Wall Street, the too-big-to-fail-banks, and the financial industry control our lives for the worse.
How did this come to pass?
From the New Deal up until the 80’s finance was heavily regulated, staid, boring even. Finance was also a valued member of a productive economy that properly allocated capital to manufacturing and service industries that provided goods and services.
Those were the good old days.
Since Reagan, Wall Street and the financial industry have escaped their regulatory purgatory through the valiant efforts of neoliberal intellectuals and massive campaign contributions delivered to our elected officials.
Economist Michael Hudson wrote a book entitled Killing the Host, where he well described the present-day financial industry as a parasite feeding on a host.
Guess who the host is?
That’s right, Wall Street and the financial industry are feeding on us. In the process, these people and their all-powerful institutions have made our lives infinitely more difficult.
Are you working your ass-off to get out of poverty, or having to perform for a boss you hate and a corporation you loathe to somehow cling to your middle-class status? Are you a senior who’s income has declined precipitously since the Fed initiated its zero interest policy? Do you owe the payday loan operator more money than you will ever see in addition to your first born child?
Much of the economic suffering and rank injustice of our present situation can be blamed on the banks as well as their enabler–the Federal Reserve.
Wait, I thought the Fed was a government institution that works for us? In reality the Fed is controlled by the banks, and is both irredeemably corrupt and anti-democratic, as well as a blunt tool of the wealthy Americans who own the banks.
That the banks and financial interests have done immense evil should not be in doubt. Just like a parasite, or vampire, the US banking system is draining our wealth and limiting our freedoms and prospects for a brighter future.
For example: there is a severe crisis of homelessness in my city, with numerous public meetings between the mayor and city council, as well as acrimonious exchanges with citizens concerned over placement of homeless shelters. Nowhere in this narrative of homelessness and search for solutions is there any recognition of the 2 to 3 million Americans who lost their homes after the Wall Street crash due to financial industry greed.
When President Obama ran for the Presidential election in 2008, he promised to hold the banks responsible while allowing American homeowners to write down mortgage debts.
We all know how that turned out.
According to Michael Hudson: “The banks were saved, not the economy. Tim Geithner, who was a protégé of Robert Rubin, was moved on behalf of Citibank into the Treasury, and he bailed out the banks – leaving all the debts in place, not writing them down. Banks stopped lending mortgage money, and began to call in their credit card loans by about 100 billion dollars, from one trillion to about 900 trillion. Mortgages were not written off, so homeowners had to pay so much money to pay off the debts that had been built up during the bubble economy that they didn’t have enough income left to buy goods and services.”
Indeed, our country has been overtaken by a culture of greed, driven by the financialization of our economy.
Going forward we need to eliminate the idea that democracy is equated with capitalism, a system that’s driven almost exclusively by financial interests. Neoliberalism created a a global trade system for capital. This allowed capital to abandon American manufacturing locals for Third-World hell-holes where labor is pennies on the dollar and environmental regulations nonexistent.
That the American working and middle class was allowed to sink into despair was hand-waved away as no big deal.
And now, with the election of Trump, the crisis caused by financial neoliberalism has been exposed for all to see. The serious problems we are facing–like global warming and labor exclusion–are now reaching acute proportions, exacerbated by financialization and neoliberal globalization.
A parasite injects poison to anesthetize the host while feeding. Perhaps the corporate media in collaboration with the financial industry anesthetizes us to our grim future?
In America, it’s good to be evil, and damn sure easy.
To be continued…