By Perry Thurston
Protecting the financial interests of the public is an important priority of mine and it's a responsibility I take seriously as the incoming leader of the Florida House Democratic Caucus. That's why I am troubled by recent news stories exposing the risky behavior of major financial institutions that receive emergency government loans.
Financial institutions that offer federally insured deposits should be of special concern to all of us. When these companies face problems, taxpayers are at risk. When bankers gamble like drunken soldiers, it's everyone's problem.
Democrats like me in the Florida House pointed out these risks during the recent legislative session when Republican leaders sponsored and passed memorials calling on Congress to repeal important consumer protections in our nation's banking laws. Instead of championing reform, Republicans in Tallahassee attacked bipartisan acts of Congress that aim to restore confidence in our financial system.
A Republican-backed House Florida memorial called for the abandonment of The Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The act was implemented to better regulate the largest and most complex Wall Street firms and to transform the financial system in a positive way, including by bringing more transparency and accountability to the derivatives market and bolstering consumer protection.
Democrats, siding with Florida consumers, believe that the federal regulations are still needed. The recent articles about large banking institutions behaving like crazed cowboys in the Wild West support our position and should cast doubt on the view of Republican lawmakers who want to weaken consumer protections for the profit of big banks.
Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, is incoming leader for the Florida House Democratic Caucus.
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