Three years ago this week, the 2008 financial crisis began in earnest with the Sept. 15 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the $85 billion bailout of insurance giant American International Group one day later. Those events set in motion the spiral that resulted in the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
In the Great Recession that followed this Wall Street-driven meltdown, 14 million Americans lost their jobs and $20 trillion in wealth was destroyed. However, the candidates on stage during last night’s Republican presidential primary debate seem to be suffering from a severe case of amnesia when it comes to the financial crisis, as several of them called for repealing the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry going so far as to criticize the Obama administration for its failure to “free up” Wall Street:
RICK PERRY: This president does not understand how to free up the small businessmen and women or, for that matter, Wall Street. You give people the opportunity to risk their capital by lowering the tax burden on them, by lowering the regulatory climate, and you will see an American economy that takes off like a rocket ship.
MICHELE BACHMANN: I know we can do so much better in this country. That’s why I’m the chief author of the bill to repeal Dodd-Frank, the bill to repeal Obamacare. And that’s why I brought the voice of the Tea Party to the United States Congress as the founder of the Tea Party Caucus.
JON HUNTSMAN: We cannot go forward with Dodd-Frank, because businesses in this country are saying there’s no predictability, there’s no ability to see around the bend, we don’t know what costs are going to be, we’re not hiring and bringing new people on.
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It’d odd that Perry think Wall Street isn’t “free” at the moment. After all, Wall Street banks are pulling in record profits. But it’s not only the GOP suffering from regulation delusions: JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon this week criticized higher capital requirements for bank as “un-American.” Evidently, Dimon and the GOP candidates have forgotten — or are blatantly ignoring — that just three years ago their philosophy brought the global economy to the brink of collapse.