Breaking Up “Too Big to Fail” Banks

Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced legislation today to break up banks that have grown so large that the Justice Department fears the financial system would be at risk if criminal charges were filed against them.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said the Justice Department may not pursue criminal cases against big banks because filing charges could “have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.”

“We have a situation now where Wall Street banks are not only too big to fail, they are too big to jail,” Bernie said.

Bernie’s legislation, which was introduced in the House by Rep. Brad Sherman, would give the Treasury Department 90 days to identify commercial banks, investment banks, hedge funds and insurance companies whose “failure would have a catastrophic effect on the stability of either the financial system or the United States economy without substantial government assistance.”

The legislation also instructs the Treasury secretary to “break up entities included on the Too Big To Fail List, so that their failure would no longer cause a catastrophic effect on the United States or global economy without a taxpayer bailout.”

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