President Donald Trump directly reaffirmed his support for a “21st Century Glass-Steagall” bill in a Bloomberg News interview this week, saying, “I’m looking into that right now. There’s some people that want to go back to the old system, right? So we’re going to look at that.”
Financial press in New York and London have been full of attacks on Glass-Steagall for the past four weeks, reflecting fear the President might do exactly this; and also showing Wall Street’s awareness that a crash of corporate debt is threatened this year. Washington, D.C. Capitol Hill publications have also published attempts to discredit Glass-Steagall — and Bloomberg itself is now trying to cloud the President’s words with more such “debunkings.” But no alternative has the credibility with the public, or the track record of Glass-Steagall in preserving stability and soundness in the U.S. banking system.
Trump’s statements came during a 30-minute interview by Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs and Margaret Talev. A secondary report on Bloomberg, however, notes that, although Trump’s mere campaign statements on Glass-Steagall had “roiled” the “more moderate” (free-trade) Republicans, “the grass-roots base of the Republican and the Democratic Parties–people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren–have both advocated for the return of Glass-Steagall.”
An hour after the interview, Presidential Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted Trump’s meeting with the Independent Community Bankers of America, and his “looking at 21st-Century Glass-Steagall.” Later Spicer said, in answer to a question, “He [Trump] talked about it in the campaign. He’s mentioned before, his idea of a 21st-Century Glass-Steagall, a modernization of it. We’re not at a point where we’re able to roll out details at this time. He is actively considering options on it.” The ball is now in Congress’s court, and urgently.