BILL MOYERS: Meet John Reed, the bankers’ banker who was there when Washington closed its eyes to the Wall Street follies.

JOHN REED: It wasn't that there was one or two or institutions that, you know, got carried away and did stupid things. It was, we all did. And then the whole system came down.

BILL MOYERS: And former Senator Byron Dorgan, who saw it all coming.

BYRON DORGAN: (Speaking on the Senate Floor) And we are deliberately and certainly with this legislation moving towards inheriting much greater risk in our financial services industries.

BYRON DORGAN: If you were to rank big mistakes in the history of this country, that was one of the bigger ones.

Preview: How Big Banks Are Rewriting the Rules of Our Economy

March 13, 2012

Big banks are rewriting the rules of our economy to the exclusive benefit of their own bottom line. But how did our political and financial class shift the benefits of the economy to the very top, while saddling us with greater debt and tearing new holes in the safety net?

This weekend on an encore broadcast of Moyers & Company (check your local listings), Bill Moyers talks with former Citigroup Chairman John Reed and former Senator Byron Dorgan to explore a momentous instance: how the mid-90’s merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group – and a friendly Presidential pen — brought down the Glass-Steagall Act, a crucial firewall between banks and investment firms which had protected consumers from financial calamity since the aftermath of the Great Depression. In effect, says Moyers, they put the watchdog to sleep. Now, John Reed regrets his role in the affair, and says lifting the Glass Steagall protections was a mistake.

Above, watch a special preview of the show before it airs on TV this weekend and online Friday evening.

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  • leftofcenter

    Now, the key question is how do you bring Glass-Steagall back? First, you have to deal with this attitude of “we’re entitled to all the profit we make” that bankers and other Wall St. people have.

    Really? Why are you entitled to it? Why are you more vital to the economy than someone else? Many times I hear the same arrogance on Stateside MSM and elsewhere. In the UK, many bankers say if you dare to regulate us more, we’re moving to Switzerland. What happens then? The current coalition govt. backs down.

    The politicians are terrified of pissing off these people (who are some of their largest campaign donors).

  • Azgene36

    I simply cannot believe that the broad cross-section of wall street, and especially the people at the top, did not know exactly what was going on as they weakened the world economy by more than 120 Trillion Dollars.