GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will manufacture any excuse to attack the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and insist that it be repealed. Last month, at the same time bank profits were soaring, Gingrich told Fox’s Sean Hannity that the Dodd-Frank law was “killing the banking industry.” Now, Gingrich is co-opting the Occupy Wall Street protest to call yet again for the repeal of these much-needed reforms.
On CNN’s The Situation Room yesterday, Gingrich told host Wolf Blitzer that the protests are a wholesale indictment of President Obama’s economic policies. As such, Gingrich said that “the Dodd-Frank bill should repealed this week”:
GINGRICH: The truth is, with this level of failure, Geithner should be fired as Secretary of the Treasury, Bernanke should be fired as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the Dodd-Frank bill should be repealed this week. We ought to have decisive action. If you’re somebody out there, and you’ve been walking around and you’re beginning to figure out ‘How come the big boys get all these billions of dollars, the big banks get all these billions of dollars, somehow the Federal Reserve and the Treasury collude together on behalf of people who are already rich and nobody else gets a break?’ I think people need to understand, there’s something profoundly wrong with how Washington intersects with New York.
When asked whether he identifies with the protesters railing against the big banks, Gingrich reiterated that he is “angry about the Dodd-Frank bill” and insisted that protesters have the right to be “very very angry” about it. He said there should be pressure to “say to the Congress, ‘Why can’t you repeal Dodd-Frank now?’”
The great irony here is that the Dodd-Frank reforms are a necessary response to the Wall Street behavior that propelled the U.S. economy into the Great Recession. As the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission pointed out, the “widespread failures in financial regulation and supervision,” along with a “lack of transparency,” ultimately “proved devastating to the stability of the nation’s financial markets.” Not only does Dodd-Frank address these failures, it also seeks to curb excessive executive compensation and other abuses of taxpayer funds.
Moreover, if Gingrich is so offended by Washington’s collusion “on behalf of the people who are already rich,” perhaps he should look to his own party. He and his fellow Republicans consistently seek to provide wealthy people and corporations with tax cuts and subsidies, rejecting any attempt to make them pay their fair share in taxes as “class warfare.” The “big boys” he so quickly derides now are the very same “job creators” he continually insists need protection from progressive tax reform.
It’s clear from his record that Gingrich’s goal is to protect the Wall Street “big boys” from the any kind of oversight — no matter what spin he puts on it.