September 16, 2008

Larson, Visconti point fingers on Wall Street woes

The turmoil that has sent shivers through Wall Street – and spread across the world – “is the direct result of eight years of lax Republican oversight and irresponsibility,” Bristol’s congressman said.
U.S. Rep. John Larson, an East Hartford Democrat whose 1st District includes Bristol, said the woes that have shattered legendary financial institutions “will trickle down throughout our economy. They will trickle down to the middle class as they see their retirement funds shrinking and they will trickle down to the poorest Americans as they see their job opportunities dry up.”
But Joe Visconti, the Republican challenger from West Hartford, said Tuesday that Larson needs “to stop the finger-pointing and blame game regarding the current crisis on Wall Street, and work instead for a bi-partisan financial reconstruction that will protect American finances.”
“Blaming the GOP is merely a desperate diversion and more than hypocritical,” Visconti said. “It is a perfect example of the ignorance, laziness, dysfunction and blatant dishonesty that has been the hallmark of Congress.”
Visconti said that “if there is a culprit in this debacle it is Connecticut's Democratic delegation” and U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, the state’s senior senator, “who had been MII (Missing in Iowa) as this crisis was coming to a head."
Larson, who has represented the district since 1998, said that the Republicans bear the responsibility because they have “turned a blind eye to improprieties on Wall Street and in big business” since President George W. Bush took office.
“We saw the beginnings of that policy failure in the downfalls of Enron and WorldCom,” Larson said.
“ Now, Republicans have handicapped our oversight functions and left our economy in shambles. The rescues of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns underscore a policy where executives get bailed out and the people get the bill,” Larson said. “From energy speculators who were allowed to run rampant in our oil and gas markets, to Interior Department officials maintaining cozy relationships with big oil, and now major banks failing under the weight of their own over extended investments, this administration has led our country down a dangerous path,” Larson said.
Visconti said that it was President Bill Clinton’s 1999 decision to sign the Financial Services Modernization Act that demolished the structures established by 1933’s Glass-Steagall Act that removed the firewalls between banks, security firms and insurance companies.
Because of that decision, he said, "the entire financial regulatory system malfunctioned and collapse was inevitable."
Visconti, who serves on the West Hartford town council, said that”if Larson was honest about his lackluster decade of non-performance, he would be questioning, as we are, just what he was going, and what Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee,
was doing as financial experts warned that unregulated loans to people who could not afford to repay them would have dire consequences."
Visconti said that Larson, Dodd and other Democratic congressional leaders “need to stop taking lobbyist money, look at the financial wreckage which has occurred under their leadership and listen to the average American, the markets, the regulators and the Fed."
The Republican challenger also called on Larson to stop playing the “he did it game” and begin to “earn their government paychecks by joining in a bipartisan effort to reform, redesign and rebuild our financial system to protect investors while allowing financial networks to face the challenges of the expanding global economy."
Larson said that Democrats need to take control of the White House so there can be effective oversight of the markets and restoration of the economy’s integrity.
“The CEOs and executives behind the current turmoil must be held accountable for their actions,” he said, adding that “the American people can’t foot the bill for anymore golden parachutes.”
“We will continue to fight for corporate responsibility. We will continue to demand change,” Larson said.
The election is Nov. 4.

Here is the entire statement that Visconti sent me today after I asked him for one yesterday:

Visconti Seeks Bi-Partisan Financial Reconstruction

Congressional Candidate Joe Visconti called on incumbent John Larson today to stop the finger-pointing and blame game regarding the current crisis on Wall Street, and work instead for a bi-partisan financial reconstruction that will protect American finances.

Visconti said that in 1999 when the Clinton Administration signed the Financial Services Modernization Act which demolished the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and removed the firewalls between banks, security firms and insurers, "the entire financial regulatory system malfunctioned and collapse was inevitable."

"Larson’s press release blaming the GOP is merely a desperate diversion and more than hypocritical; it is a perfect example of the ignorance, laziness, dysfunction and blatant dishonesty that has been the hallmark of Congress," Visconti said. "In fact, if there is a culprit in this debacle it is Connecticut's Democratic delegation including Sen. Chris Dodd who had been MII (Missing in Iowa) as this crisis was coming to a head."

"If Larson was honest about his lackluster decade of non-performance he would be questioning, as we are, just what he was doing, and what Dodd, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, was doing as financial experts warned that unregulated loans to people who could not afford to repay them would have dire consequences."

"The financial complexities in today’s markets which are amplified by a Global economy are far beyond what many financial analysts can comprehend," Visconti noted. "We discover too late that the experts provided many conflicting opinions from credit rating agencies to Bond, Pension and Money managers. How about your local neighborhood financial planners? Where do they obtain their data and how sound is their advice in times like these," Visconti asked?

The Hedge Fund Collapse which has already begun is another major factor ready to bring down collateral industries. The Hedge Fund managers skirted most of the regulatory processes and have been allowed to be the 12th man on the field. Wall Street may soon experience more penalties and losses as reality pays them a visit. "Hopefully, the demise of some of these institutions can be isolated to limit their affect on the Commodities Markets which could send an economic tsunami down on many American consumers," Visconti said.

"Larson, Dodd, Pelosi and Reid as leaders of the Democratic Majority in both Congress and the Senate need to stop taking Lobbyist money, look at the financial wreckage which has occurred under their leadership and listen to the average American, the markets, the regulators and the Fed."

Visconti challenged the incumbent that, "Rather than play the 'he did it game,' Larson and Dodd could earn their government paychecks by joining in a bi-partisan effort to reform, redesign and rebuild our financial system to protect investors while allowing financial networks to face the challenges of the expanding global economy."

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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

5 comments:

Republican said...

Why even read this?

Anonymous said...

A number of interesting points have been raised by Visconti. Most notable is the question of what Larson has done to earn his paycheck and that Dodd is the co-chaiman of the Senate Banking Committee. We all know that Dodd got a sweetheart deal from Countrywide..he should disclose the facts...why won't he? Larson has opened his mouth and got it stuffed with Dodd misgivings as well as his own and that of the entire liberal democrat wing of the party that he is one of. As a Democrat, I am ashamed of him and Dodd and will be voting Republican all the way this year.

Anonymous said...

Visconti is right. Larson and Dodd did nothing to help prevent this current situation.

Anonymous said...

Think back about a year ago: the indicators were there, but the politicians did not do anything about it! The subprime issue surfaced, the dollar was falling, oil was rising.

Both parties are equally guilty.

The same thing is happening at the state level: they will not admit the extent of the problem because it is election time.

Just wait!

Anonymous said...

Good leaders would have seen this coming!