Elected Officials Call On Congress to Restore Glass-Steagall Act
May 26, 2013 • 1:00AM

The following text is being used to gather endorsements from elected officials:

"We, the undersigned elected officials from around the nation, hereby call upon the entire Congress, House and Senate concurring, to immediately restore the provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act. Contrary to reports coming out of Washington, there are no signs of a durable economic recovery in the states. We are suffering from years of downsizing and budget cutting, and have been hit by sequester and new austerity demands. Once prominent cities, such as Stockton, CA; Detroit, MI; Harrisburg, PA; and Jefferson County, AL, the home county of Birmingham, have been forced to seek bankruptcy protection or take other harsh steps.

Real unemployment in the nation is closer to 15-20% than the reported 7.5%, as millions of potential workers are forced to "drop out" of the workforce, and enter into the underground economy of drugs, crime and despair. Youth unemployment is over 30% in 30 states, and five states have youth unemployment over 40%, - Nevada, Illinois, Mississippi, California, and North Carolina. Continued austerity emanating from Washington is only making matters worse.

The root of the collapse is the shift of our nation from being a producer economy to a speculative/gambling economy. Central to this change was the erosion of Glass-Steagall, and then its outright repeal in 1999. This allowed the Too Big to Fail Wall Street banks to speculate with our nation's money at the expense of our shrinking productive capabilities, and have their losses bailed out.

The necessary first step in reversing this collapse is the restoration of Glass Steagall, which divides the Wall St banks by function, protecting only commercial banking, and divesting investment banking and other areas from the commercial banks. There is now a chorus of economists, bankers, labor officials and others calling for reinstating Glass-Steagall. They include such diverse voices as Thomas Hoenig, Vice Chair of FDIC, David Stockman, former chair of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan, economists Luigi Zingales and Lyndon LaRouche, and Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary under Bill Clinton. Even Sanford Weill, former CEO of Citibank, who led the effort to repeal Glass-Steagall in 1999, has called for restoring it! Nearly 20 State legislatures have filed resolutions to urge Congress to adopt Glass Steagall, and four have already passed.

There is a bipartisan bill to restore Glass-Steagall in the House of Representatives, H.R. 129, sponsored by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). It has over 60 cosponsors. On May 16, 2013, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa introduced the companion Senate bill, S. 985. We urge immediate adoption in both houses. Eighty years ago, in May of 1933, the U.S. Congress introduced and passed the original Glass-Steagall Act in 30 days! That bill worked for 66 years; it is time to restore that successful legislation now."