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Robert Reich: Dallas Fed Says Break Up Big Banks

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If the biggest U.S. banks aren’t broken up, taxpayers will be on the hook once again for a giant Wall Street bailout—and that’s the dire prediction of the Dallas Federal Reserve, “one of the most conservative of the Fed’s regional banks,” says Robert Reich in a recent blog post.

Robert ReichReich (left), author of “Aftershock”, a UC Berkeley public policy professor and former U.S. secretary of labor under President Clinton, credits the Dallas Fed with warning that a cartel of giant banks continues to pose a threat to the economy’s wobbly recovery.

“Taxpayers will be on the hook for another giant Wall Street bailout, and the economy won’t be mended, unless the nation’s biggest banks are broken up,” wrote Reich on March in his blog post, “Break Up the Big Banks, Says the Dallas Fed,” on Huffington Post. “That’s not just me talking, or the Occupier movement, or that wayward executive who resigned from Goldman Sachs a few weeks ago. It’s the conclusion of the Dallas Federal Reserve.”

The best hope for the U.S. economy is “breaking up the nation’s biggest banks into smaller units,” says the Dallas Fed in its recently released annual report, “Choosing the Road to Prosperity: Why We Must End Too Big to Fail — Now.”

According to the 34-page report, the financial institutions that amplified and prolonged the 2008 crash continue to hinder not only the recovery but the very ideal of American capitalism. “Too big to fail,” or TBTF, must end, the Dallas Fed states unequivocally.

However, the report’s writers come to a vastly different conclusion than Reich about why the big banks need breaking up.

While Reich reminds his readers that Texas knows all about the dangers of under-regulated banks due to the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, the Dallas Fed believes that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is the problem.

“Dodd-Frank does not eradicate TBTF,” writes Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher in an introductory letter. “Indeed, it is our view at the Dallas Fed that it may actually perpetuate an already dangerous trend of increasing banking industry concentration. More than half of banking industry assets are on the books of just five institutions.”


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