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Elizabeth Warren challenges Obama: Break up Wall Street ‘behemoths’

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Amid speculation that she might run against Hillary Clinton in 2016, firebrand senator attacks regulators for multiple failings

Senator Elizabeth Warren cemented her growing reputation as a darling of the political left on Tuesday with a wide-ranging speech challenging the Obama administration to take on Wall Street and break up its biggest banks.

Amid renewed speculation that she might challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination, Warren appeared at a congressional event to attack regulators for failing to tackle the problem of financial institutions that are “too big to fail”.

“We have got to get back to running this country for American families, not for its largest financial institutions,” said Warren, who said the issue was an indictment of how little had changed since the 2008 banking crash.
The four biggest Wall Street banks are 30% larger than before the financial crisis, she said, while the five biggest institutions hold more than half the bank assets in the country.

Warren claimed this amounted to an $83bn-a-year taxpayer subsidy for some Wall Street institutions, because they were so large that they could safely rely on a government bailout in the event of a future crisis, and were therefore able to take bigger risks than rivals. She also cited research suggesting the crash had cost up to $14tn, or $120,000 for each American household.

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The first-term senator from Massachusetts, who led the congressional taskforce overseeing the bank bailout, has repeatedly denied she has presidential ambitions, but growing talk of her potential candidacy has ensured that even is she doesn’t run, she will act as a counter-weight to Wall Street financial backing for Clinton.

In her speech to the Roosevelt Institute and Americans for Financial Reform, Warren did not mention wider political ambitions but focused on proposed legislation launched over the summer with Republican John McCain to break up large banks and build on the 2010 Dodd-Frank reforms.

“Where are we in making sure behemoth institutions on Wall Street can’t bring down the economy again? And make wild gambles that suck up all the profits in the good times? And stick the taxpayer with the bill when it goes wrong?” she demanded.

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“Three years since Dodd-Frank was passed, the biggest banks are bigger than ever, the risks to the system have grown and the market distortions continue.”

She said current regulators do not give “much reason for confidence” and added: “It is time to act: the last thing we should do is wait for another crisis.”

Warren’s remarks came as the White House confirmed that a relatively unknown Treasury official Timothy Massad would replace former Goldman Sachs banker Gary Gensler as chair of Wall Street derivatives regulator, the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission.

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Announcing the appointment, President Obama defended what he called “historic Wall Streets reforms” that had already “put in place smarter, tougher common sense rules of the road.”

“The markets have hit record highs and there is no doubt our financial system is more stable,” said Obama.
“Tim’s a guy that doesn’t seek the spotlight,” he added.

© Guardian News and Media 2013

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Watch Warren’s speech, as aired by C-SPAN on Tuesday, below.


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Meghan McCain gets schooled after complaining Brett Kavanaugh was treated worse than Al Franken

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Meghan McCain noticed the asymmetry in the accusations of sexual misconduct against Al Franken and Brett Kavanaugh, even if she overlooked how those allegations eventually played out.

"The View" tackled a New Yorker piece published by Jane Mayer, who believes the Minnesota Democrat was "railroaded" out of the U.S. Senate over sexual harassment claims, and McCain said Democrats had no choice but to force him to resign.

"Imagine him questioning Brett Kavanaugh at the time," McCain said, "which by the way, the writer who wrote this article, Jane Mayer, wrote a 2018 piece about allegations of Brett Kavanaugh that's been panned because the only corroborating witness said he had heard the story but he didn't remember it now, so it's very tricky."

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Fox & Friends host warns immigration could ‘destroy the color of — the culture of our country’

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"Fox & Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade had to quickly correct himself on Tuesday after he said he feared that immigration into the United States could "destroy the color of" the country.

During a discussion on immigration with guest Douglas Murray, Kilmeade accused Democrats of advocating for "open borders" and said that they were using charges of racism to deflect from criticisms of their policies.

"If you are against open borders or if you are concerned about immigration, you're racist, sexist, misogynist, whatever," Kilmeade complained. "Which you're -- it doesn't matter -- we're not talking color, we're talking culture."

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MSNBC’s Morning Joe wants to know why Mueller went easy on Don Trump Jr: ‘Why wasn’t he investigated?’

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said special counsel Robert Mueller had some big questions to answer to assure Americans that the rule of law still existed.

The "Morning Joe" host asked NBC News reporter Carol Lee about her new report asking why Donald Trump Jr. had not been questioned as part of the special counsel probe, and h laid out the biggest questions facing Mueller ahead of his congressional testimony.

"There are only three questions that most Americans want the answer to," Scarborough said. "Was there obstruction, was there collusion and would Donald Trump have been indicted had he not been the president of the United States? Those are three pretty simple questions, but I don't think he'll -- I don't think you'll get the answers tomorrow, sadly."

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