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Joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Senator, let`s get right down to brass tax and knuckles. Do you think
anything good came from today`s hearing, with the fawning celebratory
rhetoric that emerged from the Republicans on that committee?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, Michael, I`m not on the
committee, and I wasn`t in the room. But from what I could hear, and what
I read, it really was quite incredible. You have Wall Street which through
their greed, their recklessness and their illegal behavior, caused this
horrendous recession, leading to mass unemployment, people losing their
homes, losing their life savings. We just have recent report from the
Feds, median family wealth between 2007 and 2010 went down 40 percent.
This is the results of Wall Street. Wall Street over the years spent
$5 billion in order to get deregulated so they could do what they`re doing
today and the result was the crash of our economy. And to exult and to
praise and to honor the head of the largest financial institution, when it
comes to Capitol Hill, is beyond my comprehension.
DYSON: Yes. Well, it`s beyond the comprehension of many people who
thought that somehow financial regulation had at least been at the center
of the kind of rhetoric of the Senate to be able to at least protect the
Do you think in light of this that we could actually end up having
even less financial regulation than we do now?
SANDERS: Well, look, I think the real story is -- and everybody
should understand this -- is this is not a question of Congress regulating
Wall Street. This is much more a question of Wall Street and all of their
money regulating Congress. Through their lobbying, through their campaign
contributions, and with Citizens United, that situation is even more
Look, Michael. Here`s where we are right now. These are some of the
issues that have to be addressed. You got six financial institutions
today. JPMorgan Chase being the largest, that have assets equivalent of
two-thirds of our GDP.
They write half the mortgages, two-thirds of the credit cards.
If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, he would say -- I would agree
with him -- let`s break them up. You have banks charging working people 25
percent, 30 percent interest rates on their credit cards. We should be
addressing that issue.
You have incredible conflicts of interest at the Fed. Jamie Dimon,
head of the largest financial institution in this country, sits on the New
York Fed and during the financial crisis his bank received over $300
billion in low-interest loans. You think there`s a conflict of interest
there? You think we should deal with that?
So the issue now is does Congress have the guts to stand up to the
most powerful entity in the world, which is Wall Street and their money?
DYSON: Well, it`s a question that is not inconsequential.
Let`s take a listen here. Mitt Romney spoke at a Business Roundtable
in Washington today.
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ROMNEY: I will halt all the Obama era regulations and carry out
review of those regulations and get rid of those that are not meaningful or
that cost jobs in this country. We`ve got too much regulatory burden.
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DYSON: I don`t know, Bernie Sanders. Senator, that scares me. How
dangerous is this position?
SANDERS: It is, once again, almost beyond belief. We are where we
are today because Wall Street fought for deregulation, fought for the end
of Glass-Steagall, fought to allow commercial banks to merge with
investment banks, merge with insurance company. Fought to allow them to be
able to sell worthless products without the kind of proper regulation to
know what`s going on.
The end result is they drive us into a recession and then Mr. Romney
says the solution is to deregulate them even more. Let them do even more
of what they do.
The bottom line here is that what we need is a Wall Street and
financial institutions that cease being the largest gambling casino in the
world and start investing in the productive economy in America and start
helping us to create the jobs we desperately need.
DYSON: All right. Senator, thank you so very much as usual. Senator
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