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Kudos To Sen. Byron Dorgan

Huge kudos for Sen. Byron Dorgan.  Because he has more than earned them with this interview with Rachel Maddow:

There’s a culture, and the culture is that "Wall Street knows best." You know, there were only eight of us in the United States Senate that voted no. This was a huge deal to repeal the protections that were put in place after the Great Depression — a huge deal. Eight of us voted no.

This thing allowed these huge financial holding companies, allowed them to bring significant risk into these banks and, you know, they just went hog wild. And now we’re in a situation in 2009 where we’ve seen this financial crisis and collapse, massive taxpayer bailouts. Now the question is how to put this thing back together and get out of this deep hole….

As Rachel makes clear, good government can be a solution.  In this case, that would have meant leaving Glass-Steagall in place rather than allowing deregulated gambling in the nation’s casinos banks. As Sen. Dorgan said all the way back in 1999 when he opposed the dreck that was Gramm-Leach-Bliley:

”I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930’s is true in 2010….I wasn’t around during the 1930’s or the debate over Glass-Steagall. But I was here in the early 1980’s when it was decided to allow the expansion of savings and loans. We have now decided in the name of modernization to forget the lessons of the past, of safety and of soundness.”

During Rachel’s interview, Dorgan also mentions his 1996 Washington Monthly article, wherein he warned:

…this "false alarm" could turn out to be a harbinger of a real financial conflagration–one that would make us nostalgic for the days of the $500 billion savings-and-loan collapse….And here’s the real kicker: Because the key players are federally insured banks, every taxpayer in the country is on the line.

Apparently, a prophet in his own Senate hath no honor when there is a quick campaign buck to be made from deregulating Wall Street.

Well, accolades ought to be paid. If you have some time today, give Byron Dorgan’s office a call at (202) 224-2551 and say thanks.

Both for the work he’s already tried to do, and for all the hard work that is to come re-regulating this mess. The more public support he has behind him, the easier it will be to drag the rest of Congress kicking and screaming in his wake if necessary to do the right thing for the rest of us.

Kudos, Sen. Dorgan — for doing your job so well on this and so many other matters. Kudos.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

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