDIC supervises the following entities and has the statutory authority to take enforcement actions against them:
    FDIC-insured state chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System
    FDIC-insured branches of foreign banks
    Officers, directors, employees, controlling shareholders, agents and certain other categories of individuals (institution-affiliated parties) associated with such institutions"
    "Generally, the FDIC pursues enforcement actions against the above entities for violations of laws, rules, or regulations, unsafe or unsound banking practices, breaches of fiduciary duty, and violations of final orders, conditions imposed in writing or written agreements. The FDIC has the statutory authority to terminate the deposit insurance of any insured depository institution for violation of a law, rule, regulation, condition imposed in writing, or written agreement, or for being in an unsafe or unsound condition or engaging in unsafe or unsound banking practices.
    There are "238 banks foreclose" since 2007 and it is not over. The FDIC, SEC, FED and the legislators did not do their job for what they were elected. To try to do the job "after the fact" it is to late.
    What specifically would you like the legislation to address?
    Empower the people to EXPRESS their "WILL on ALL ISSUES." by "AMENDING the CONSTITUTION!" Repeal the "BANKRUPTCY ACT Chapter 11, the states and Local Uniform Debt Acts and others. These ACT legalizes "fraud!"
    How can citizens take action to encourage regulators to actually regulate?
    Repeal the "local, States and Federal IMUNITY ACT!
    With this, the Authorities can no longer use excuses, "turn blind eye" and look for immunities, while the "legalize fraud" was on rampage such as AIG, LBHI, WAMU etc. and then have the Bankruptcy Courts Authorize bonuses.
    To appropriate transfer $700 billions of public funds to private entities "for no consideration" is a criminal violation. The Justice Department did not do their job!

    I was in tears at the close of ms Morgenson's remarks because I felt so helpless to do anything about the travesties in the banking system. I want so much to believe in the change Obama promised but with each Moyer's program truth I feel we are drifting further away from the sure of financial justice. Thank you for presenting guests who not only tell the truth, but know the truth.

    post site not responding

    When all is said and done, when the GIANT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS run out of Black Hole Schemes to keep the Number Game going, who cares? This Capitalistic Market is only a "Belief System" that can no longer sustain itself now that it has Raped, Drilled, Gouged, Bulldozed, Blasted, Poisoned and Enslaved ALL Life on this very "Generous Planet". What Goes Round, Comes Round, What Goes UP, Must Come Down. "The Law of Relativity" Interesting how those who have had the most, Always Cry the Loudest. You'd think after 200+ years of Invading and Colonizing this Continent of "America" we would OPEN our eyes, ears, minds and Hearts and really question, "Why are we here? And who guarantees that We "Human-Centric" CONSUMERS will continue to "Roll the Dice". After all this has only been one very complex "Experiment". "The Extreme American Dream" has been realized, now it's time to WAKE UP.
    Who Really is in Control???

    Loretta Huston

    I do NOT believe that Washington lawmakers will create legislation that seriously tackles financial abuses from Wall Street?

    Specifically I would like the legislation to address the COMPLEXITY in all this financial double talk which has been ruining this country since the New Deal reforms stopped being enforced. And would it be too much to ask that the legislation included an investigation of these traitorous sociopaths who have damned near destroyed (what should be) their own country.

    A great many of these crooks should be in prison RIGHT NOW and should NOT be Treasury Secretary OR head of the President's National Economic Council OR ... ad nauseum.

    How can citizens take action to encourage regulators to actually regulate?
    Answer: We citizens should write our representatives demanding that they stop this 'enemy from within' from continuing their destruction of this country; we should work hard and contribute money to candidates who promise to stop this 30-year reign of terror against this country.

    BUT WAIT! A great many of us did EXACTLY these things. And what did we get for our troubles: a president who appoints these crooks to positions of power and continues to hold the bullies' coats while they beat the **** out of us.

    Actually, the most that we can do is to listen to people of conscience, like Bill Moyers and Gretchen Morgenson who CONFIRM the facts for us, and to be convinced that somehow, someway we ARE going to stop this corruption!

    One of the things that MUST cause these crooks (Bush, Cheney, Paulson, Summers, Geithner, ... ad nauseum) much discomfort is to know, in spite of their present well-connected invulnerability, that LIFE FINDS A WAY.

    Life finds a way to rid itself of those who are destroying it.

    Wall Street Bankers "strutting their arogance", where has every one been. Since Money and a lot of money, from special interests became Norm, I am not supprised.
    Until we outlaw the bags of money the slimy Lobbyists from Wall Street, Commercial Banks, there will be no reform for America. We are a country "Of and by the Corporations, NOT People".
    We have allowed this, we have "screwed the pooch".

    I found Mr. Moyer's umbrage about the banks and their lobbying efforts hypocritical, because he failed to give publicity 5 years ago, when it is probably to only system that could have prevented the banking collapse and the manipulation of Congress by their lobbyists. As a result, his prejudice contributed to both the banking collapse and the strength of special interest groups. Mr. Moyers and many others suffer from the dilusion that we can get good government for free. This notion is naive, especially after Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. What most peope including many of the people posting comments fail to grasp is that money or greed are not the problem. The problem is the types of things that are profitable and the types of things that are not profitable. For example, why can lobbysist profit protecting banks, but not consumers, when protecting consumres is what economists call a non-exclusive good, which requires government support to prevent free riders. Why could traders at AIG make millions taking risks that brought the banking system to its knees, but no one could profit preventing the risky loans. Why could money managers Soros make millions selling short, when they think that there is going to be a recession, but no one could profit preventing a recession. If we are going to have good government, we are going to have to pay for it and we are going to have to make "good" profitable. This means markets and intellectual property for public policy that protects consumers. If anyone would like to learn more, go to and call 410-255-1496. Elizabeth Warren thinks that politicalSheepdog showed promise and so should Mr. Moyers.

    I am glad you had Ms Morgenson on your problem. She had excellant things to say. Yesterday, I watched a 5 video program, The Debt of Dictators, on YouTube. The banks gave millions & millions of dollars worth of loans to dictators in Argentina, Phillippians, and to the old political system in South Africa. When these guys failed, the debt that is to be paid is put upon the common folk. The opacity that the banks & Wall Streeters is on the American taxpayer.

    If John Nichols is so excited about the up-coming reforms (23 + min); Why are so many Americans angry and violent that they are throwing slurs & stones...are they just ignorant what is going on; or is they think it is wasted $$´s?

    I wish everyone would quit being so polite about the obvious theft taking place under our very nose. I think it is ridiculous that pundits, media, or anyone for that matter, could be taken back by the anger and outrage in the streets of America today. This is not democracy at work, not when the decisions that are suppose to better the country are made based on the profits of a few grey haired old men sitting around corporate board rooms...or sitting in Washington passing misguided policy.

    Look, if you happened upon someone stealing your valuables from your home....what would your reaction be…to engage in honest dialog and express to the thief your feelings of disappointment and hurt? If that is the reaction, you might as well hang a sign on your house that says ROB ME, I am a weak person that will never draw a line in the sand, and you can run over me all you like.

    I think we need to address the problem here. There are a bunch of bums in Washington passing laws to fatten the wallets of their friends....those bums need to be thrown out of office and some fresh honest and ethical minds need to take the reins. Dodd, Frank, The Republicans, Obama...these guys are either bought out, or puppets. Look at what has transpired, certainly not the will of the people, rather the will of the few.

    These are corrupt criminals that amount to nothing more than mafia thugs lining their pockets at the expense of the least fortunate in our country. There should be ethics investigations at the congressional level to oust these immoral crooks from office.

    And the next time someone walks into your home and starts taking your TV, or money from your wallet through physical intimidation or taxation to then turn around and pay billion dollars bonuses to the very thief’s that created the whole might be more prudent to not allow such a theft to even occur.

    The notion that tax payers HAD to BAIL out these mafia thugs is based out of fear mongering propaganda and the weak minds that chose to believe the crooks spouting the misinformation.

    Wake up and stop the theft before there is nothing left to steal, our hold in esteem as the great country we have come to be.

    Just like health care, the people cried for single payer, and those voices were not even allowed a place at the discussion table. Rather what happened instead, a mandate to buy private health insurance….the exact opposite! Instead of everyone getting single payer, they got a mandate to buy the very private insurance at the heart of our broken health care system. Washington should be ashamed, and progressives and liberals should stop making excuses for these guys. We all hate to be wrong, or admit we are on the wrong side of the fence on issues, but I think it would be better to just come clean than continue the two party system lie that will only continue to make policy based on corporate profits.

    Was Rome to big to fail?
    Or rather, is that why it failed?


    Washinton is Wall Street, Helloooo!


    Too big too fail? Have you noticed the banks that did fail were swallowed up by much larger banks?
    The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act allowed commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms and insurance companies to consolidate. For example, Citicorp (a commercial bank holding company) merged with Travelers Group (an insurance company) in 1998 to form the conglomerate Citigroup, a corporation combining banking, securities and insurance services under a house of brands that included Citibank, Smith Barney, Primerica and Travelers.
    We need to go back to the Glass Steagal act and repeal the GLBA also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and break up these 'Too Big To Fail' institutions. We do not need another massive bureaucracy that further expands government that works for one party or the other.
    Enforce the rules, repeal the bad ones and bring back that which worked. Learn from history or repeat the same mistakes.

    The American Delusion is in progress.
    Decomposition of the “empire” reached its final stages,
    as we may conclude from this remarkable show.
    The exploitive, oppressive political system is still firmly
    retained by the power of money, by the power of oligarchy...
    The outlook for the future is quite hopeless, not much can
    be done to stop and/or reverse the process of decomposition.
    The regular pedestrian is being kept in the state of
    confusion; his/her mind is being foreclosed..., for now...,
    I hope not forever.

    The major characters, in the mean time, are in pursuit of
    their own dogma:
    FREEDOM, means to them –to STEEL BIG; DEMOCRACY –

    This motto seems to be put into practice quite well by
    the all branches of our “democratically” elected

    Luckily, among a few patriots, we have Bill Moyers,
    the unquestionable purveyor of the Truth.
    Bill, by action of his inquisitive mind, brings more information
    to the fore which was/is effectively hidden from the public
    by the skilfully run disinformation machine, the attempt of
    silencing the truth, or even silencing the opponents.

    Thanks, Gretchen for your personal courage.

    Rolland Norman

    Alvin and Billy Bob...
    You both recognize the problem but then you tip-toe around the solution. Only term limits for Congress has any hope of curing the ills. If it's good enough for the highest political office in the land why not for Congress as well?

    Alvin mar 27 8:46am Right, but:
    We have sent new & good people to Washington only too not be heard from until they are beaten into Wash. form--that is, attain Seniority & it is then their turn-so-no change will come from Washington until the SENIORITY SYSTEM is changed and each member has the same vote!

    FIX the SENIORITY SYSTEM or any Change will be short lived!!!

    Billy Bob Florida

    After watching Bill Moyers last night, I saw another program called 'Dead Tired' that discussed the cause of Colgan Air Flight 3407 which crashed just north of Buffalo.

    One person interviewed was Mary Schiavo who worked for the Department of Transportation. She actually says that companies put profits ahead of safety and that they used lobbyists in Washington to block legislation for airline safety.

    It should be obvious to everyone that the system is either corrupting, or these CEOs put money ahead of everything else, even public safety, capitalism, democracy, religion and basic ethical values.

    I think you have to fix the cause of this greed problem first before you can bring in any meaningful legislation to fix the financial processes.

    Sadly, no member of Congress will admit there is a problem. It is time to vote these people out, regardless of their political affiliation. We need to elect better people that work for the public consumer.

    Excellent segment on the linkage between the institutions, the Congress and attempts to bring about meaningful financial reforms. In my view, the show highlights the critical need for reform of our campaign financing and the conduct of elections. The current system where the members of Congress are constantly "chasing contributors" to fund increasingly expensive election & reelection campaigns only reinforces these linkages to the detriment of our nation.
    While not a panacea, restricting funds for political campaigns to the $3 generated on our tax returns, combined with restrictions on active campaigning to something like six weeks before election day, might help to begin to address some of these root causes which contribute to the ineffectual reform efforts in the Congress.

    I am a huge fan of Gretchen's work, especially her Sunday columns about corporate governance.
    I wish she and Bill had explored the possibility that financial services reform is stalled because Sen. Dodd is a very ethically wounded lame duck, with no real history of challenging Wall Street.
    Plus, his young family suggests he will be joining the parade of ex-members heading for K Street, which casts even more doubt on his reform convictions.
    Otherwise a good discussion about why the only new financial regulation we will ever get is only what the bankers are willing to accept.

    This quote ought to be on every billboard across America: "DEMOCRACY IS THE TRIUMPH OF MONEY OVER ALL OTHER VALUES" Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West, 1926.

    Gretchen Morgenson was an excellent guest. I would like to see her on your program again to explain how the banks destroyed the economy.

    I would also suggest citizens take action by telling republicans what is actually going on with this congress in simple terms.

    e.g. The banks pay lobbyists to pay members of congress to make sure there is no legislation to protect you from financial abuse.

    Getting the republicans to understand this should help, but it may be difficult. You need to explain it in simple terms so that even Ann Coulter can connect the dots.

    we're getting out on the street. this happened today in orlando, florida at wachovia in the center of downtown.
    we're getting out on the web.
    we're moving our money out of these big banks.
    yes, we are sick and tired of these banks holding the american economy, and us, hostage. it's like they're waiting until they get the "reform" package they want...then and only then, maybe, they'll start making loans. if this isn't economic terrorism, i don't know what is.

    Congress is broken!
    Change the Seniority System OR no reform will reform adequately.

    When Paulson first demanded $700 Billion in small unmarked bills I commented to BMJ that the banks would take the money, fix balance sheets & loan only too those that did not need the money!

    I'm just a regular ole Mainstreeter & if I knew it, then others knew it & that is what Washington does not understand, BUT now that the red-herring Health Care is out of the way, Congress will be rewarded for the great failure too represent the citizens!

    If I knew it, then most citizens knew it & now Washington is going too know IT!

    Mr. Moyer, people are coming forward in more & different venues & YOU must make Financial Accountability your focus until it is fixed---even if it takes the remainder of your life! You got it started--now finish it---please.


    Billy Bob Florida

    Under our present monetary regime, not only can't banking institutions be allowed to fail, they can't be allowed to earn and save either, and not only they, but everyone else. It is not only the banks etc, that reap the rewards of bad behavior, so does everyone else. Take for examples this past week's medical care fiasco, and yesterday's belated mortgage principle reduction scheme. As for lending, what we need is to change the attitude that wealth consists in owning assets like real estate, and lies rather rather in the productivity of individuals and businesses. The best way to do that is to stop giving away money. Let the bankers own houses without value. See if they can live without food and fuel, clothing and, yes, medical care. Then see if the Chinese will bail THEM out.

    Concerning the question, "How can citizens take action to encourage regulators to actually regulate?", the following short essay concludes:

    - By all but the pathologically romantic, it is now recognized that this is not the age of the small man. (John Kenneth Galbraith)

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