On Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he planned to introduce a measure to break up America’s “too big to jail” banks.
The announcement comes on the heels of a statement by the U.S Justice Department that it would not pursue prosecution of big banks because of their size, citing concerns that an indictment could “have a negative impact on the national economy,” The Hill reports.
“In other words, we have a situation now where Wall Street banks are not only too big to fail, they are too big to jail,” Sanders said, according to The Hill. “That is unacceptable and that has got to change because America is based on a system of law and justice.”
Under Sanders’ proposal, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew would have 90 days to compile a list of hedge funds, investment and commercial banks and insurance companies he deems “too big to fail,” and the Treasury would be required to break up the institutions in one year.
“If an institutions is too big to fail, it is too big to exist,” Sanders said, The Hill reports. “We have to break up these institutions because of the tremendous damage they have done to our economy.”
Following the 2008 financial crisis, Sanders opposed the $700 billion bank bailout. He said the 10 largest banks in the US have only gotten bigger since the taxpayer-funded bailout.
“No single financial institution should be so large that its failure would cause catastrophic risk to millions of American jobs or to our nation’s economic well-being,” Sanders said, according to The Hill. “No single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure could send the world economy into crisis.”