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Will writes: "Government nurtured these behemoths by weaving an improvident safety net and by practicing crony capitalism. Dismantling them would be a blow against government that has become too big not to fail. Aux barricades!"

Washington Post Columnist George Will wants to break up the big banks?  (photo: AP)
Washington Post Columnist George Will wants to break up the big banks? (photo: AP)


Time to Break Up the Big Banks

By George F. Will, The Washington Post

09 February 13

 

George Will? Yes, today we bring you a story from George Will. It may never happen again, but today he is right. SMG/RSN

ith his chronically gravelly voice and relentlessly liberal agenda, Sherrod Brown seems to have stepped out of "Les Miserables," hoarse from singing revolutionary anthems at the barricades. Today, Ohio's senior senator has a project worthy of Victor Hugo - and of conservatives' support. He wants to break up the biggest banks.

He would advocate this even if he thought such banks would never have a crisis sufficient to threaten the financial system. He believes they are unhealthy for the financial system even when they are healthy. This is because there is a silent subsidy - an unfair competitive advantage relative to community banks - inherent in being deemed by the government, implicitly but clearly, too big to fail.

The Senate has unanimously passed a bill offered by Brown and Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, directing the Government Accountability Office to study whether banks with more than $500?billion in assets acquire an "economic benefit" because of their dangerous scale. Is their debt priced favorably because, being TBTF, they are considered especially creditworthy? Brown believes the 20 largest banks pay less when borrowing - 50 to 80 basis points less - than community banks must pay.

In a sense, TBTF began under Ronald Reagan with the 1984 rescue of Continental Illinois, then the seventh-largest bank. In 2011, the four biggest U.S. banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo) had 40 percent of all federally insured deposits. Today, the 5,500 community banks have 12 percent of the banking industry's assets. The 12 banks with $250?billion to $2.3?trillion in assets total 69?percent. The 20 largest banks' assets total 84.5?percent of the nation's gross domestic product.

Such banks have become bigger, relative to the economy, since the financial crisis began, and they are not the only economic entities to do so. Last year, the Economist reported that in the past 15 years the combined assets of the 50 largest U.S. companies had risen from around 70 percent of GDP to around 130 percent. And banks are not the only entities designated TBTF because they are "systemically important." General Motors supposedly required a bailout because a chain of parts suppliers might have failed with it.

But this just means that the pernicious practice of socializing losses while keeping profits private is not quarantined in the financial sector.

To see why TBTF also can mean TBTM - too big to manage - read "What's Inside America's Banks?" in the January/February issue of the Atlantic. Frank Partnoy and Jesse Eisinger argue that banks are not only bigger but also "more opaque than ever." And regulations partake of the opacity: The landmark Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, separating commercial banking from investment banking, was 37 pages long; the 848 pages of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law may eventually be supplemented by 30 times that many pages of rules. The "Volcker rule" banning banks from speculating with federally insured deposits is 298 pages long.

There is no convincing consensus about a correlation between a bank's size and supposed efficiencies of scale, and any efficiencies must be weighed against management inefficiencies associated with complexity and opacity. Thirty or so years ago, Brown says, seven of the world's 10 largest banks were Japanese, which was not an advantage sufficient to prevent Japan's descent into prolonged stagnation. And he says that when Standard Oil was broken up in 1911, the parts of it became, cumulatively, more valuable than the unified corporation had been.

Brown is fond of the maxim that "banking should be boring." He suspects that within the organizational sprawl of the biggest banks, there is too much excitement. Clever people with the high spirits and adrenaline addictions of fighter pilots continue to develop exotic financial instruments and transactions unknown even in other parts of the sprawl. He is undecided about whether the proper metric for identifying a bank as "too big" should be if its assets are a certain percentage of GDP - he suggests 2 percent to 4 percent - or simply the size of its assets (Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, has suggested $100 billion).

By breaking up the biggest banks, conservatives will not be putting asunder what the free market has joined together. Government nurtured these behemoths by weaving an improvident safety net and by practicing crony capitalism. Dismantling them would be a blow against government that has become too big not to fail. Aux barricades!


 

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+96 # BobbyLip 2013-02-09 11:51
There's something about George Will voicing a battlecry such as "To the barricades!" that turns my stomach. Of course, Will has been making me nauseous for many years. Ah well, even the stopped clock is right twice a day. Will is certainly a non-working clock, but I'll go along with him this once.
 
 
+19 # Robert B 2013-02-09 15:57
In French, too.
 
 
+22 # LeeBlack 2013-02-10 10:33
I rarely agree with Will but I agree here. Too big to fail means TOO BIG
 
 
0 # PGreen 2013-02-10 14:13
I suspect that this endorsement of breaking up the banks reflects a schism in the business establishment. On one side are businesses who are worried about the consequences of too big to fail-- epitomized by the financial crisis-- and on the other side is Wall Street. It is analogous to the health care crisis whereby some businesses wanted government to pay for HC (to make them more competitive with Europe and Japan)-- counter to the interests of the insurance companies. Both sides responded by curbing price increases (it can't last) and creating tiers of insurance coverage to save businesses money-- to the detriment of the lower paid individual. It is likely that some compromise will be made by the Big Banks-- maybe some kind of regulatory advantage to community banks in lieu of breaking up the big fellows-- to address the concerns of that segment of the industry. George Will would likely support it. I expect that the public will end up paying for it, though.
 
 
0 # Third_stone 2013-02-11 13:01
The advantage community banks have would be in patriotism, in you acting on your awareness and moving your accounts to the smaller banks. If American citizens stood up for what is right, we could hurt those banks. The government is corrupt to the point of helplessness and will do nothing.
 
 
+1 # PGreen 2013-02-11 20:05
Absolutely agree that community banks are preferable. Credit Unions even more so. My earlier post was speculating on why a corporate devotee such as Will would propose using government regulations against major corporations. I suspect that he is taking a side in some kind of civil war within the business community. I doubt that he will (no pun intended) sustain his position on principle-- but we shall see.
 
 
+1 # Third_stone 2013-02-11 12:57
For a change Will has it right. The far left and the far right have more in common than they can stomach. This total failure of anti-trust enforcement is pervasive across the economy, and has driven the outsourcing of manufacturing and the stagnation of the economy.
 
 
+1 # bigkahuna671 2013-02-13 14:25
If even George Will recognizes that TBTF banks have a negative impact on the economic viability of big cities and small towns in America, then maybe the rest of the Repub establishment can finally get off their big-money bandwagon and help to pass laws that will protect the economic stability of small banks. Of course, this will require Dems to be on board and with Chu as SecTreas, you never know. However, if the Pres will be on board and if the rest of the Dems and Repubs can really be bipartisan, maybe we can get something done for America. Small banks are the ones who give loans to small businesses in their communities, which then create the jobs that then create a strong middle class. Big banks cater to wealthy clients and large corporations and tend to ignore small businesses, home buyers (except when the biggies can rip them off with phony mortgages, reverse mortgage loans, and other crooked gimmicks all designed to rip us off), and the economic health of the middle and lower classes. I don't usually agree with much of what George says, but he's finally got it right, ha! Good for you, George, and about time!!!
 
 
+15 # HerbR 2013-02-09 11:56
George Will ? Really ?
 
 
+87 # Walter J Smith 2013-02-09 11:58
Perhaps it goes without saying that George Will is doing more than is Karl Rove to effectively calm the blatantly rattled nerves of the GOP. All Rove is doing is milking his adoring irresponsibly wealthy donors for all they are worth. Now, perhaps Rove's activities are better for the nation's political climate than for simply calming the GOP's jitters by reminding the Tea Party of it's origins. But here's where Will comes in.

Will fears the reality he sees, finally. That reality is the Democratic Party's successful taking up the conservative tradition of protecting local communities and their primary institutions over the international "community" and its bipartisan-majo rity-supported chief Vertically Integrated Criminal Enterprises (VICE).

If this article doesn't move Obama off his unquestioned devotions to Wall Street's criminal activities, nothing will.

The fact that Geithner spent four years at Treasury, and Holder has spent more than four years at Justice, without finding any "prosecutable" offenses in that Wall Street Cult's US & global economy destruction, speaks volumes about Obama's principle devotions.

Why is the entire bipartisan Congress so blind to all that radical malfeasance in high office?
 
 
+42 # tomr 2013-02-09 13:04
They have their own malfeasance to keep them busy.
 
 
+6 # frankdavid 2013-02-10 00:32
Because they all got a check.
 
 
+4 # RLF 2013-02-10 08:55
That check is tax free and in Singapore!
 
 
+16 # mdhome 2013-02-10 09:15
If you steal a loaf of bread, you go to prison, if you steal millions you get off scott free, if you steal billions, you get a big fat bonus check and you keep your job. A sad fact of the upside down world we live in.
 
 
+4 # WestWinds 2013-02-10 14:46
>>>Why is the entire bipartisan Congress so blind to all that radical malfeasance in high office?
 
 
+8 # She Cee 2013-02-10 18:52
The fact that Geithner spent four years at Treasury, and Holder has spent more than four years at Justice, without finding any "prosecutable" offenses in that Wall Street Cult's US & global economy destruction, speaks volumes about Obama's principle devotions.

Why is the entire bipartisan Congress so blind to all that radical malfeasance in high office?

First, The betrayal! It is interesting that Obama continues to choose the foxes to guard the hen houses.

Second…the bipartisan Congress is not blind at all. It is merely closing its eyes so that it can still be on the take. Would you bite the hand that feeds you?
 
 
+78 # DaveM 2013-02-09 12:01
George Will calling for government intervention in private enterprise? I guess hell must have frozen over and pigs are flying.

Does anyone else remember when the Bell System was "broken up" (never mind that it was a monopoly which existed only by government decree in the first place)? Remember how well that worked out?

Most of the problems with the American banking system could be solved by imprisoning those who have engaged in criminal activity while operating them. I note that Will does not address that.
 
 
+2 # Scotty44 2013-02-09 18:43
They still would have their government subsidy.
 
 
+68 # MainStreetMentor 2013-02-09 12:17
Mr. Will: It's not time to break up the big banks ... it's WAY PAST TIME to break-up Big Banks - and go to a distributed, state-owned banking system and "flush" the centralized federal system.
 
 
+45 # goodsensecynic 2013-02-09 12:20
Well, it's not as good as nationalizing them, but OK as a second best.
 
 
+8 # RLF 2013-02-10 08:58
Maybe we require a bailout be followed by nationalization absolute...and any losses would be clawed back from executive salaries. That might keep them honest.
 
 
+19 # tedrey 2013-02-09 12:25
Thank you, George. Now is there something George wants that we could approve of? Let's think hard.
 
 
+49 # The Ice Maiden 2013-02-09 12:45
Well, who wudda thought? When I was young I used to read George Will's columns every week, and I agreed with almost everything he wrote. As I grew up, I began to see the fall-out from his conservative policies, and I moved decidedly away from his world-view. And now, after some thirty, fourty years of reading his words, I find myself solidly in his camp on this issue.

Who wudda thought this column would be written by George Will? Interfere with banks for the common good? Acknowledge that banks have survived NOT because unfettered capitalism is always the best policy but because losses have been socialized while profits have stayed private. A disgraceful situation. I salute you, Mr Will! Well done!
 
 
+39 # mjc 2013-02-09 12:46
Terrific to have George Will, a conservative by most counts, leading the way to the barricades in such a cause. Big banks have tentacles spread out throughout the world but should trouble occur they immediately ask for help staying afloat in the wash of wealth they are used to. His wonderful descriptions of bankers with "high spirits" on the order of fighter pilots is quite accurate especially if you keep in mind guys like Dimon of Chase. Wow!
 
 
+31 # zornorff 2013-02-09 14:02
Hardly like fighter pilots who put themselves in real danger when flying or in combat. Turds like Dimon can't lose anything except their jobs, certainly not their money. These "gutsy" bastards do the equivalent of playing video games with our money. Take away their money and $10MM penthouses and let's see how courageous they are.
 
 
+6 # RLF 2013-02-10 08:59
$40-60M penhouses.
 
 
+2 # mjc 2013-02-10 14:01
Think it was a great description. You have to know fighter pilots to get the image. Willing to risk everything, even the million dollar plane, to take on a fight, there are guys like that...still.
 
 
+40 # KrazyFromPolitics 2013-02-09 12:57
George Will advocating breakup of the big banks? I must have awakened in a parallel universe.
 
 
0 # WestWinds 2013-02-10 16:14
Either that or he is advocating a split-and-grow policy which would give us double the garbage back.
 
 
+34 # tbcrawford 2013-02-09 12:57
An excellent reminder that it is better to listen to others than to blindly condemn than. Nothing is simple. Thank you George for your comments in this article and opening space for dialogue.
 
 
+7 # R. Indignation 2013-02-09 13:01
Ya' think?
 
 
+20 # wwway 2013-02-09 13:02
George Will the great conservative for the rich banker? Really?
Canada made the unpopular choice to break up it's banks and now citizens are happy at the wise move. Savy US investment counselors are telling the new rich to put their money in Canadian banks. Hum?
Conservatives have proven themselves such bad faith actors on every matter concerning foreign and domestic policies that I'm suspicious when they embrace practical solutions.
Banks have to be broken up but there's something disengeneous about the idea coming from a rich man's crony like George Will.
 
 
+12 # Scotty44 2013-02-09 18:46
The idea didn't come from Will. He is just getting behind it.
 
 
+5 # WestWinds 2013-02-10 16:20
The safer plan would be to jail that bad actors in the banking industry and re-enforce the laws like Glass-Steagall. (I'm not sure of Dodd-Frank and Volker so I'm not listing them.)But since BHO is Center-Right and favors banksters and Holder has tap roots into the financial sector, I wouldn't hold my breath.
 
 
+13 # Gogojoe 2013-02-09 13:18
Suddenly this dick cares? Maybe someone forclosed on a sick relative...
 
 
+26 # coberly 2013-02-09 13:39
George Will ? !!!

now is the time...

if George Will agrees with us (okay, me.) maybe there is "political consensus." perhaps "the rich" have at last, at long last, recognized that letting the criminals who run the big banks run the country is not good for even their bottom line.

Someone needs to pick up this ball and run with it.
 
 
+22 # babaregi 2013-02-09 13:55
The worm turns!
Even George is "getting religion" these days.
This reminds me of when Jay Leno remarked about how Fidel Castro stated that Bill Clinton being considered for impeachment for having sex with Monica Lewinski was crazy.
Jay quipped that you know things are getting out of hand when Fidel Castro starts defending an American president!
 
 
-7 # zornorff 2013-02-09 14:04
I thought he didn't have sex with that woman.
 
 
+5 # Mannstein 2013-02-09 19:52
It depends what the meaning of didn't is.
 
 
+1 # RLF 2013-02-10 09:01
Got a cigar?
 
 
0 # Hey There 2013-02-10 19:47
like your dry humor
 
 
-2 # anarchteacher 2013-02-09 14:01
We have always been a covert bankocracy.

The adoption of the Constitution amounted to a coup d'etat by forces of invisible government of the 'Funding Fathers.'

Although the names and faces have changed over time, this is the same predatory plutocracy behind the Federal Reserve's monetary meltdown and the Wall Street bankster bailouts of today.

Federalists George Washington, Robert Morris, Alexander Hamilton, and John Marshall believed in nationalism - a strong, consolidated national government, weak states, an elastic interpretation of the Constitution, a central bank with special privileges creating an elite 'paper aristocracy.'

By contrast, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Taylor, and John Randolph composed the Republicans. They believed in a constitutional Republic, not a consolidated Empire.

The Republicans believed in federalism (a delegation of explicit limited powers to the central government, a strict interpretation of the Constitution, no central bank benefitting a financial elite, no paper currency (gold was 'the people's money'), no special privileges, no corporate welfare.

That courageous Republican spirit is alive today in the millions who resist the invisible government's destructive welfare-warfare state, its unconstitutiona l preemptive wars, its overstretched empire overseas, its police state tyranny at home, and its Federal Reserve -- the predatory enabler of it all.
 
 
+22 # coberly 2013-02-09 15:35
anarch

the trouble with your history is that it ignores the failure of the first government under the Articles of Confederation.

It also ignores the success of the Hamilton Plan.

And the disaster caused by Jackson closing the United States Bank and balancing the budget.

And the fact that the "Republicans" of the time represented the slave-ocracy, and were more concerned about their own finances than any libertarian philosophy.

Or the fact that a "strict interpretation" of the Constitution is impossible. It depends on WHOSE strict interpretation you are talking about. That's why we have elections, and a President who appoints a Supreme Court with the consent of the Senate... talk about your "strict interpretation" : that is the CORE of the Constitution.

You want to go back to "states rights and gold and lynching people you don't like? keep voting Republican. The South shall rise again!
 
 
+5 # WestWinds 2013-02-10 16:33
The South HAS risen again, and the results have been disastrous! I live in the South and I've never seen such in-your-face ignorance of which, I might add, they are obnoxiously proud. These southern fools put Rick Scott into office, a 1.7 billion dollar Medicare embezzler and in so doing, gave him the keys to Medicare in this state.

The South was an plantation society that flourished in the mid nineteenth century, but someone forgot to tell the people down here that that was 173 years ago and it's time to move on! And the damage that the southern politicians have done to this country has gutted the lives of more than one, me included. The South ain't all that.
 
 
+1 # anarchteacher 2013-02-10 19:10
I didn't ignore anything but simply subscribing to the naive nationalist propaganda you evidently swallowed regarding the failure of the Articles and the success of Hamilton's elitist scheme of central banking, protectionism, and corporate welfare, carried on first by the Whigs (against Jackson) and later by Lincoln and the present nefarious bunch of so-called "Republicans."

http://lewrockwell.com/burris/burris22.1.html

"Reflections Upon Republicanism: From Jefferson to Van Buren"


http://lewrockwell.com/burris/burris21.1.html

"Who Rules America: Power Elite Analysis and American History"
 
 
-1 # coberly 2013-02-11 13:52
anarch

no doubt i have swallowed much propaganda in my life.

but i am not sure how you can tell that what you are swallowing isn't propaganda.

meanwhile, in a world in which everyone lies, i have to try to make sense of things on my own. so of course do you.
 
 
+20 # coberly 2013-02-09 15:37
just to be clear

the government appears to have been captured by the banks.

that is bad. very bad.

but we got here by voting for some form of "limited government." which worked so well for the Republicans that the Democrats have joined in ... accepting corporate money. that is the nature of man.

you want the Constitution to work... gonna have to get serious about honest government. And it would help to get a little smarter, too.
 
 
+3 # Belt Buckle 2013-02-09 16:28
Well, Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase shows that while he talked about strict construction of the Constitution, he was willing to interpret the Constitution when the need arose.
I think that he did the correct thing, but I also recognize that it wasn't a strict construction of the Constitution.
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2013-02-10 02:56
Quoting Belt Buckle:
Well, Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase shows that while he talked about strict construction of the Constitution, he was willing to interpret the Constitution when the need arose.
I think that he did the correct thing, but I also recognize that it wasn't a strict construction of the Constitution.


It worked out well for an Imperial Nation, but far from not being a "strict construction of the Constitution", it wasn't even a "strict construction of Reality" !

You can't BUY something from someone who DOES NOT OWN IT ! Therefore, Jefferson gave that money to France in payment for France giving up CLAIM (which they could not afford to pursue) on said Territory. Also a fiction. Simply to CLAIM something is not to OWN something.

So, lot's of money to buy a fantasy from France.
 
 
+1 # WestWinds 2013-02-10 16:36
>>>Also a fiction. Simply to CLAIM something is not to OWN something.
 
 
+29 # Beverly 2013-02-09 14:32
"Most of the problems with the American banking system could be solved by imprisoning those who have engaged in criminal activity while operating them. I note that Will does not address that." Even though I am quoting George Will, it is a truth which is never spoken!!!! And IT MUST BE DONE VERY CAREFULLY, because we will be dealing WITH CROOKS!!!
Beverly Smith
 
 
+4 # Scotty44 2013-02-09 18:51
The TBTF would still have their government subsidy.
 
 
0 # WestWinds 2013-02-10 16:37
Scotty44:

A loophole that needs to be closed.
 
 
+7 # NOMINAE 2013-02-10 03:02
Quoting Beverly:
"Most of the problems with the American banking system could be solved by imprisoning those who have engaged in criminal activity while operating them. I note that Will does not address that." Even though I am quoting George Will, it is a truth which is never spoken!!!! And IT MUST BE DONE VERY CAREFULLY, because we will be dealing WITH CROOKS!!!
Beverly Smith


While justice would be served with some hefty jail sentences, that would be simply applying bandaids to the LONG term problem. These "Masters of the Universe" are convinced that they are TOO SMART to go to jail. They would look at those boys behind bars simply as too stupid to *properly* game the system.

While I would be as happy as anyone to see them having lunch with "CRUSHER MIKE", their new cellmate, in the meantime we really DO need to break up the banks and change the ENTIRE system that they have spent so much time learning to "Master" and to "Game".
 
 
+21 # FIRSTNORN1 2013-02-09 14:37
Let's also remember that George Will was the man who suggested that the Republicans should just concede the White House to Obama and focus on winning back control of the Senate. The Republicans proceeded to nominate several anti-woman candidates and so, of course, lost ground in the Senate. While we're breaking up the big banks, let's consign the Republicans to the ash heap of history just like the Whig Party.
 
 
+21 # Robert B 2013-02-09 14:49
I generally like George Will. I don't agree with him all that often, but at least he isn't a moron like so many Republicans are. He is, in many ways, carrying William F. Buckley's banner. I can't imagine that Will (and Buckley) wouldn't be disappointed in today's GOP.
 
 
+4 # The Ice Maiden 2013-02-10 10:09
Robert B: Have you ever read the stuff that William F Buckley wrote? I bought his book, LET US TALK OF MANY THINGS, and was absolutely stunned as I read through this collection of short commentaries. Incorrect use of uncommon words (what a pedantic show-off! who only made himself pathetic), a frequent lack of any logical progression of thought, and gross generalization after gross generalization.

Read that collection, Robert B, and I am sure you wouldn't persist in saying George Will is carrying on William F Buckley's work. He isn't. And I dare say that George Will would protest such a claim too. George Will IS too intelligent and too capable of rigorous critical thought to be lumped into the same category of conservatives like Buckley. I may disagree with a lot of Mr Will's positions, but I respect the fact that his positions are based upon a critical train of thought.
 
 
+20 # ruttaro 2013-02-09 14:54
If only visiting for this singular cause, let's welcome Will. This is a rare time when the ideology of the conservatives and the liberals converge and so let's not question the messenger since the message is correct.
here is one problem with the call to the barricades and that is we know where the support for the banks is and it is not in the streets. The money that corrupts our Congress is the armament that we in the streets do not have. If we show up at the barricades there will be no enemy to face. If we show up in Congress to lobby we will be out-gunned. Money kills as well as it talks. So even with Will's pen it is not mightier than the cash. We need to use the only effective weapon at our disposal and elect local, state and Congressional representatives who will pledge their support for a Constitutional Amendment that makes all public elections publivly funded and acceptance of any gifts even if it is a ham sandwhich is a felony act of corruption. Representatives can listen to lobbying with ideas and decide by what the people want and not what the banks prefer. No, not to the baricades but to the polls!
 
 
+6 # BeaDeeBunker 2013-02-09 15:05
I'm writing this comment even before reading the article, or any of the other comments.
George Will is such a hypocrite, that I refuse to entertain the idea of believing anything he has to say.
Where was he throughout the years during the right wing onslaught on fairness and representative democracy?
He was a well paid apologist for all conservative wacko ideas and ideals.

I will now send out this comment, and then read the article and comments. If I learn anything that is really new and revealing, I will be willing to alter my opinion to the extent warranted by the 'facts.'
 
 
+5 # BeaDeeBunker 2013-02-09 15:18
I just finished reading the article and the comments.

I stay with my original comment.
In addition, George Will doesn't even know baseball!
 
 
+22 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-02-09 15:34
Big banks: Corporate Welfare Queens.
 
 
+6 # ganymede 2013-02-09 16:16
My comment is why is George Will in our lives at all. He has caused so much damage to this country with his ignorance and pig-headedness. Like George Bush and his former followers and supporters he belongs in prison or at least in one of the lower rings of Dante's Inferno. We will never be free until these people are completely out of our lives.
 
 
+7 # Belt Buckle 2013-02-09 16:22
Good, Lord, I agree with George Will -- Oh My. Go, George, GO!
 
 
+21 # gdp1 2013-02-09 16:27
...His lie lies in his analysis....thi s didn't happen because the gov't :"wove an improvident safety net"... this happened because Will's supply-side buddies DISMANTLED the then-existing safety-net...
 
 
+13 # genierae 2013-02-09 16:30
Sherrod Brown will make an excellent president one day, he is a man of the people, he really cares. Karl Rove spent tens of millions in Ohio to prevent his reelection, but the people know their own. As for George Will, he is all intellect, no heart. A dry, wintry character who once in a while gets it right. It's not surprising that he was impressed with Sherrod Brown, as I said before, he's presidential material.
 
 
+4 # Scotty44 2013-02-09 18:55
$500 billion is too large.
 
 
+15 # cmp 2013-02-09 16:57
And, why we're at it.. Revise the tax codes way beyond the current "boxed" discussion.

It's no big secret that the Trans National Corps have been freeloading & fleecing the American tax payers for decades.

The pretending got way old decades ago when Trans Nationals get their write offs galore that zero's their tax bill. Meanwhile, individuals and the small to mid size Domestic Corps are carrying the 30-35% expense.

Now, it's beyond the point of just pure colonialism. Our country and our communities are vacuumed dry daily by Trans Nationals, so they can run the same rackets somewhere else. And, what is the future that we are left with? Our debts..

Globalization is only the "latest" term, for a very old game..
 
 
+8 # Gord84 2013-02-09 18:08
We desperately need another Teddy Roosevelt!
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2013-02-12 15:23
Actually we need a Warren Harding.
 
 
+3 # Nick Reynolds 2013-02-09 18:16
It'd be nice, but it's probably too late.
 
 
+5 # CandH 2013-02-09 20:45
Hm, a pattern is emerging from the neo-feudalist right. Is this the AT&T scenario, ie breakup the parts, then consolidate at higher asset parts values scheme all over again?

"We found out four years ago that our biggest banks were too big to fail, but it's not like we've been doing anything to shrink them. In fact, 77 percent of the assets in the U.S. are with the biggest banks, and the guy who practically invented the idea of the megabank went on tv today to say it's time to break them up."

"Yeah [...] former CEO, was Sandy Weill, and so he used to head Citigroup, in fact he created Citigroup, and he also helped [me: CAUSED] bring down a law known as Glass-Steagall, which kept apart banks that take deposits, banks that advise companies, and insurers. So he was the first one to really lobby against it, combine all of them, I mean he was the man who created the mega-bank as we know it." http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/former-citigroup-ceo-break-banks
 
 
+12 # m... 2013-02-09 21:33
What about BIG MEDIA and CORPORATE MEDIA CRONYISM and the unreasonable degree of political-socia l sway a very few Corporate Media Behemoths have over EVERYTHING?

For the sake of OUR REPUBLIC and in the name of OUR CONSTITUTION-- We should break up the very few CORPORATE MEDIA EMPIRES that dominate most of America's 'Free' Press and Pipelines for 'Free' Speech and the many other aspects of media they now 'legally' exploit 24/7 in the interest of their SHAREHOLDERS.
America needs many more separately owned Media Sources and a far greater degree of Media Diversity. And we need a new FAIRNESS DOCTRINE IN MEDIA.

Big Banks, Big Media, Big Corporate Government, are all the collective outcomes of a 30 year long Corporate Conservative Swindle known as 'Smaller Government'-->L ESS Government (of ourselves) through less and less regulation and taxation of Big Business, and the rampant and expensive 'Privatization- of-Government' Schemes which have contracted Government Functions into the for-profit hands of Big Business Interests.

'Smaller Government' has transformed Our Government of We the People into a Government by Lobby acting foremost in the interest of Big-Business.

Look around. Government is bigger, more in your life and more expensive than ever. 'Smaller Government' was never about ALL of us. It was about changing the flow of money and power away from We the People and the Grater Good-- into the pockets and hands of a very Few.
 
 
+1 # Hey There 2013-02-09 21:33
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeEMSht_E30

TO view video -highlight link,click right,then click on go to link
 
 
+11 # tm7devils 2013-02-09 22:37
George, George, George...did you have an epiphany? What will those right/left? wing plebeians(the toadies to the 1%) think?
If you keep this up you will be kicked out of the club...which will be a good thing...IF you have really seen the light.
Usually, reading your column does a better job than ipecac but today, VOILA! a glimmer of hope. One can only hope that this glimmer of critical thinking is not a tease. I'll be watching...
 
 
+6 # brux 2013-02-09 22:38
Here we have the beginning of a crack in George Will's world view ... which is better than Alan Greenspan who only questioned the idiotic way he looked at things after he broke tne world economy.

The tools of the rich elite will be the death of all of us if we keep buying into the crap they are paid to tell us ... but it is a mystery to me why Will is saying this, unless he is just starting to realize the problems with Republicans and laissez-faire capitalism which he has been defending and apologizing for for decades now.
 
 
+4 # corals33 2013-02-09 22:55
Like Racism this is a white-world problem. You have sown the wind of world financial domination and must now reap the whirlwind of financial implosion.The citizens of the western world who are predominantly white must face this problem now when they had ample reasons to do so way back in the past beginning with the Marshall Plan.This whole so-called financial world has been put in place by your rich white hunters and you all looked the other way instead of marching and protesting against what they were doing to the rest of mankind. It's your turn now you citizens of the rich sophisticated western economies,see how it feels.Greed is not GOOD.
 
 
+2 # cmp 2013-02-10 03:03
Hey Corrals,
I do agree with your tone... Something like 2/3 of America, can't even name the 3 branches of gov..

But, I do know that their are many people on here who have dedicated and sacrificed their life to the fight of social justice in many ways.
 
 
0 # corals33 2013-02-24 09:57
hey # Cmp
Keep the faith...we will prevail...didn' t wanna say "we shall overcome" and confirm the stereotype.
Respect.
 
 
+1 # speedboy 2013-02-09 23:07
I smell a rat!!!
 
 
+3 # 2lilluc 2013-02-10 06:24
Isn't it a bit late to have figured this one out...and when George Will says it then it's news? When criminal activity at
top level management is addressed and the bad guys are jailed, when banks and big corporations are no longer sitting up there with God, running the country, when when when....then maybe we can begin to heal and things can change.
 
 
+6 # Inspired Citizen 2013-02-10 06:41
George Will embracing an policy idea of Sherrod Brown. Now the Tea Party will KNOW he's a RINO.

What next? Will George come to understand that corporations should have no role in our elections and change his mind about an amendment to overturn Citizens United? I won't hold my breath.
 
 
-1 # Martintfre 2013-02-12 15:22
//Will George come to understand that corporations should have no role in our elections //

FYI, the republican and democratic parties are corporations.
 
 
+5 # ETNIKS 2013-02-10 08:09
IT IS NOT THE BANKSTERS WHICH ARE ULTIMATELY THE PROBLEM.....

IT IS THE SYSTEM ITSELF THAT HAS TO BE CHANGED.
Fractional Reserve Banking is the System that allows private banks to create the Debt-Based currency, and through it, control the government and the rest of society.

TODAY'S CRISIS IS A DEBT CRISIS
When governments could create their own currency to run their economies, but instead BORROW at interest from Private banks who create the money out-of-thin-air by merely punching computer keys, AND then charge interest on it..... this results in today's crisis.

IT IS INCONCEIVABLE TO HAVE FOR-PROFIT BANKS CREATING THE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT MONEY SUPPLY FOR SOCIETY, AND NOT EXPECT TO BE DEFRAUDED BY THEM!!!
==============
What were these people warning us about?


"There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation,
One is by the sword. The other is by Debt"
John Adams
===========
"The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with a flick of the pen they will create enough money to buy it back again.
However, take away from them the power to create money, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in.
But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money."
-Sir Josiah Stamp
Former Director of
the Bank of England
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2013-02-12 15:22
The problem with Precious metals and commodities is governments can't fabricate them at whim.
 
 
0 # corals33 2013-02-24 09:59
Jesus Christ!!! A sane man.
 
 
+1 # mdhome 2013-02-10 09:31
And how well did it work for OWS when they went Aux Barricades?
 
 
0 # noitall 2013-02-10 14:02
We're reading about what George Will has to say, why?
 
 
0 # Tiger Claws 2013-02-10 15:34
George Will to the barricades? Well, what has he been drinking? Is he beginning to "get with it" by reading what the many outstanding Keynesian Princeton economists have been saying and saying and saying ? Paul Krugman, Alan Blinder, et al.

Or maybe when Princeton, from which he has a master degree from their Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, honored him ( quite mistakenly I thought ) a few years ago with their annual Madison Medal presented to a supposedly "outstanding" graduate of their Graduate School, he got flak from a number of alumni(ae) ( of which I am one and was up in arms and embarrassed for Princeton ) ? To be clear, George was NOT an undergraduate at Princeton - ever !

Krugman often appears with Will on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning news round-up. So, maybe Paul finally turned his head after the shows over coffee.

Ultimately what Will thinks is irrelevant. What Krugman, Blinder, Volcker, Joe Stiglitz, Simon Johnson, Bill Cohan, Frank Partnoy et al think and KNOW that the mega banks must be broken up and cut down to size have the bona fides and their demands carry weight.

George just wants to get in the game as their water boy and try to gain the respect he lost with those who really know the score. Would be nice if he learned to moderate his supreme arrogance and get " with the program ". I stopped reading him years ago and still have slight regard for his pompous scriblings in verbose words he uses to impress.
 
 
0 # adolbe 2013-02-11 23:20
The banks I have credit card balances with who used to hound my phone and email for APR deals are now raising interest to usury rates - 18.99% or more even though Fed rates are lowest in history. , with no options for anything else. Hope they blow their own tires
 
 
+1 # Martintfre 2013-02-12 15:20
Break up the government that bails out the Banks!

Let them fail.

In fascism/sociali sm there is a politician with the tax payers check book bailing out their low friends in high places.

In capitalism there is Larry the Liquidator for the failed companies.
 
 
0 # corals33 2013-02-24 10:19
Quoting Martintfre:
Break up the government that bails out the Banks!

Let them fail.

In fascism/socialism there is a politician with the tax payers check book bailing out their low friends in high places.

In capitalism there is Larry the Liquidator for the failed companies.

Damn right!1 they couldn't see 911, they couldn't see the banks, they couldn't see the wall coming down,they couldn't see the arab uprising, they couldn't see Monica but then she was ducking kinda low.Well said mate.
 

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