'This Week' Transcript: Goolsbee, Brown & Corker

Let me give you one statistic, if I could, Jake. Fifteen years ago, the six -- the assets of the six largest banks in this country totaled 17 percent of GDP, 17 percent of GDP. The assets of the six largest banks in the United States today total 63 percent of GDP, and that's too -- we've got to deal with risk to be sure, but we've got to deal with the size of these banks, because if one of these banks is in serious trouble, it will have such a ripple effect on the whole economy. So we simply can't let them get this big and have this kind of economic power over Main Street, over a small business in Canton, Ohio, or a worker -- a manufacturing plant in Dayton. I mean, we just can't let this happen.

TAPPER: And Austan, Senator Brown is going to introduce an amendment that would cap the amount a bank can borrow to finance operations at 2 percent of GDP, 2 percent of the gross domestic product. Wouldn't that actually stop too-big-to-fail by preventing these banks from being too big? And why isn't the administration behind that?

GOOLSBEE: Well, the president is totally committed and it's one of his key principles that we're going to end too-big-to-fail, we're going to end the bailout era that began under the last president, for good. That's not going to happen anymore. We can open -- we're open to negotiating details obviously as we start getting into it. They're complicated. Some of these financial risks are more like worms where you could chop them in half, but it doesn't kill them, it just gives you two different worms. Bear Stearns, AIG, they weren't the biggest, they were just the most dangerous, and we've got to come at this from every side.

Look, we're open to looking at ending too-big-to-fail on the size angle, on the what risky investments they're allowed to take, looking at the derivatives component so that AIG-like, they can't threaten to blow up the whole world because of -- because they have some of this $600 trillion pool of derivatives that we know virtually nothing about, that are in the dark. All of that ends when we sign this bill. If you look at the bill and take a step back -- I don't know much about the legislative strategies that are going on in the Senate. They are important. I do know that the president has laid out what this bill does, is we're going to end bailouts, we're going to hold accountable the people that get into the messes. So if they get in trouble, they fail. All we're going to do is pay funeral expenses, and we're going to have the strongest consumer protections ever in this country.

TAPPER: Let me stop you right there, because you said that we're going to hold accountable the people that get us into these messes. But Senator Corker, I think one of the problems that a lot of the American people have with bailouts and with this legislation is that they feel that after these firms fail, or are propped up by the U.S. taxpayer, they take billions of taxpayer dollars, then the CEOs and the board members drive off in their Austin Martins to their $20 million houses in the Hamptons with their $500 million in the bank, and there's no accountability whatsoever. Is there anything in this bill that provides any personal accountability for these CEOs?

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