Was Corporate Media Too Dumb To Understand Sanders Bank Breakup Plan?
The corporate media exists for one reason: to make money. Occasionally, in between sensationalism, clickbait, and native advertising, they try to cover complex subjects intelligently. It rarely works out. Often it even leads to their readers or viewers being not only ignorant of the facts of a subject, but under a false impression that they have been informed.
The latest example is the odd and near-laughable effort, from the usual suspects in infotainment, to claim that Senator Bernie Sanders somehow blew an interview with The New York Daily News tabloid and does not understand how to breakup the Wall Street banks that are so large their failure could threaten the financial system as a whole, also known as the Too Big To Fail banks.
Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute goes into some detail :
Bernie Sanders gave some fairly normal answers on financial reform to the New York Daily News editorial board. Someone sent it to me, and as I read it I thought “yes, these are answers I’d expect for how Sanders approaches financial reform.”
You wouldn’t know that from the coverage of it, which has argued that the answers were an embarrassing failure. Caitlin Cruz at TPM argues that Sanders “struggles to explain how he would break up the banks” and that’s relatively kind. Chris Cillizza says it was “pretty close to a disaster” and David Graham says the answers on his core financial focus is “tentative, unprepared, or unaware.” Tina Nguyen at Vanity Fair writes that Sanders “admits he isn’t sure how to break up the big banks.”
This is not correct. Sanders has a clear path on how he wants to break up the banks which he described. Breaking up the banks doesn’t require, or even benefit from, describing the specifics on how the banks would end up, neither for his plans or the baby steps Dodd-Frank has already taken.
Given how often Sanders has campaigned on the issue, it would be quite embarrassing and even disqualifying if he actually did not have any understanding of how to break up the banks. But, of course, he does and has articulated his views consistently.
During the interview Sanders reiterated his support for a Congressional option to break up the banks – he introduced a bill to do so last May – and has also been supporting using provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act to break up the banks, such as Section 121 of the bill, which allows the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to declare that a financial institution poses a systemic risk and, subsequently, force a break-up.
From Sanders’ website:
Within the first 100 days of my administration, I will require the secretary of the Treasury Department to establish a “Too-Big-to Fail” list of commercial banks, shadow banks and insurance companies whose failure would pose a catastrophic risk to the United States economy without a taxpayer bailout.
Within one year, my administration will break these institutions up so that they no longer pose a grave threat to the economy as authorized under Section 121 of the Dodd-Frank Act.
Is this really that hard to understand? A President Sanders would break up the Too Big To Fail banks by either pushing a new law to be passed by Congress (like the one he authored in May) or he would use existing laws like the Section 121 process in the Dodd-Frank Act via his treasury secretary, whom he would appoint and would chair the FSOC.
To be clear, none of this information is new. Sanders has been campaigning on these proposals for months and supporting a bank breakup for years. That the corporate media decided to jump all over him for giving an entirely reasonable and consistent position is evidence of profound maliciousness or stupidity. Or, maybe a bit of both.