Saturday, March 28, 2009

Senators To Be Listened To

David Lindorff, an insightful journalist, writes about those seven Democrats and one Republican Senators who voted against the repeal of the Glass/Stegall Act in the late 90's. These brave and honest Senators--among them are Dorgan, Boxer, Harkin, Feingold, Mulkolski, and Shelby--were right then and have the right to be listened to now, in terms of what they see happening.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), one of seven Senate Democrats who voted against revoking Glass-Steagall, said:

“I think we will look back in 10 years' time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930's is true in 2010. I wasn't around during the 1930's or the debate over Glass-Steagall. But I was here in the early 1980's when it was decided to allow the expansion of savings and loans. We have now decided in the name of modernization to forget the lessons of the past, of safety and of soundness.''

And then there’s the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN), who died in a plane crash during his campaign for re-election in 2002. Congress, he said, seemed:

“…determined to unlearn the lessons from our past mistakes. Scores of banks failed in the Great Depression as a result of unsound banking practices, and their failure only deepened the crisis. Glass-Steagall was intended to protect our financial system by insulating commercial banking from other forms of risk. It was one of several stabilizers designed to keep a similar tragedy from recurring. Now Congress is about to repeal that economic stabilizer without putting any comparable safeguard in its place.''

For the record, also voting against Glass-Steagall repeal in the Senate were lone Republican Richard Shelby of Alabama, and six other Democrats: Barbara Boxer (CA), Richard Bryan (NV), Russ Feingold (WI), Tom Harkin (IO), and Barbara Mikulski (MD).

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