Monday, October 10, 2011

Whose Money Is It, Anyway?

Paul Krugman writes on some negative commentary about the Wall Street Occupation, and then points out the reason for it:
What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.

Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.

This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage. In fact, the more reasonable and moderate a critic sounds, the more urgently he or she must be demonized, hence the frantic sliming of Elizabeth Warren.

Here's the crucial point: There were reasons to bail out the banks when the financial markets collapsed. Some of those reasons were not worth of moral applause. For example, that some firms were "too big to fail" should have taught us something about how we should regulate those markets in the future: Don't let the behemoths swallow us all.

Still, I could see why the government bailed out the banks. HOWEVER, nobody ever advocated bailing out the very same banksters who caused the crash. But that is exactly what happened!

Add to that the hardly-any-strings-attached bit, and you can see why people are furious (if they are awake).

The banksters are still running those banks and the regulations we sorely need are not put into place because the banksters (who are in power!) don't want them! They want the government money, the same-old lawlessness and to be left alone, too.

Whatever the legal status of this arrangement, it is morally wrong. If those who lost their houses in the housing market collapse are getting their just desserts, what do you call what the banksters are getting?

The financial markets need proper regulation. That we are not getting it done tells me all I need to know who really is in power in this country.