Hillary Clinton on Wall Street: 'No one should be too big to jail'

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented her plan to “rein in” Wall Street in a New York Times op-ed published Monday.

Clinton, who has faced criticism for her ties to the financial industry, vowed to fight for “tough new rules” and to veto any legislation that attempts to weaken current Wall Street regulations.

The Democratic presidential front-runner presented a three-part proposal for how she’d treat Wall Street.

First, Clinton wrote, she’d create a “new risk fee” on the biggest financial institutions to discourage behaviour that could jeopardize the broader economy.

“I would also ensure that the federal government has — and is prepared to use — the authority and tools necessary to reorganise, downsize and ultimately break up any financial institution that is too large and risky to be managed effectively,” she added. “No bank or financial firm should be too big to manage.”

Clinton said she would not endorse reinstating the Glass — Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banking. Both of Clinton’s primary rivals — Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) — have made the case that the Glass — Steagall regulations should return, but Clinton argued that it would have done little to prevent the 2008 financial crash.

Second, Clinton wrote, she’d “appoint tough, independent regulators and ensure that both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are independently funded.”

“I would seek to impose a tax on harmful high-frequency trading, which makes markets less stable and less fair,” she continued. “And we need to reform stock market rules to ensure equal access to information, increase transparency and minimise conflicts of interest.”

Clinton’s final point was that “no one should be too big to jail”:

I would seek to extend the statute of limitations for major financial crimes to 10 years from five and enhance rewards for whistle-blowers. I would work to ensure that financial firms admit wrongdoing as part of settlements in instances of egregious misconduct, and increase transparency about the terms of settlement and the fines actually paid to the government. Fines should be more than just the cost of doing business to these companies — they should be an effective disincentive for illegal behaviour.

View the full New York Times op-ed >

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