As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee from 1995 through 2000, Gramm was Washington’s most prominent and outspoken champion of financial deregulation. “Some people look at sub-prime lending and see evil. I look at sub-prime lending and see the American dream in action,” Gramm told a Senate debate in 2001.
He is also quoted as saying: “When I am on Wall Street and I realise that that’s the very nerve centre of American capitalism and I realise what capitalism has done for the working people of America, to me that’s a holy place.”
It was Gramm who fought hardest for deregulation and helped write the law that enabled the creation of financial giants such as Citigroup and Bank of America.
He remains unrepentant. After leaving the Committee he went to work for Swiss investment bank UBS and is now a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. AEI President Arthur Brooks said on his appointment: “Senator Gramm is one of the most innovative policymakers of our time. The Washington policy community has great need of his ideas and wisdom. We are thrilled to have him as part of the AEI Economic Policy Studies team.”