It’s really hard to grasp the size and scope of the global financial crisis we faced just four years ago. Some have estimated the impact as high as $11 trillion.
Pension funds were wiped out. Home values devastated. The taxpayer bailout to the financial industry was $700 billion.
During three presidential debates, how many questions were asked about financial reforms? None.
In the short video below, Bill Moyers interviews Neil Barofsky, and during the interview he refers to the relationship between Wall Street and Washington as an “incestuous orgy”.
How’s that for a metaphor?
When Neil was asked about why this relationship has become so intertwined with our political system, he made the following comment:
It’s the fact that their ideology matches up. And look, one of the reasons why their ideology matches up is they all come from the same small handful of institutions. And the people I was dealing with on a daily basis came from the same financial institutions that helped cause the financial crisis and were the most generous recipients of bailouts, Goldman Sachs, Bear Sterns, which, of course, had been adopted by J.P. Morgan Chase…and I think the other side effect of that is that people who are outside of that bubble, people who don’t have that background, people like myself as a federal prosecutor or Elizabeth Warren, who was the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel and before that a Harvard professor, that our views, our criticisms, our contrary positions were discounted, mocked, ridiculed, insulted, cursed at, at times. Because there was no– we didn’t have the pedigree in their world to have a meaningful contribution. So what happens is that there’s no new ideas that creep in. And you get this very uniform, very non-diverse approach to the problems of finance.
Even the watered down version of Dodd-Frank couldn’t stop the corruption and financial losses. During the presidential debates, republican candidate Mitt Romney said he would repeal Dodd-Frank, but never said what he would replace it with. The fact is, he’s an insider and will not do anything to impact his Wall Street friends.
We elect our representatives and send them to Washington to represent the people and they get there to find that Washington and Main Street is owned by Wall Street. While our legislators indicate they will reform the Banksters, what is really going on? According to Barofsky:
And right now it is hand to hand trench warfare; combat with those lobbyists spending all that money on campaign contributions, on, you know, flooding the decision makers and the regulators with comment letters and endless meetings…pressuring members of Congress to put pressure on the regulators, to water down the rules, to basically get as much back to the good old days where they would have free reign to print money, take advantage of their too big to fail status, bully and push out the little guys, take advantage of consumers.
Is our democratic republic for sale? Should we be spending time worrying about the poor people and making it even harder for the middle class when Banksters are allowed to use our money to gamble on high risk derivative transactions knowing that if they fail, we will bail them out again?
If you take a risk and it fails, you are financial devastated. The rules are different for the 1%…does your vote count on November 6th? You better believe it counts, and it’s never been more critical to cast your vote for the party working for the 99% – vote informed.