As the space race slows, the race to break up America’s biggest banks gains speed
Have you seen the YouTube video of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield singing David Bowie’s “Ground Control to Major Tom” from the International Space Station? The social media loving space man has become a YouTube sensation with more than 10.5 million (yep that’s million) hits and growing. And that’s only within the span of about a week.
While the space race slows down, the rest of the planet (which you can see clearly from Hadfield’s video) pretty much has lost interest in space travel, The Canadian astronaut has single-handedly created what might be considered a Renaissance for space exploration.
It’s this kind of adventurous spirit, ingenuity and creativity that have made the world a better place to live. And it’s that kind of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that we need to bring to America’s financial sector and in particular the banking industry.
Oppenheim Law was recently interviewed by banking, legislation, regulatory policy, and litigation publisher Bloomberg BNA on many legal topics – from the “dubious constitutionality” of so-called rocket dockets, to why the planet’s biggest banks must be broken up to remain competitive.
Ironically, the sub headline that BNA gave to the section relating to the breaking up of the banking industry was “Science Fiction” and appropriately so.
I talk about how if we turned the country’s five or six largest banks into 20 or even 30 smaller ones – we would unleash a type of capitalism and creation of new products and concepts that we can’t even begin to envision.
“We would be traveling outside of our solar system much faster. We would be visiting more planets,” I told BNA reporter Kevin Lambert. “Why does all this have to come from science fiction similar to space travel? Banks that weren’t –literally – trying to control the governments could finance this kind of stuff. And that’s the problem. If we broke them up and they could go back to what they were supposed to be doing, I think we would be advancing civilization in a way that would unleash a new Renaissance in this world.”
So, how do the two correlate? Let’s go back to Ma Bell, instead of having just one giant phone company that stymied competition and innovation, the company was broken into Baby Bells, which caused them all to have to be better than the next to get customers’ attention.
That type of competition is what fosters creativity and with that creativity – as in the case of Ma Bell – came numerous technological advances including the Internet and wireless communication.
I have been singing the same song for years, but as we all know breaking up is hard to do.
On a positive note, several people who are in a better position than I, including U.S. Attorney Eric Holder, are beginning to hum the same tune I have been singing. Earlier this year, he admitted that America’s biggest banks are indeed too big to jail and too big to fail and it’s high time something is done about it.
Real estate and foreclosure defense attorney, Roy Oppenheim left Wall Street for Main Street, founding Oppenheim Law along with his wife Ellen in 1989 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He also is vice president of Weston Title and creator of the South Florida Law Blog, named the best business and technology blog by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Follow Roy on Twitter at @OpLaw or like Oppenheim Law on Facebook