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The Legislation That Blew Up Wall Street & Led To A Global Depression

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posted on Oct, 27 2008 @ 04:09 AM
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Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 or CFMA (H.R. 5660 and S.3283) is United States federal legislation which repealed the Shad-Johnson jurisdictional accord, which had banned single-stock futures in 1982. The legislation also provided certainty that products offered by banking institutions would not be regulated as futures contracts.

This act was incorporated by reference into H.R. 4577, an omnibus spending bill. It was passed by the 106th United States Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton on December 21, 2000; the legislation thus became law as a part of H.R. 4577 - Public Law 106–554, §1(a)(5).

The act has been cited as a public-policy decision significantly contributing to Enron's bankruptcy in 2001 and the much broader liquidity crisis of September 2008 that led to the bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers and emergency Federal Reserve Bank loans to American International Group[1] and to the creation of the U.S. Emergency Economic Stabilization fund.

Legislative history

The "Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000" (H.R. 5660) was introduced in the House on Dec. 14, 2000 by Rep. Thomas W. Ewing (R-IL) and cosponsored by Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (R-VA) Rep. Larry Combest (R-TX) Rep. John J. LaFalce (D-NY) Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA) and never debated in the House.[2]

The companion bill (S.3283) was introduced in the Senate on Dec. 15th, 2000 (The last day before Christmas holiday) by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) and cosponsored by Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) Sen. Thomas Harkin (D-IA) Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) and never debated in the Senate.

Given the above-stated chronology, it would appear that the House and Senate versions of the bill were introduced just prior to the Christmas holiday in December of 2000, following George W Bush's (first) election (in November of 2000), while then-President Clinton was serving out his final days as President. The bill was never debated by the House or Senate. The bill by-passed the substantive policy committees in both the House and the Senate so that there were neither hearings nor opportunities for recorded committee votes. In substance, it appears that the leadership of the Republican-controlled Senate and House incorporated the deregulation of credit default swaps into an omnibus budget bill (without hearings or recorded votes) at a time when the outgoing president was in no position to veto anything. The following article argues that Bill Clinton and Alan Greenspan endorsed this law: The Bet That Blew Up Wall Street.




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