Vermont senator and contender for the 2016 Democratic contender for president Bernie Sanders in a major speech Tuesday delivered a stark rebuke to Wall Street and his chief rival Hillary Clinton, delivering the message that “greed is not good.”
“If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist,” Sanders said to an invitation only crowd in Manhattan, slamming the financial industry by saying that “fraud is the business of Wall Street.”
Sanders also had unambiguous language for his chief competitor for the Democratic nomination for president Hillary Clinton, whose husband Bill Clinton signed legislation repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, which had barred commercial banks from involvement in risky investment banking.
“My opponent says that, as a senator, she told bankers to 'cut it out' and end their destructive behavior,” Sanders said. “But, in my view, establishment politicians are the ones who need to cut it out. The reality is that Congress does not regulate Wall Street….” A raucous crowd finished his sentence with “Wall Street regulates Congress,” USA Today reports.
Among other proposed reforms to the financial sector, Sanders promised to break up big banks whose size poses “a grave threat to the economy” within a year. How exactly he would accomplish that is difficult to sort out, however, since, as pointed out by Tim Fernholz at Quartz, the current authority to break up too-big-to-fail banks requires support of two-thirds of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, a seven-member body with only five members currently, all of whom were appointed by President Obama.