The Running of the Bulls

warren

As America braces for a Republican Congress, Wall Street is already reaping its reward for funding the midterm election winners. First to go are some of the curbs on the kind of reckless trading that precipitated the global economic collapse in 2008. This concession was part of the price Democrats are paying to avoid another government shutdown.

You can bet this is only the beginning. The big banks have an insatiable appetite and they’re preparing for a legislative banquet.

Apart from Senator Elizabeth Warren, there are few voices sounding the alarm. (The voices crying in the wilderness include Senator Sherrod Brown, Representative Maxine Waters and Representative Alan Grayson.)

Even President Obama seems resigned to the inevitable. He keeps on appointing bankers to oversee the big banks.

His latest nomination is investment banker Antonio Weiss as Treasury Undersecretary for Domestic Finance. Weiss’  tasks include overseeing financial reforms enacted as a result of the economic collapse.

Senator Warren is trying to block this appointment.

Nobody else seems worried when the people who dictate America’s monetary policies and the people who profit from those policies are one and the same.

Isn’t that conflict of interest?

But that’s not the whole story. Wall Street owns Congress. And it’s not just because the bankers contribute so much to political campaigns. Most members of Congress are millionaire investors, themselves, with a stake in Wall Street’s success. It isn’t hard to guess where their sympathies lie.

Those too-big-to-fail banks were supposed to underwrite the national – and global – economy, providing the investment dollars for trade and development. But cunning financiers have discovered other ways to enrich themselves, and these tactics are not always in the best interests of the rest of the world.

Their tactics are far too complex to describe in a blog. They include  a kind of gambling that involves bets on bets on bets.

What makes it so immoral is that the money they gamble with includes pension funds and government-guaranteed deposits.  When they win, they keep the loot. When they lose, your savings and taxes are raided to pick up the tab.

Most of us are lost when it comes to discussing such Wall Street “instruments” as “warrants, options, derivatives, and rights.” The few insiders who understand such mysteries take full advantage of our ignorance.

We desperately need champions like Senator Warren who understand the intricacies of the financial world and have our interests at heart.

Click for more on the deal to avoid a government shutdown.

Click for more on Wall Street in politics.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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