Tag: Jeff Connaughton

One Man Against The Wall Street Lobby

By Simon Johnson

Two diametrically opposed views of Wall Street and the dangers posed by global megabanks came more clearly into focus last week.  On the one hand, William B. Harrison, Jr. – former chairman of JP Morgan Chase – argued in the New York Times that today’s massive banks are an essential part of a well-functioning market economy, and not at all helped by implicit government subsidies.

On the other hand, there is a new powerful voice who knows how big banks really work and who is willing to tell the truth in great and convincing detail.  Jeff Connaughton – a former senior political adviser who has worked both for and against powerful Wall Street interests over the years – has just published a page-turning memoir that is also a damning critique of how Wall Street operates, the political capture of Washington, and our collective failure to reform finance in the past four years.  “The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins,” is the perfect antidote to disinformation put about by global megabanks and their friends.

Specifically, Mr. Harrison makes six related arguments regarding why we should not break up our largest banks.  Each of these is clearly and directly refuted by Mr. Connaughton’s experience and the evidence he presents. Continue reading “One Man Against The Wall Street Lobby”

Why Does Wall Street Always Win?

By Simon Johnson

After a long summer of high-profile scandals – JPMorgan Chase trading, Barclays rate-fixing, HSBC money-laundering and more – the debate about the financial sector is becoming livelier.

Why has it has become so excessively dominated by relatively few very large companies? What damage can it do to the rest of us? What reasonable policy changes could bring global megabanks more nearly under control? And why is this unlikely to happen?

If any of these questions interest you – or keep you awake at night – you should take another look at the last time we had this debate at the national level, and reflect on the work of Ted Kaufman, the former Democratic senator from Delaware, who was far ahead of almost everyone in recognizing the problem and thinking about what to do.

Senator Kaufman represented Delaware in 2009 and 2010, and Jeff Connaughton – his chief of staff – has a new book that puts you in the room. In “The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins,” we see Senator Kaufman as chairman of oversight hearings on the Justice Department and the F.B.I.’s pursuit of financial fraud, pushing the Securities and Exchange Commission on the dangerous rise of computerized trading and working with Senator Sherrod Brown, Democratic of Ohio, on the legislative fight to impose a hard cap on the size and debts of our largest banks. (I wrote many pieces supporting the work of Senator Kaufman at the time, including in this space, but I never worked for him.) Continue reading “Why Does Wall Street Always Win?”