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Sanders details Wall Street reform plans

Tony Wagner Jan 5, 2016

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders laid out more details of his plans for reforming the financial sector Tuesday while attacking chief rival Hillary Clinton at a town hall meeting just a few miles from Wall Street.

“If you do not end your greed,” Sanders said, addressing Wall Street, “we will end it for you.”

The Vermont senator stuck to his favorite themes of income inequality and big banks run amok, with the audience even finishing one of Sanders’ trademark lines — “Congress doesn’t regulate Wall Street, Wall Street regulates Congress” — before he could.

Sanders invoked Teddy Roosevelt as he pledged to break up “too-big-to-fail” banks within his first year in office, endorsing Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to bring back the Glass-Steigel Act. He also admonished the criminal justice system, saying voters are disillusioned when young people are jailed for drug offenses but Wall Street executives aren’t prosecuted.  Sanders said in his administration, no banker would be “too-big-to-jail.”

Other Democratic hopefuls have pointed out roadblocks to passing and funding some of Sanders’ policies. Sanders proposed a few solutions Tuesday, saying he would make public colleges and universities tuition free with a tax on Wall Street speculation. Sanders also proposed a fee for banks holding money in the Federal Reserve.

In addition to Fed reforms, Sanders also pledged to make credit rating agencies non-profits, uncoupling them from Wall Street. He also proposed giving the U.S. Postal Service the ability to perform basic banking services, to increase access for low-income communities and drive people away from payday lenders.

Sanders said his administration would tamp down on interest rates and fees, capping ATM fees at $2 and credit card and consumer loan rates at 15 percent.

Clinton’s campaign went after Sanders in the run-up to Tuesday’s speech, saying he should endorse her plan to go after so-called “shadow banks.” Sanders acknowledged their role in the Great Recession but said Clinton’s policies shift the blame away from commercial banks. Sanders questioned Clinton’s record regulating those banks, invoking a line Clinton used in a debate last year.

“My opponent says that, as a senator, she told bankers to ‘cut it out’ and end their destructive behavior,” he said. “But, in my view, establishment politicians are the ones who need to ‘cut it out.'”

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