Self-avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blasted the nation's major financial institutions and the government's failure to hold them accountable in a Wednesday-night appearance on CNN's "Parker Spitzer."
In the wake of Wednesday's mammoth release of documents pertaining to its $3.3-trillion aid program for big banks and other members of the financial community, Sanders said, outrage is growing among those not fortunate enough to head a Wall Street firm.
"The average American is sitting home. His or her standard or living is declining. Can't afford to send their kids to college. May have lost their home," he told cohost and ex-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. And I think what this revelation, this disclosure is about, is a group of enormously powerful people -- who today in many instances are making even more money than they did before they were bailed out by the taxpayers -- and I think the American people are saying hey, what does the government do for me?"
It doesn't help that the Street isn't returning the favor, Sanders went on.
"What you have right now are the large financial institutions who are doing very very well sitting on huge amounts of cash, and yet small businesses in Vermont and all over this country can't get affordable loans in order to create jobs," he said. "You've got credit card companies that were substantially helped by the bailout saying, 'Oh, thank you very much for bailing us out, now we're going to charge you 25 or 30 percent interest rates.'"
Prompted by Spitzer, Sanders said those same financial institutions lobbied against reform of their business practices as soon as legally possible, "to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, an absolute outrage." And the Fed, he agreed with Spitzer, is complicit in that process by keeping its deals with them secret.