Saturday, May 15, 2010

Close Call


Last Wednesday, Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln took to the Senate floor and delivered about as fiery a speech as you’ll hear in the chamber, at least on the subject of financial reform. “Currently, five of the largest commercial banks account for ninety-seven percent of the [derivatives market],” she said. “That is a huge concentration of economic power, which is why I am in no way surprised that several individuals are seeking to remove it from the bill.”
The “it” these unnamed individuals were bent on removing is a provision Lincoln wrote that would force banks to spin off their derivatives business if they want access to federal deposit insurance and other safeguards. Lincoln stunned the financial world when she unveiled the hawkish proposal last month and promptly pushed it through the Senate Agriculture Committee, which she chairs. (Derivatives are essentially a bet on the direction of financial data, like bond prices and interest rates.)

Economy | The New Republic

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