17 October, 2008

After Nine Years

The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 was a key New Deal reform designed to prevent the kind of credit melt-down that took place from 1929-1933. It separated commercial banking from investment banking, established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and included reforms designed to control speculation.

Provisions such as Regulation Q, which allowed the Federal Reserve to regulate interest rates in savings accounts, were repealed by the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980. This lead to the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980's, which cost taxpayers about $124.6, either directly or through charges on their savings and loan accounts and which contributed to the large budget deficits of the early 1990s. The concomitant slowdown in the finance industry and the real estate market was a primary cause of the 1990–1991 economic recession.

Provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act prohibiting a bank holding company from owning other financial companies were repealed on November 12, 1999, by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which passed in the Senate: 90-8-1 and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

At the time one of the few senators to vote against the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,Byron Dorgan, made the following prediction:

"I think we will look back in ten years' time and say we sould not have done this, but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that which is true in the 1930s is true in 2010."

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