I must have some pent-up energy writing today…oh, well…probably a function of an active inbox today.
But, if you live anywhere near Wall Street and heard massive screaming, garments being torn and saw a distraught Jamie Dimon downing a few shots in the elite bar near the office, here’s why, a bright spot to wrap the week: Sherrod Brown is going to be the ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee in 2015, and, in hopeful sign to all middle-class people, Chuck Schumer won’t.
Under the heading of I am not surprised at all…guess what…the bankers are cheating again.
A billion here, a billion there…all of a sudden…yeah, you’re talking real money. And one assumes that’s what the accountants at banks figure when they smile about the latest scam to pad the bottom line for banks. It’s called “dividend arbitrage”–and that “arbitrage” already gives a hint.
Well, this is just more of the same. Shareholders and customers pay the tab for greed and incompetence–and the Administration goes along. A new deal–but no one held responsible.
Under the heading of “this is not surprising”, I’d put this news: bank CEOs are playing a central role in moving companies overseas–or, actually, just reincorporating them to dodge taxes. And all for the usual reason: nice fat bank fees that help underwrite the pay packages of Jamie Dimon and his gang–the same gang that wrecked the economy, but still have their jobs.
A bit amusing. The bankrollers of the Republican Party (and the Democratic Party as well) are pissed…at the Republican Party. They were made for each other.
Par for the course. Though you would be right to say “you have got to be kidding,” the truth is that the signal has been sent from the White House and from most of Congress that the bankers will not go to jail and they will not bear any personal cost of causing the greatest financial crisis in generations, a crisis that cost millions of people their jobs, thei retirement, their dignity and their futures. And the crystal clear example, from the outset, has been Jamie Dimon. He’s getting a big fat raise.
The absurdity of the debate about who should be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is NOT in the debate about Larry Summers versus Janet Yellin. Nope. It’s in the questions not being asked.
Every day, if you pay attention, we can get a teachable moment. Today’s teachable moment gives us this: if you are a CEO of a bank, a CEO who makes millions of dollars, and you are in financial trouble — trouble of your own making — you can ring up the White House and, presto, the coffers of the Federal Reserve open up to extend you loans in the billions of dollars. On the other hand, if you are a worker making a modest income, or you are now retired, and you live in a city ravaged by the so-called “free market”, a city that files for bankruptcy, and you ask the White House for help, you are told, “sorry, buddy, you are on your own.”
For a very long time, I’ve been critical of the unwillingness of the government to put bankers behind bars. Unless some of these guys end up in jail, another crisis will happen because fines — ultimately paid by shareholders and customers — are not a deterrent to the big boys.
The inexorable march to another big financial crisis takes another baby step every day. The banks, hey, they just keep spreading their muscle and graft everywhere to make sure that nothing changes. To wit.
Ah, Don Corleone, you would wish for these days. You would never worry about running a crooked business, breaking the law, or shaking down your customers. Because, if the government came after you, you’d have a ready-made defense, a tested defense handed you by the big banks, and their apologists: don’t indict me and my associates because we’d be out of business.
When I come back in my next life, I want to be a banker or a hotshot on Wall Street. Because it’s the kind of work where you can do anything you want, break any laws, never get punished and make a huge amount of money. And the best thing is: you make someone else pay for your fuck-ups. That is the upshot of the settlement reached today with the banks. Another day, another sham.
So, it’s easy to capture our predicament today–though you’d never get that from the transcribers of press releases (formerly known as “journalists”). Here is is neatly summed up: we’ve been robbed, only little fish are being held accountable for relatively small crimes and, even more to the point, in a political rhetorical world where shareholders are revered, the shareholders are being left to pay the bill.
Really, I can’t tell whether people who work at the major banks moonlight as comedy writers for The Daily Show, or they are so immune to public shame or punishment that they just don’t give a damn.