Below is the opening of our monthly newsletter. View the full newsletter online here.
It’s been another busy month being a counterweight to Wall Street’s biggest banks, their CEOs, the crypto industry, and the broader financial industry, which has been relentlessly using all the levers of the influence industry to bend the policymaking process to benefit themselves at the expense of consumers, investors, financial stability, and the economy.
First, Wall Street’s CEOs are attacking new rules to protect Main Street families, businesses, and community banks from big bank failures and bailouts by requiring them to have more capital to absorb their own losses. Undercapitalized banks pose a grave threat to our country, as just proved again by the failure of First Republic Bank and Silicon Valley bank: they failed and were bailed out because they didn’t have enough capital. However, maximizing banker bonuses requires minimizing capital – good for Wall St, but terrible for Main St. Of course, Wall St and the CEOs would never admit that; instead they are engaged in a disinformation campaign based on false claims that we exposed in this Fact Sheet as baseless and dangerous.
Second, in a sneaky backdoor proposal, a private, profit maximizing financial firm backed by some of the biggest names on Wall Street and Silicon Valley is attempting to get the CFTC to allow bets of up to $100 million per trader on U.S. elections via so-called “event contracts.” We’ve been opposing this attempt to endanger our democracy for more than a year and have asked the CFTC to reject the proposal based on the law, public policy, and the facts. Our efforts included rallying hundreds of policymakers, advocacy groups, and concerned citizens in urging the CFTC to reject the proposal to turn our democracy into a casino. Read more about in my latest Op-Ed for The Hill.
Third, for years now, crypto has operated as a lawless industry, refusing to comply with well-established laws and regulations. The consequences for Main Street have been severe, $2 trillion in losses, multiple bankruptcies, dozens and dozens of lawsuits for lying, cheating, and stealing, facilitating ransomware, money laundering, and illegal conduct of all types. Now, the industry is trying to rewrite the laws and rules that protect investors, customers, markets, our financial system, and economy to benefit them and their predatory if not illegal business practices. That’s why this month we held a “Crypto Week of Truth” to shine a light on the industry’s actual record of crime, broken promises, and massive lobbying and influence campaigns. We kicked off the week with a not-to-be-missed webinar featuring accomplished independent experts: Professor Hilary Allen (author of Driverless Finance) and Former CFTC Commissioner/CFTC General Counsel/SEC General Counsel Dan Berkovitz.
These cases of capital, gambling, and crypto are just the latest reminders that there are still too many CEOs and financial firms putting their self-interest in maximizing profits over the public interest. Their hope is that no one is watching and that no one will highlight and expose what they are doing. But when Wall Street’s CEOs deploy their lobbyists, lawyers, and spinners to bend the rules, Better Markets’ staff is there pointing out and fighting what they are doing, like their opposition to capital to maximize their bonuses.
It’s thanks to your support and partnership that we can do this: speak truth to power, no matter how many political allies, influence, and access the industry and special interests have in Washington.
Co-Founder, President & CEO, Better Markets