The Glass-Steagall Cake

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Today is the tenth birthday of the legislation that repealed the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act. Glass Steagall’s repeal allowed banks to combine investment banking and commercial banking operations—a move that many people believe contributed to the financial crisis by allowing banks to grow larger than ever before. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that a lot of the people who celebrated Glass-Steagall’s downfall are still running the economy today. But I didn’t know just how much they celebrated. Here, via Felix Salmon, is American Banker‘s contemporaneous account of the party, which reads like something straight out of the Cake Wrecks blog:

The reaction on Capitol Hill to passage of the financial reform bill last week ranged from revelry to morbid humor. To mark the historic occasion, House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach played host to a group of his closest collaborators on the bill, including Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers, Comptroller of the Currency John D. Hawke Jr., Treasury Under Secretary Gary Gensler, and Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-N.Y. They joined staff members, lobbyists, and reporters in drinking champagne and devouring a large cake, which bore an epitaph for the Depression-era separation of commercial and investment banking that the bill undoes. It read: “Glass-Steagall, R.I.P., 1933-1999.”

Gary Gensler runs the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for the Obama administration. Larry Summers, of course, is Barack Obama’s top economic adviser. Save a piece of cake for us, guys. (As Felix notes, it would be a-mazing to find a photo of this party.)

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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