First, do no cheating

Maybe it’s time to do something about the hypertrophied financial “industry” that has an unfortunate tendency to break the global economy ever few years?

On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) headlined an event that launched a new coalition calling itself “Take On Wall Street.”

The group includes lawmakers like Warren, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), labor leaders like the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka and the AFT’s Randi Weingarten, as well as civil rights groups, community groups, and the organizing giant Move On. It aims to put pressure on lawmakers at all levels to pass stricter rules governing the financial system.

Operating on two principles — “No cheating, and no pushing the risks on taxpayers,” as Warren put it — it’s making five key demands: breaking up the biggest banks; ensuring access to non-predatory banking products, including through the United States Post Office; ending the carried interest tax loophole that allows hedge fund managers to use a tax break for investment income on the income they make at work; reining in executive bonuses; and imposing a financial transaction tax.

It seems like a good idea to me. They award themselves too much money, and they break everything.

In her remarks, Warren noted some of the accomplishments that have been achieved under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, particularly the $10.1 billion in consumer relief brought about by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But she argued that things have to go further. “We have made a lot of progress under the Dodd-Frank financial reforms,” she said. “But we’ve also got a lot more to do.”

In particular, she called for a reinstatement of a “21st century Glass-Stegall,” a law that previously separated riskier investment banking activities from commercial deposits, and to “break up the big banks.” Given that banks have grown larger and more concentrated since the financial crisis, she warned that taxpayers are still not free from the possibility of having to bail them out again in the future. “Dodd-Frank imposed some discipline, but let’s get real,” she said. “Dodd-Frank did not end too big to fail.”

Too big to fail should end. Enough already.

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