Franken uses a cartoon to explain complex financial dynamic

Financial industry regulation is no laughing matter, but Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) employed a cartoon by The Washington Post's Tom Toles this week to argue an amendment on the Senate floor.

The cartoon depicts a fat, slovenly figure skater labeled 'Wall Street' getting three perfect 10 scores from judges labeled 'Ratings Agencies.' The bubble above the skater's head says "I pay their salaries." 

The cartoon refers to the fact that Wall Street banks pay bond rating agencies like Moody's for their ratings, a relationship some argue undermines the impartiality of the eventual ratings. Franken has proposed an amendment in the financial regulatory reform bill that would change how ratings agencies are paid.

Franken had the cartoon blown up into a poster that he exhaustively explained to his colleagues, pointing out each item that was spilling from the trash can the skater is carrying (an apple core, a fish head, etc.). "You don't want those on the ice," he said, "you just don't."


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