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EIR Testimony on Maryland House Resolution HJ4 moving Congress To Restore the Glass-Steagall Act

Testimony of Paul Gallagher, Executive Intelligence Review Economics Co-Editor

March 3, 2017

Committee Chair and Delegates,

Thank you very much for holding today's hearing on the resolution to the U.S. Congress to restore the Glass-Steagall Act separating commercial bank units from all other types of financial institutions, and limiting FDIC insurance to those units.

Glass-Steagall restoration legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R.790, the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2017, was introduced Feb. 1 by Republican Walter Jones of North Carolina and Democrats Marcy Kaptur and Tim Ryan of Ohio and Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. It has grown to 32 cosponsors, and needs support. Twelve state legislatures are now considering resolutions supporting this legislation.

If Glass-Steagall is not restored now, the next large bank — or non-bank — financial failure will again topple the banking system and trigger both new bailouts and confiscation of bondholders and depositors in the form of bail-in. U.S.-based large bank holding companies have $2 trillion in exposure to European megabanks, which are full of non-performing loans and have not had a single profitable year since the 2008 crash despite hundreds of billions in bailouts and trillions in bond purchases by the European Central Bank.

And if Glass-Steagall separation is not restored now, the largest U.S. bank holding companies — which dominate the banking system to the extent of 60-70% of deposits and assets — will continue to limit lending, in practice, to the large corporate bond issuers and borrowers, shutting out technologically progressive SMEs from credit.

JP MorganChase had $837 billion in loans/leases outstanding at Dec. 31, 2015, just 65.1% of its deposits of $1.279 trillion. Citigroup had $604,991 billion in loans/leases at the same date, just 66.8% of its deposits. But the entire U.S. commercial banking system has loans/leases outstanding equal to 79.2% of deposits according to the Federal Reserve's flow-of-funds report. Since the six largest banks hold more than half of all deposits, the comparative ratio for the nation's 6,000 community banks and regionals clearly must be in the range of 90%-plus loans/leases to deposits. The biggest banks' loan ratios are very low indeed; they both hurt the economy, and demonstrate the great degree to which households and businesses deposits are being used for securities and derivatives speculation.

But since the 2008 crash, the biggest 12 banks have largely absorbed the deposits and assets of some 2,000 small banks which have disappeared — one quarter of all the commercial banks which existed in the United States a decade ago.

The largest bank holding companies changed dramatically from 1995 the point at which Glass-Steagall enforcement had effectively ceased — through the 2007-08 crash. This was studied and effectively described already in a 2011 study by the New York Federal Reserve, entitled "Peeling the Onion: The Structure of Large Bank Holding Companies." These giants became impossibly complex, morphing from 1-200 subsidiaries typically in 1995 to 3,000 or more units per megabank in 2011. They became giants dominating the assets and deposits of the entire U.S. banking system for the first time in U.S. history. They shifted their huge and growing deposit bases from lending toward supporting securities trading units, derivatives trades, etc. Derivatives markets exploded ten times in size in ten years 1997-2007.

Already in 1998-99 the failure of a single hedge fund called Long Term Capital Management was admitted to have nearly caused a global bank panic, because 55 U.S. and European banks, through leveraged loans, were into LTCM's immensely risky derivatives trading. By 2008 Lehman Brothers and other investment banks, insurance companies and hedge funds were in the same blowout event condition.

Today, a media report March 2 identified $321 billion in fines which the world's biggest banks have had to pay since the 2008 crash, for illegal and/or immoral activities which they continue to commit up to the present. The dominant character of these violations of banking law and practice is the use of the very large deposit bases of these banks, to support speculative units, securitization of investments, and derivatives bets. The currently very public Wells Fargo mis-selling scandal is emblematic of this.

If the Glass-Steagall Act is restored by Congress now, financial failures will take down only individual financial institutions, as when important investment banks like Drexel Burnham Lambert and Solomon Brothers failed under Glass-Steagall enforcement without affecting the rest of the banking system. U.S. branches of the biggest European universal banks, which absorbed great volumes of taxpayer bailout loans and recapitalizations, will have to recharter themselves completely independently if they are to operate in the United States at all. But in fact, Glass-Steagall restoration in the United States is likely to be followed more or less immediately in Europe, where many nations have already had Glass-Steagall bank separation legislation introduced.

And if Glass-Steagall is restored by Congress now, even as large holding companies are divesting securities units, their commercial banking units will necessarily be in the business of lending to businesses and households, aside from holdings of Federal and municipal bonds. The common Wall Street argument against Glass-Steagall — that it will reduce bank lending or damage the capital market — is the opposite of the truth. As FDIC vice-chair Thomas Hoenig has frequently argued in recent years, the United States capital markets were the deepest and most reliable in the world in the decades when commercial banking and securities trading were separated and the Federal safety net protected only the former.

If a national bank for great infrastructure projects is established, it will need a system of private commercial banks lending on good terms to its contractors. Glass-Steagall will make lending those banks business again.

Executive Intelligence Review believes that restoring Glass-Steagall is the initiating action of four laws Congress should take. It should lead to a national Hamiltonian credit institutions for trillions in infrastructure investments; to an accelerated return to manned space exploration and to rapid development of fusion power and plasma technologies.

Thank you again for debating this crucial subject.

LaRouchePAC brings sanity to Washington amidst the British Intelligence blitz against the Presidency

Wednesday, January 11, delegations of LaRouche PAC organizers went to Congress, demanding implementation of LaRouche’s Four Laws for Economic Recovery. A majority of the meetings were held with senior staff or members of Congress themselves.

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Letter to the Editor: New Glass-Steagall Act needed

The following letter was submitted by a LaRouchePAC activist and published by the San Angelo Standard Times, October 24, 2016

The USA is in trouble with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as candidates for president.

Trump's locker room talk and bankrupt gambling halls are no example of an efficient president. Clinton's so-called foreign relations "experience" has been support of wars of aggression against sovereign nations was based on lies against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria. These are war crimes against humanity, producing thousands killed and homeless.

The support for sanctions against Russia did more damage to the American and European farmers than for Russia, which is now the No. 1 exporter of wheat. Ask our Texas Plains and Panhandle farmers about that.

Clinton supported the cover-up of Saudi Arabia's participation in 9/11 until Congress finally released the 28 pages of a report; Obama's veto was overridden by Congress without our representative's vote. Now American weapons are imposing genocide on Yemen with Clinton support.

We need Congress to step up and vote in a new FDR Glass-Steagall Act, which was listed in both parties' platforms. Citizens need to call our congressmen to get the Glass-Steagall Act passed before the coming financial global disaster is upon us. This would split regular banking from the investment in derivatives.

Then a Hamiltonian policy needs to be established to rebuild infrastructure and we should support the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa association to rebuild the world through peace and prosperity.

Baltimore Sun (online) posts L2E critical of editorial attacking Russia,Syria re: Aleppo

The  letter was posted after 11 days after much editing.They left out parts that attacked the whole "Regime Change" policy of Bush and Obama, my attack on the "White Helmets" operation, and the 'BRICS" development policy.

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Letter to the Editor

I recently had a Letter to the Editor posted in the Asbury Park Press which has readership in about 1/3 of New Jersey. The letter was entitled " J.A.S.T.A. now Glass-Steagall". here is the link to access and forward the letter to others.

LaRouche's Four Laws and an end to Obama/Saudi Genocide

          Last weekend in Dearborn, MI the Yemeni American community held two events in response to the horrific attack on a well-attended funeral for a Houthi military leader. Friday night, they held a memorial honoring the hundreds of innocent Yemeni civilians that had been murdered by Saudi Arabia in that attack. Saturday they organized a demonstration against the ruthless Saudi war. A few of our activists in the area have spoken many times with leaders in the Arabic community about the necessity of removing Obama from office, ending the perpetual war policy, and orienting the US towards the new paradigm of global economic development. There has been little disagreement with our program, and even less when it comes to ending the wars, but they have managed to maintain a strange, apologetic stance on Obama.     

LaRouchePAC organizer being interviewed.

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LPAC Confronts Minnesota Senator Franken at campaign event

Kevin E., an LPAC activist in St. Paul, MN, sent in this report of his intervention at a campaign event for Minnesota state legislators in Eagan, MN, attended by US Senator Al Franken. The event was attended by about 30-40 people. Kevin reported that Franken went on and on about how bad the Republicans were, until Kevin decided to break the monotony and interrupt his speech, asking him, "What about Obama? You complain about the Republicans, yet Obama is the one who wants to go to war with Russia and China over Syria, not to mention the fact that he just bragged about stopping Glass-Steagall in a recent Economist article." Franken did not respond, other than to say that they could discuss it later during the Q&A session, which they did.

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New York City Engineers Awakened to the Potential of the World Land-Bridge

Last week, I had the opportunity to present a picture of the new paradigm represented by the New Suez Canal and World Land-Bridge to an assembly of 45 civil  engineers in Manhattan, as the invited guest lecturer. This was one of series of official “continuing education” lectures that engineers are required to attend several times a year to maintain their state licenses. Many of the attendees enthusiastically became contacts, and at least four reports on our program were sold. In the two-part presentation, with a dinner break in the middle, the Suez Canal expansion project served to set the stage.

[Jason Ross speaking to a group of ASCE engineers]

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