Op-Ed: An end to ‘too big to fail’

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Op-Ed: An end to ‘too big to fail’

The Washington Post – Two years ago — after the worst financial crisis in more than a half-century — one-third of the Senate proclaimed that “too big to fail” is simply too big.

A bipartisan group of 33 senators supported a proposal called the SAFE Banking Act, which I introduced with my former colleague, Ted Kaufman (D-Del.). This act would eliminate the taxpayer support enjoyed by the largest Wall Street banks — institutions that, by virtue of their size, could topple the entire U.S economy, should they fail.

Our amendment did not pass the Senate, but to judge from the numerous recent calls to limit the size and risk of Wall Street banks — calls that are coming not only from public squares but from boardrooms too — it’s clear that this commonsense idea is starting to take hold.

A few weeks ago, our nation’s largest bank revealed that it had lost $2 billion in a mere six weeks on trades that were supposedly intended to lessen its risk profile. Even at the best-managed firms, there are dangerous consequences of large, complex institutions undertaking large, complex activities. These companies are simply too big to manage, and they’re still too big to fail.

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