How easily we forget this whole mess started under a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, with the repeal of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act in 199. Here’s Huffington Post from a few months ago that sums up why a guy like this retiring is a big deal. Dan Froomkin writes:
He got it right last time.
Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, was one of eight senators who stood up to oppose the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act in 1999. That repeal, which was signed into law by President Clinton exactly 10 years ago today, broke down the barriers between commercial banking and investment banking, and led to the growth of behemoth financial firms that were able to take enormous risks with impunity, because they were “too big to fail.”
“I think we will in 10 years’ time look back and say we should not have done this,” Dorgan said back then. The video of his speech has become something of a cult favorite for wonks — ten years, a $700 billion bailout and a major financial crisis later.