Why D.C. is up in arms about derivatives … again

Stan Alcorn Dec 11, 2014
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Why D.C. is up in arms about derivatives … again

Stan Alcorn Dec 11, 2014
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The most controversial provision of the 1,600-page, $1.1 trillion spending bill currently before Congress could be the proposed roll-back of Section 716 of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill: PROHIBITION AGAINST FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BAILOUTS OF SWAPS ENTITIES.”

It’s also known as the “Lincoln Amendment,” after its original sponsor, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, or as the “swaps push-out rule,” but what does it actually do?

It was first proposed to push all derivatives off the balance sheets of FDIC-insured banks  what Michael Greenberger, professor of law at the University of Maryland, calls a “hundred trillion-dollar market in notional value.”

Mike Konczal, who writes about financial reform for the Roosevelt Institute, says the “push-out rule” has since been scaled back to apply to only its riskiest segment, like the kind of credit default swaps that brought down AIG. Aaron Klein at the Bipartisan Policy Center, who supports the roll-back of this rule, says pushing derivatives off of the banks’ balance sheets into hedge funds and bank subsidiaries won’t necessarily keep the financial system safe.

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