Wednesday, July 17, 2013

There are no magic wands.

Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by Mr Pierce's joint and saw he had a post up and the video of Senator Elizabeth Warren's appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box this past Friday (July 12), talking about her proposed legislation to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act from the 1930s. I made it almost to the end of the video snippet Mr Pierce had posted when I heard a preposterous question (Columbia Journalism Review identifies the questioner as one Joe Kernen - and accurately identifies the question as a straw-man):

Sullivan’s dumb question is followed by a straw man question from Joe Kernan about how Glass-Steagall—all by itself—wouldn’t have prevented the financial crisis. Warren has amiably knocked that one down before (not coincidentally, it came from CNBCer and NYTer Andrew Ross Sorkin), and she does here as well.
As I was writing this diary, I came across an article from Fortune Magazine on Monday where the author first claims:
Last week, the unlikely political pair introduced a bill aimed at recreating the 1933 law. The effort is welcomed, but the protections of Glass-Steagall aren't a cure-all for bank risk today -- its repeal didn't cause the financial crisis. And reinstating the law likely won't protect Americans from another one.
Then immediately follows this first paragraph with this:
This isn't to say a law like Glass-Steagall isn't needed. Warren and McCain's proposal would separate traditional banks that offer your standard checking and savings accounts insured by The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from riskier institutions, such as those involved in investment banking, the sale of insurance products, hedge funds, private equity, and the like.
When did we reach the point where proposed legislation like Glass-Steagall is being presented as a miracle cure/magic wand that will cure all the ills? We do not live in a binary world where the options are all-or-nothing. Senator Warren maintained her composure and pointed out to the Wall St Shills Squawk Box hosts this exact point.

Yet this is no where near the first time we hear Beltway Village Idiots Pundits, Politicians, and Courtiers use the argument that X legislation won't totally solve a problem in-and-of itself so we should not do anything at all. I'm thinking right now specifically of the opposition to even the most basic expansion of background checks at gun shows. Background checks alone will not solve the problems with the proliferation of guns but they just might keep them out of the hands of some folks who should not be allowed to carry (criminals for example.) Will someone who is intent on obtaining a weapon going to be stopped? Probably not. But what is wrong in making it a tad more difficult for them?

We do not live in a binary world, so let's stop trying to pretend that the solutions are only binary. Oh, and Jim Cramer? When you have to protest that Senator Warren did not make an impact on the issue of Glass-Steagall with her appearance? You pretty much confirm that she DID make an impact.

And because I can:


  1. Richard, you hit it out of the park! If Cramer and his type of pundits are saying there is nothing here, move along, it really got under their skin. You are so very right, there is no one magic bullet / binary action to fix the financial mess it took decades to create.

    We need courageous, honest (?) Representatives to vote, take the actions to move our government back into "regulation" of businesses to protect the citizens of the US and World. Whether it is in financial, environmental, FDA, EPA, etc., we need the government to do it's job to protect us, and to quit spying on us - to get out of our lives, phone calls and internet traffic.

    I spent over 30 years in government service, swore to uphold the Constitution many times in my oaths - I do not recognize the US government we have now.

    Thank you for the great post.

    1. Thanks Bev! I just get so fed up with the idea that if some proposal doesn't immediately solve ALL the related issues, it is not worthdoing at all. Just a bit on the stoopid side if things