Financial Reform: 'Punks' Take on Plutocrats

GOP argument against reform is upside-down, writes Paul Krugman
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2010 7:00 AM CDT
House Minority Leader John Boehner has urged bankers to resist efforts to tighten financial regulation.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
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(Newser) – With financial reform on deck, Senate Republicans are busily figuring out how many "can get away with claiming that war is peace and regulating big banks is doing those big banks a favor," writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times. Alabama's Richard Shelby is portraying efforts to rein in big banks as a bailout, and John Boehner recently urged bankers to stand up to Congress and "not let those little punk staffers take advantage of you." But in this case, Krugman says, it's those "punks" who are looking out for the taxpayer.

Barney Frank cheekily had "Little Punk Staffer" buttons made up for aides, but Krugman writes that letting banks return to recklessness—safe in the knowledge that they will be bailed out if necessary—is serious stuff. "The fact is that people like Mr. Shelby are on the side of the plutocrats; the American people should be on the side of the punks, who are trying to protect their interests," Krugman concludes.

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