Regulating Wall Street’s Gamblers

Regulating Wall Street's Gamblers

“Over the last decade, the wealthiest Americans got richer by trading in the unregulated financial casinos on Wall Street.” — Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA).

“Once Congress deregulated the swaps market in 1999 it became a $600 trillion high-stakes casino for Wall Street to take big risks and bring our economy to the brink.”– Senator Maria  Cantwell (D-WA).

” … without action, we’ll continue to see what amounts to highly-leveraged, loosely-monitored gambling in our financial system, putting taxpayers and the economy in jeopardy.” – President Barack Obama.

“Wall Street’s a casino, so maybe state gambling laws apply,” Les Blumenthal, McClatchy Newspapers. (See an opposing view here).

Some investment banks went right to the source, learning the fine points of the game by actually investing in casinos.

Who should regulate Wall Street’s casino? Forget the Federal Reserve Bank or some new Consumer Financial Protection Agency  — the government already has  boots mocasins on the ground. Put exotic swaps under the National Indian Gaming Commission. Wierd? It’s certainly no stranger than (un)regulating energy futures and Hollywood movies as if they were agriculture.

A brief history of unregulated derivatives from Michael Greenberger:

Top image (“Dogs Dealing Unregulated Securities, after C.M. Coolidge” ) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

For information on artist and banker Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (1844 — 1934), look here.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


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One Response to “Regulating Wall Street’s Gamblers”

  1. Mike Licht Says:


    “Wall Street Casino,” New York Times editorial.

    “Goldman Sachs: ‘We didn’t do anything wrong,'” Andrew Leonard, Salon.

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