Kaptur Floor Speech Hits Greenspan and Repeal of Glass Steagall
June 21, 2011 • 12:24PM

In a June 15 House floor speech, the day before the 78th anniversary of FDR's Glass-Steagall's passage, HR 1489's prime sponsor Rep. Marcy Kaptur blasted Alan Greenspan and the 1999 repeal of Glass-Steagall. Kaptur is making a series of House speeches as appropriations bills (Agriculture, in this case) come to the floor; this is the most recent one posted to her Congressional website thus far (http://www.kaptur.house.gov/index. php?option=com_content&view=article&id=157:video&catid=25):

"Go back to the 1990s. Read Alan Greenspan. A great advocate of 'rugged individualism' and Ayn Rand, right? Just drive 'em into the ground! Make all his friends rich! JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley — it's an interesting group of characters up there that took America to the cleaners.

"They took, and outsourced our jobs. Now, they took our home equity. And now, it's getting so bad, we even have a bill that's going to take food away from about 350,000 women and children. Now who's fault is that?

"Here's a little note from somebody in my district. She says, 'Without help from the food bank, I would be on the streets. I struggle every day to make ends meet, so my kids have a place to lay their heads at night. I have a job; but with two kids, it's still very hard. I have a lot of trouble paying rent and bills. I just wish there were more help to parents like myself.'

"That's from the rural part of my district. From the urban part of my district, a plate is signed at the food bank, which reads: 'My income is spent on bills, which leaves me very little money for me to purchase food for myself and my two daughters.'

"Now you know the majority of people in this House are Christians. And I'm not pushing that, though I am one of them. But the first Beatitude says, 'Feed the hungry.' It doesn't say, 'Rugged individualism.' I'm as individualistic as anybody else in this chamber. But I'll tell you what — There's a heartlessness that goes with people that take everything for themselves, and turn their back on the rest of the American people. So when Big Oil makes record profits and pays no taxes, there's something really wrong. There's something really wrong with the country.

"And the American people know it. They didn't 'clean house' here last November because they thought you were better. They just wanted a change, and they'll vote for that again unless their lives get better. And their lives won't get better unless we fix what Alan Greenspan, and Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America, and the whole rest of those buzzards up there, did to this country.

"And they're taking bonuses. In fact, they're making so much money, they take Members of Congress out — you know the average amount per meal? $193! A hundred and ninety-three dollars a plate — these folks (holding up the constituent's note) spend a couple of dollars a day each on food.

"So I stand with the American people — not those wealthy interests who took the nation to the cleaners. You know those hedge funds? They pay at a 15% tax rate. Mrs. [Rep. Elizabeth] Loomis [R-WA] talked about businesses in her district. They pay at a 35% rate. Why don't we hold those accountable, up on Wall Street, for what they did? Let them pay their fair share of taxes. We couldn't even take one penny of their bonuses. Not a penny! This was the most gutless institution!

"And I'll tell you what. The real straw that broke the camel's back was 1998, when Glass-Steagall was thrown out — an Act that had separated banking and commerce. And you know the name on that bill? There wasn't a single Democratic name. It was Gramm, Leach, and Bliley — all Republicans.

"And they shoved it through this House — I didn't vote for it! — and then Wall Street; oh, my gosh, you talk about rugged individualism!

"They hurt the Republic. They hurt our country. And they have not been held accountable. George Bush's chief of staff, Mr. Bolton — he came from Goldman Sachs. He was there in the Fall of 2008, when the Treasury was just opened up to 'em. Isn't that an interesting coincidence? Very interesting when you look back and see what really happened.

"I refuse to let the people of my district, or any district, pay for what they did. I got people, who are lined up at food banks because of unemployment, and I know who caused it, and I don't have enough power to hold them accountable. But I hope God does. Because what they've done is unforgivable. Their 'rugged individualism'; it is unpatriotic; it is un-Christian; and it hurt this country!"