Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is on the verge of releasing what is perhaps the most aggressive Wall Street reform proposal from any leading candidate in any political party since the Great Depression.
According to a blog post by Jim Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute, Huntsman will release a plan after the Thanksgiving holiday calling to dismantle the nation's biggest banks in favor of safer, smaller institutions.
The plan call for placing a hard cap on bank size, defined as the bank's total assets as a share of the U.S. economy. The biggest American banks have grown massively larger since the 1980s, and have actually increased in size since the bailouts of 2008 -- which policymakers insisted were necessary due to the sheer size of major Wall Street banks. The proposal also would impose a hard cap on bank leverage, the amount of money a bank could borrow against its pure equity. Banks will have to limit their leverage under an international reform agreement known as Basel III, but they would nevertheless be permitted to gamble higher raters of borrowed money than Lehman Brothers did shortly before the mega bank went bankrupt.
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