Rebuilding our economy and restoring trust in our government will require a leader with the independence to implement bold reforms that take on the establishment, from Washington to Wall Street.
Thus far, however, we are the only campaign willing to confront honestly and directly one of the greatest threats to our long-term economic prosperity: Too-Big-To-Fail Wall Street banks.
In 2008, with the nation’s economy in crisis, Washington and Wall Street offered American taxpayers a Sophie’s Choice: spend hundreds of billions of dollars to save big banks from failure, or witness the collapse of our financial system and irreparable economic harm.
This was not only a betrayal of the public’s trust; it was also a betrayal of our free market system, which only works when every business plays by the same rules.
Taxpayers were promised those bailouts would be a one-time, emergency measure. Yet today, we can already see the outlines of the next financial crisis and bailouts.
The six largest financial institutions are significantly bigger than they were in 2008, having been encouraged to snap up Bear Stearns and other competitors at bargain prices.
These banks now have assets worth over 66% of gross domestic product – at least $9.4 trillion – up from 20% of GDP in the 1990s.
Dodd-Frank, which purportedly designed to fix Too-Big-To-Fail, has only made things worse. Not only has it left us with larger banks, but it imposes massive new regulations and unreasonable compliance costs on smaller banks, which hurts small business lending.
President Obama has offered no real solutions other than to demonize capitalism, which may score political points but does nothing to solve the problem.
My opponents have also failed to take on Wall Street with substantive reforms. This includes – unsurprisingly – the establishment’s preferred front-runner, Mitt Romney.
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