Occupy Wall Street protests 'resonate'
Policymakers are closely watching the global offshoots that have sprung from the initial Occupy Wall Street protest two months ago and one lawmaker believes the demonstrations are beginning to reverberate. Consumers don't feel good about Wall Street or banks, said Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), a featured speaker at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association annual meeting in New York Monday. "I would say that they're not happy," Crapo said, while being interviewed by journalist Charlie Rose. "The kinds of rhetoric that you hear coming from some of the Occupy Wall Street groups resonate." "Resonate?" Rose said. "Yeah, they think the government bailed out banks, but didn't bail out them," Crapo said. "They look at the bonuses that come out." Crapo said that in many cases he agrees with them. He referred to the recently announced bonuses that were handed out at troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Last week 60 U.S. senators demanded to know why executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received millions in bonuses as taxpayers keep the two government-sponsored enterprises afloat. Ten executives at Fannie and Freddie received $12.8 million in bonuses. The Senate Banking and Housing and Urban Affairs Committees are examining the issue, and called Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco to testify on the matter. Meanwhile, Freddie reported a loss of $4.4 billion for the third quarter and is requesting another $6 billion in support from the Treasury Department. Crapo said he supports a private-sector housing reform solution. "Maybe there would some kind of government guarantee — I'm open to that," he added. "But I really don't think we should get back to where we were." In a letter sent to DeMarco, whose agency regulates the GSEs, the senators demanded an overhaul for how executives at the GSEs are compensated. Write to Justin T. Hilley. Follow him on Twitter @JustinHilley.