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There’s Something Absolutely Insane Happening In The House Right Now

Something absolutely insane just happened in the House of Representatives.

To fully appreciate this insanity, we have to take an unpleasant but brief trip down memory lane — back to the darkest days of the 2008 financial crisis. Insurance giant American International Group (AIG) was on the verge of collapse, and the U.S. government stepped in with an $85 billion bailout. The risky behavior that drove AIG to the brink was largely fueled by a financial instrument known as derivatives trading.

In the wake of the financial crisis, many people were less than enthusiastic about the prospect of footing a multi-billion dollar bill every time Wall Street gambled its way into a corner. So, when Congress passed a new set of financial regulations known as Dodd-Frank in 2010, it included a provision that required banks to conduct some forms of derivatives trading in a more isolated way in an effort to reduce risk and make government bailouts less likely. Many reform advocates would have preferred much stronger protections, but given the $12.4 million in campaign contributions and $105 million in lobbying expenditures by Wall Street industry groups attempting to influence the law, it was certainly better than nothing.

This brings us to insane part: Now, the House has passed a bill (H.R. 992) that would roll back these derivative regulations and let banks go back to the same set of rules that let them break the economy in the first place. So, why is it that both parties have found a way to agree on a substantive regulatory change at a time when partisan bickering is supposedly making any progress impossible?

It’s certainly not because the public is up in arms about rolling back derivative regulations — most Americans have never heard of derivatives trading, let alone pressured their Member of Congress to deregulate it. No, this is happening for a very different reason: Big bank lobbyists wrote this bill.

That’s not a cute turn of phrase or an exaggeration — The New York Times reports that 70 of the 85 lines in the new House bill reflect recommendations made in a piece of model legislation drafted by lobbyists for Citigroup, another bank that played a major role in the 2008 crisis and also received billions of federal stimulus dollars. The same report also revealed “two crucial paragraphs, prepared by Citigroup in conjunction with other Wall Street banks, were copied nearly word for word.” You can even view the original documents and see how Citigroup’s lobbyists redrafted the House Bill, striking out ideas they didn’t like and replacing them with ones they did. Citigroup is quite literally writing its own rules.

Wall Street’s astonishing level of influence comes courtesy of the disproportionate role money plays in our political system. The derivatives bill was sponsored by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R – IL). According to Maplight.org, a nonpartisan research organization that tracks money around congressional votes, Hultgren’s top source of campaign contributions is the Securities and Investment industry. The Bill also has eight co-sponsors — four Republicans and four Democrats. Maplight’s data also shows donors with Wall Street ties as major sources of campaign funding for six of the eight cosponsors (Reps. Spencer Bachus (R – AL), Scott Garrett (R – NJ), Jim Himes (D – CT), Sean Maloney (D – NY), Bradley Schneider (D – IL), and David Scott (D – GA) ).

But wait, there’s more. Members of the House received $22.4 million from interest groups that support the bill — that’s 5.8 times more than they received from interest groups opposed. Wall Street has also spent over $73 million on lobbying in 2013 alone. To top it all off, the the chair of the House Financial Services Committee went on a lavish ski vacation with prominent Wall Street lobbyists just six weeks after his appointment. 

So to review: We have a bill designed to roll back protections put in place after the financial crisis that was literally written by lobbyists for one of the major players in that same financial crisis. This bill was sponsored by a bipartisan group of Congressmen — including a former Wall Street executive — who depend on Wall Street to fund their campaigns. This bill enjoyed bipartisan support in a House that received over $22.4 million in Wall Street contributions and is under constant assault from nearly $50 million worth of Wall Street lobbyists in 2013. Have you noticed a theme developing here?

This bill is just the latest example of a sickening status quo that has taken hold in our nation’s capitol. Journalists and pundits may continue to dance around the issue with euphemisms like “influence peddling” and “insider culture,” but such wholesale purchase of the legislative process by special interests reveals a more urgent truth: Our government has become a place where fundraising takes priority over the public good. Our government feels more accountable to those who bankroll its members than the people it was elected to represent. Our government requires massive amounts of money, be it in the form of campaign contributions, lobbing expenditures, or outside spending, in exchange for any kind of policy outcome.

Our government is corrupt. It’s time we did something about it.

  • http://www.johnperryonline.com/ John Perry

    Dodd-Frank was a joke to begin with. Just a bunch of hollow BS designed to make people think these cons were actually doing something in the interest of the people who elected them. Hardly shocking that lobbyists are writing laws. It’s been happening for years. Sadly, there’s little if any hope of real change while the masses continue to consume themselves with a completely corrupt two party political system that is playing them all like a fiddle…

    • Rate Dermatologist

      Just because they act differently than you would wish doesn’t mean they are acting differently from their constituency. Many of their local voters are quite happy with this bill.
      So.. besides arrogant narcissism of those who believe that all congress should act as their minimalist view, a lot of people are satisfied.

      • http://www.johnperryonline.com/ John Perry

        Yes, a lot of people are satisfied. Because they have been sufficiently snowed by the tools pretending to serve them.

        • Rate Dermatologist

          Again… what a narcissist…
          In that statement, you’re assuming that you know better for others than they do for themselves. Your arrogance surpasses even the present administration’s

          • Lianne McNeal

            I don’t think enough people actually even know about this bill or have the proper education to understand how it could affect their daily life. So, in effect, you are assuming that the majority of these backers’ constituents even have enough information to form an opinion. So… I see lots of name calling without any links backing up the statement, “Many of their local voters are quite happy with this bill.” Please correct me with information that backs up this statement.

          • Rate Dermatologist

            Correction would be in the usage responses being over 50%.

            Another would be in the election being substantially one-sided (mainly because the tea-tards made a legit candidate look unwanted to most in the middle… ie.. the ones who stayed home rather than vote for the right.. notice how the Rep numbers were the same as last even though Obummer’s numbers went down?)

            “I don’t think enough people actually even know about this bill or have the proper education to understand how it could affect their daily life”
            You are assuming in that statement that you know the hearts, minds and wants of the majority of people… Either you are simply assuming much, or are God incarnate. That’s a substantial assumption considering that the numbers say that your perspective is singular, not remotely universal (or even widespread for that matter)

          • Lianne McNeal

            I thought about responding more, but I’ve actually just decided that you’re an idiot. Since you feel so inclined to call people narcissists, arrogant, and assumable, but have also decided that I either assume too much or am God, because, you know, that’s not a jump or a stretch and assuming and being god are totally relative (your words, not mine), you have caught me. I am in fact God Incarnate. I am Kali Incarnate and your antagonistic stupidity has made me very mad, and a little petty. Though hath angered the Great Goddess! Have fun with that! I sure will!

            You can talk as much as you want in your little, apparently Tea-Party-friendly, bubble instead of actually looking up information, of which I can find none from either direction by any community FYI, you claim to be true while I voice my one opinion as a single person that is upset that this has happened and as someone that has already actually sent a message to her House Representative asking about this bill.
            However, I did make one incorrect assumption. And that was that I assumed you were an intelligent enough human being to have a rational conversation from someone that is obviously of a different political opinion. Sources on that one: “(mainly because the tea-tards made a legit candidate look unwanted to most in the middle… ie.. the ones who stayed home rather than vote for the right.. notice how the Rep numbers were the same as last even though Obummer’s numbers went down?).” My bad.

            Should you actually feel so inclined to look up and share sources on these “numbers” you mention, I would be happy to move forward and have an actual dialogue. I would also like to see sources on my view being singular since you are making an assumption as well unless these “numbers” can be furnished to suggest otherwise. As you know nothing about my location and have only been able to (here I go assuming intelligence again) derive that I am of an anti-bank lobbyists writing bills persuasion. You can only derive that, and the color of my hair/skin from my picture, and nothing else because of the subject of this article to which I have obviously read and had some opinion on. Anything else is an assumption. Good bye.

          • Rate Dermatologist

            “I thought about responding more, but I’ve actually just decided that you’re an idiot.”
            That long diatribe is a non-response? Bwahahahaahah

            And, “you decided” is your answer to everything isn’t it? It’s the reason tea-tards aren’t taken seriously by anyone outside of their closed minded circle jerk

          • Thomas Dobbins

            “the election being substantially one-sided”…LOLZ. Obumble won by a little over 1.5 million votes out of 121,745,725 cast, that’s 1.23%…well within the range of error and fraud. And less than half of one percent (.004778) of our total population…pathetic. A few counties in 4 states go the other way and Romney would be the Prez…(God forbid).

          • Rate Dermatologist

            “well within the range of error and fraud”

            Really?
            Really?
            You are going to beat the drums of idiocy this early in the day?

          • Thomas Dobbins

            You’re the idiot who said “the election being substantially one-sided” (which was actually decided by 1.23%), and obviously an idiot who doesn’t think there is fraud and error in our method of elections…I laugh at your stupidity.

          • Rate Dermatologist

            Three million moderates sat out. (because the right wing nut jobs make it embarrassing to cast a ballet associated with their antics.)
            The right couldn’t produce better numbers than the last time around..
            it ‘was’ substantially one sided. It matters not how sour your grapes are about that
            And laugh away… word is, ignorance is bliss. You must laugh often

          • Thomas Dobbins

            God you’re a moron. 210 million people sat out…Stop embarrassing yourself…

          • Rate Dermatologist

            You’re right… children sat it out.
            Going by the numbers of the previous election there inspector clueless.
            Embarrassing you for spiting split hairs is quite enjoyably. The best part is that you assume others are being embarrassed by your idiocy.
            Truly, you are priceless to call someone else a narcissist when you assume to be smarter than anyone with the circular reasoning you attempt. Keep attempting to feel superior. It’s priceless for everyone with common sense

          • Thomas Dobbins

            LOLZ…says the person using their feelings as points in an argument instead of facts, with no formatting skills, using horrible grammar, who can’t spell or even use the correct word in a sentance. I’m impressed, Jethro.

            Seeya! I have to go make like the Prez and play golf now…

          • http://www.johnperryonline.com/ John Perry

            I’m assuming no such thing. I’m simply telling the truth about how congress lies to the people and conjures up toothless “reform” while continuing to do the bidding of deep pocketed special interests. This make me a narcissist? Please. The claim doesn’t even make sense.

            Washington’s subservience to Wall Street is hardly a secret. Anyone paying even modest attention can easily see what the real deal is. Why are NONE of these criminals who crashed our economy in jail? Why were they bailed out with our tax dollars, even while the overwhelming majority of Americans was screaming NO? Why are we now hearing only about “fines” instead of watching video of key figures being led away in handcuffs? Because Wall Street OWNS Washington, and hollow BS like Dodd-Frank does NOTHING to change that. Sorry if the ugly truth doesn’t fit with your politics, but I’m going to go ahead and keep telling it like it is. There are nowhere near enough people doing it.

          • Rate Dermatologist

            “I’m assuming no such thing. I’m simply telling the truth”
            You need a dictionary or to step off of a podium you don’t own. Truth and opinion are two completely different items. You believe your opinion to be the same as truth… it isn’t… just like your title of “broadcast professional”… bwahahahahaha

            Assuming that your opinion is inherently truth over being an opinion (everyone has them and they all stink) is narcissistic… doesn’t matter that you don’t like it. When you behave in the textbook manner, then that is what you are.

          • http://www.johnperryonline.com/ John Perry

            Gee, thanks for setting me straight. I don’t know what I was thinking. I must be the only one in the world with the opinion that Congress is completely bought. I guess the 40 people who gave my original comment here a positive rating must all be narcissists too.

            Speaking of behaving in a textbook manner, you replied to my original comment a full two weeks after I posted it and have focused so far on attacking me personally while completely ignoring the legitimate questions I asked in my previous comment. Textbook trolling. So tell me, are you actually being paid to troll around in your desperate effort to discredit people with the nerve to tell it like it is, or are you just some volunteer status quo tool with way too much time on his hands?

          • Rate Dermatologist

            The 40 people in a choir you are preaching to? Really, that’s your gigantic claim to fame? If that is what makes you proud of spewing rhetoric… go for it, but that proves my point that self aggrandizement is more important to you than reality.
            I am most certainly not for status quo, I am also not for burning down a house to repair a creaking floor board.
            Not a troll, just a rational individual who can’t help but laugh at the fringes on each side who assume the worst. Chicken littles are the worst of both wings(especially those who consider Youtube to be “broadcast Journalism”… bwahahaahahaha). I am in fact a Constitutional Conservative, but also rational enough to realize when rhetoric and “sky is falling” statements are filled with hot air.
            You however have shown yourself to only be a weak trollbate looking to have people “like” your rhetoric fueled comments as though that means something… What a wonderful life you must live in the real world…lol

          • http://www.johnperryonline.com/ John Perry

            Those 40 people are not a choir. They were not there when I made the comment. They only validated it after the fact. Good job with the intellectual dishonesty. I only pointed them out to prove that I am far from the only one who can tell that the United States Congress is completely bought. But hey, if you want to continue to use that as part of your “narcissist” charade, knock yourself out. Just makes it more obvious.

            You’re the one who showed up two weeks after my initial comment, you continue to refuse to even attempt answering the legitimate questions I asked you a couple of comments back, but I’M the weak troll? Please. And if you TRULY think the problems this country faces are comparable to a simple creaking floor board, you’re the one who’s completely out of touch with reality. Hard to imagine someone being so incredibly ignorant, though. It’s far more more likely that you’re just another hollow troll, out here trying to piss people off with personal attacks and lure them into arguments designed to distract from the real issues.

          • Rate Dermatologist

            Those 40 people represent those 40 people…
            You have one incredible view of yourself… I bet you hate how Obummer does the same thing…lol
            You should look into transference. Looks like a lot of what you would accuse him of can be found in the mirror

          • http://www.johnperryonline.com/ John Perry

            You’re the one who wants to make it all about me. You don’t want to talk about the substance of my original comment or my specific questions regarding Wall Street and the financial crisis (which I am now referring back to for the third time with no response whatsoever from you), because you KNOW the real deal and you can’t handle it. You just want to trash someone who, unlike you, is not afraid to tell it like it is. Congrats on being part of the problem.

  • http://lindagalindo.com/blog Linda Galindo

    I think it is time to do my part. Hello credit union.

    • Steven Alexander

      Time? I agree but that time was closer to 2010 and even 2008. I looked at my Schwabb MANAGED account. In the last 6 years I had it (not any more!) I made a whopping 1%. Now, at my Credit Union, I will make that 1% in one year – not six. Not only do you pull your money out of the bailout banks http://www.moveyourmoneyproject.org/ but you should take your money out of the place where the RULE is FRAUD – the Stock Market.

      • David Shorten

        The stock market is actually one of the more stable markets, the crash of 2008 was not caused by the stock market but rather by the trading of Subprime loans in packaged Credit Default Swaps.

        • m8lsem

          If he’d said ‘Wall Street’, he’d have been correct. So are you. The stock market isn’t exciting enough for the troublemakers.

        • 1autumn

          Mortgage-Backed Securities Losses Dominate Federal Reserve Balance Sheet
          By Jon C. Ogg | 24/7 Wall St. – Fri, Aug 23, 2013 12:05 PM EDT

          Repeat endlessly until economy sinks. Pardon me, already has sunk but collapse has not yet been acknowledged.

  • joshfishman

    join the wolf-pac.com to help pass an amendment to get money out of politics

  • John Zaffino

    Absolute insanity, but not at all surprising. These bastards will sell their souls for a dime, and then tell the people that they are going it for their own good. Meanwhile, they will rail against anything that benefits the common, average American worker.

    • Akshay Sarma

      Actually they are selling — our — souls for a dime, and then telling us it’s for our own good. The bastards aren’t giving anything up of their own, they’re just helping the banks break into our houses to steal what they want.

  • terry clark

    Why can’t these campaign contributions require matched amounts to a shared fund by all or something of the sort. If Wall Street is going to contribute 50 million to targeted politicians then it should be required that an equal amount or matched amount goes into some other fund that doesn’t have their interests in mind. Too bad all those campaign contributions can’t be used to pay down the debt. That would be fair since they helped create it.

  • Steven Alexander

    Take the apathy of so many voters that ONLY vote once every four years. Couple that with the memory of the typical American lasting less than 6 months and you get a system where money has a huge impact. If the population was full of people who had the skills the late George Carlin would have called, critical thinking, money in politics would have little or no impact

    • Rick

      People are people. If they don’t behave according to your desires, that’s something you need to accept. We’re not going to suddenly get a better electorate.
      To a great extent, the alienation of the electorate is a result of the corruption. If people weren’t constantly disappointed in the government, they would pay more attention to what was going on.

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  • BenTheGuy

    You forget to mention that Dodd and Frank are also tools of Wall Street, and their bill is a giant hidden boon to Wall Street. Now they want even more. We should scrap all of it and start over with Congresspeople who aren’t 100% compromised like Dodd and Frank. I can’t believe some of you trust those guys.

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  • Richard Laiacona

    I agree our Government is corrupt. Can you write a follow-up article that shows how the bill works in plane English. I do not know what the difference “Insured” and “covered” has in the meaning of the bill. Thanks.

  • Registered User

    More Americans need to address derivatives trading, especially since, according to the US debt clock, derviatives are considered a form of money creation. Which means DEBT is legal tender. THAT is insane. How is it AT ALL financially responsible to “insure” investors against defaults? This how we’re going to protect solvency of the lenders? America truly is a debt market, only interested in a facade of wealth while real value crumbles.

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  • Art M.

    WRONG. The fellow that crafted this article and the video uses inflammatory language, makes misleading statements and has not the faintest idea what he is talking about. He appears to know nothing at all about finance and even thinks that “derivatives” is “hard to pronounce”.

    “The legislation retains subsection (i), of Section 716, which prohibits the use of taxpayer funds to bail out swaps entities. H.R. 992 maintains the spin off requirement for structured financial products, swaps that are problematic and risky and whose value derived from the poorly rated and underwritten mortgages that were at the heart of the financial crisis. ” — govtrak

    This style of misinformation — crafted to generate hatred — is EPIDEMIC in our society right now, on the extreme right and the extreme left. It is a disaster.

    • Wendy Davis
      • Art M.

        Thanks for the pointer Wendy but that article is just as vague as the one above.

    • Corey Jones

      I’m unclear about your position. You claim this article is
      generating hatred “on the extreme right and extreme left,” but the
      article states clearly, “This bill was sponsored by a bipartisan group of
      Congressmen.” *In my interpretation* – taking into account the tone of the video – this is not a hate statement, but a call to action; specifically, a call to cast votes independent of political party.

      If anything, the article should not create more hate between the parties. Rather, it should help us recognize the absurdity of political parties in the first place

      • Art M.

        Thanks for the note Cory. I was not so clear. In general I often witness behaviors from extreme right and extreme left – tactics to manipulate people to hatred – where the tactics seem to work regardless of the facts. The tactics are often void of content, misleading.

        I think that this article in particular consists largely of spin. For example, in every field it is common for practitioners in the field to provide input to legislation. The section offered by Citibank at first reading appears to try to create a clear distinction between the tyoes of derivatives that caused the recession (dangerous) versus the types of derivatives that are more commonly used for financial risk management. This article should have addressed the details. Is this distinction appropriate? But no, instead, it was just flamboyant hate mongering.

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  • ralphie44

    welcome to the jew world order

  • Richard Vesel

    So the next time ANY industry asks for some deregulation, write your representative and tell them to vote NO! Deregulation simply sets the stage for the greedy and sociopathic in business to take advantage of most of the rest of us. It takes only one of these bad apples, one in a thousand, to tear down anything constructive done by the rest. Not all the powerful are greed and selfish, but those who are absolutely ruin it for the rest of us, given their ability to leverage and game the system.

    • Louis Sparks

      “(W)rite your representative…”- – - sorry, but, some financial industry lobbyist got there with a basket full of money ahead of you.

  • Neil Bob

    What ever. Those regulations were dumb to begin with. To roll them back is no big deal. After all it wasn’t the derivatives market that led to the big bust. That was just the symptom. The issue began with Carter and Clinton and the Fair housing act, that force the banks to make loans to people who couldn’t afford them. The derivatives market was designed to bundle those risky loans an hopefully make a pool out of them, where the risk was reduced. Kind of like the health care exchanges today. To many risky individuals will force a pool of insured risk to be shoved off to someone who is willing to purchase that risk.

    The issue is not with the derivative market, but with Government forcing banks to make loans, and then bailing them out. Let the banks do their job and only give loans out to those who can afford it, and stop the government from bailing them out if/when they fail.

    If someone wants to take on bad debt hoping they can make money off of it, go for it. Just don’t expect the Gov’t to bail you out. That’s the heart of the problem. If there was no bail out, there would be no desire to purchase those derivatives.

    • Rick

      Completely delusional. Keep drinking the Kool-Aid. It’s all the fault of Democrats who were Presidents decades ago.

      • Mark Ervin Dabney

        Actually – it is NOT an issue of whether the Demopublicans or the Republicrats are to blame – they BOTH have equal culpability – yet the lion’s share goes to the Rothschild international banksters that have their Ponzi scam where they COUNTERFEIT UNDER THE COLOR OF LAW!

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  • disqususer

    Corruption? You haven’t heard the half of it. Let me tell you about corruption. The f****** US government demolished the World Trade Center with 3 underground nukes and blamed their own dirty deed on some Muslims in order to start this whole phoney ‘War of Terror’. Don’t believe me? Well, just read the info at http://pastebin.com/NPiutkdZ and decide for yourself.

    • hamous

      Fire cain’t melt steel!

      • disqususer

        Nope but nukes can.
        And neither do skycrapers fall down on their own accord simply because neighbouring buildings are brought down.

        Watch the videos at:
        http://www.disclose.tv/forum/dimitri-khalezov-wtc-nuclear-demolition-full-playlist-t21675.html
        Video # 4 – WTC’s demolition plan
        Video # 14 – WTC 7 (which fell ½ hour AFTER the BBC announced its collapse).
        Videos # 24/25 – chronic radiation sickness of WTC responders (their cancers are not due to asbestos poisoning)

        • hamous

          First, fire CAN melt steel. That’s how they make steel. With fire. Second, every fire truck, EMT truck, and countless other emergency vehicles carry around sensitive radiation monitors. If three nukes had exploded underneath Manhattan they would be pegged out 100% of the time, every day for the last 12 years. Third, the president can’t even keep a hum job in the Oval Office a secret and yet you want us to believe that of all the thousands of people that would have to be a part of this grand conspiracy of yours not a single one of them has come blabbed. Fourth, all of these conspiracy theories you list have been thoroughly debunked by numerous independent scientists much smarter than you and me.

          Frankly, the South Park theory that the government itself created the 9/11 Troofer movement so that chuckleheads like you would think they were all-powerful has more credibility.

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  • AManCalledDa-da

    If our money is worthless, they’ll have no power.

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  • Gideon Dabi

    Banks are only interested in funding members of Congress because it affords them opportunities to gain advantages thanks to the mixed economy we have. Maybe if government had no role in the economy (apart from prosecuting fraud – i.e. Madoff, etc) and let the market dictate winners and losers (with no bailouts) we wouldn’t have politicians beholden to big banks (or any business, for that matter).

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  • M-Tee

    The problem is not what the banks did, it’s that we bailed them out. There are bankruptcy laws in place to address their problems. The government using out tax dollars should NOT bail out anyone. Oh, many of you will say that OMG this could have brought down our entire financial system!!!! I say BS! Everybody is chicken little these days. LET THE SYSTEM WORK and that means some businesses prosper and some fail – it happens everyday.

    • Sam Clemens

      Funny thing is that what we allegedly have is “capitalism”. Actual capitalism would let businesses succeed and fail on their own merit. We have nothing like that – rather, we have cronyism or corporate socialism (pick your term). And even funnier (ha ha ><), there is no guarantee that regulations are for the benefit of the public (a classic false belief widespread among progressives), since the ones writing them in many cases do so to give themselves an unfair advantage in the marketplace, e.g., by restricting what their competitors can do but not they themselves.

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  • Pingback: Congress passes bill H.R. 992 – the Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act “designed to roll back protections put in place after the last financial crisis that was literally written by lobbyists for the people that caused the last financial crisis&#

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  • ziggrl

    And Obamacare was written by the insurance lobby. Where is that story?

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  • Robin Coulon

    It’s fascinating to see how many otherwise quite intelligent people unquestioningly believe that money is real value. The only value money has is our belief in it. There’s nothing behind it, like gold and silver anymore, it’s just created out of thin air. The only thing that has actual value is a conscious entity, a flesh and blood, breathing person, who can believe that money has value, or that pigs fly, if they will. We are the value. We are the people. We don’t get our power from the Constitution, we wrote the Constitution. We are the power, but only when we wake up to who we really are. That said, within “the box”, there are some brilliant comments here by obviously sincere people, and I thank everyone for their genuine interest in the search for a solution to the many obvious ills of the current system of commerce.

  • Robin Coulon

    It’s fascinating to see how many otherwise quite intelligent people unquestioningly believe that money is real value. The only value money has is our belief in it. There’s nothing behind it, like gold and silver anymore, it’s just created out of thin air. The only thing that has actual value is a conscious entity, a flesh and blood, breathing person, who can believe that money has value, or that pigs fly, if they will. We are the value. We are the people. We don’t get our power from the Constitution, we wrote the Constitution. We are the power, but only when we wake up to who we really are. That said, within “the box”, there are some brilliant comments here by obviously sincere people, and I thank everyone for their genuine interest in the search for a solution to the many obvious ills of the current system of commerce.

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  • A.L. Hern

    “…two crucial paragraphs, prepared by Citigroup in conjunction with other Wall Street banks, were copied nearly word for word.”

    And all this time I thought Rand Paul was the only plagiarist in Congress.

  • 1autumn

    Reinstate Glass-Steagall, declare gambling debts of banks their problem not taxpayers’.
    Problem solved. But let’s all hold our breath for congress to actually do it.

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  • Gavin Grayson

    Doesn’t this bill still need to pass in the senate and be signed by the president before it is law?

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  • CornellUG1993

    This bill does three things. It gives US branches of foreign banks the same treatment as US branches of US banks, it tightens the exemption maximum threshold for institutions, and it clarifies some permitted swaps activities in a neutral way. Not a single one of these “rolls back” any substantive regulation on swaps.

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  • IAMWHOISAYIAM

    The Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act recognizes that not all swaps or derivatives are created equal. Many corporations and financial institutions use swaps for legitimate purposes to hedge and offset risk. Each company’srisk is specific to its needs, and, in many cases, insurance is not available to help these businesses manage their risks. Many rely on financial tools to provide them with the certainty needed to operate efficiently. This legislation amends Section 716 of Dodd-Frank to ensure that federally-insured financial institutions can continue to conduct risk-mitigation efforts for clients like farmers and manufacturers that use swaps to insure against price, interest rate, and currency fluctuations.

    Specifically, the Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act is a technical fix to the “push-out” provision of Dodd-Frank, recognized by many experts including Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke and the former Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services Barney Frank, as working contrary to the transparency goals of Dodd-Frank. Currently, Section 716 of Dodd-Frank effectively requires depository institutions to “push out” most swaps into separately capitalized, non-bank affiliates. The Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act limits the types of trades being forced out of banks to only “structured finance swaps” – derivative instruments similar to those that brought down AIG during the financial crisis.

    Some opponents have argued that the Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act would allow for repeat of 2008 and hold taxpayers liable for banks’ bad bets. However, this is not true, as the legislation does not alter Dodd-Frank’s prohibition against bailouts of institutions that find themselves in financial trouble because of swaps trading.

    Nor does it allow depository institutions to deal in the type of structured asset-backed swaps that contributed significantly to the economic collapse of 2008. And it does not alter, in any way, Dodd-Frank’s prohibition against proprietary trading at federally-insured institutions, otherwise known as the Volcker rule. More simply, banks cannot use deposits to make bets for the purpose of making a profit.

    It is important to note that this provision is not controversial. The exact same legislative language passed the House Financial Services Committee last Congress by voice vote—with the support of then Ranking Member Barney Frank and all of the other members of the House Financial Services Committee. The legislation garnered broad, bipartisan support again this year with a vote of 54-6 in committee.

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