Monday, June 25, 2012

Working out our Problems

Political Irony recently posted a couple of videos that are very informative about how our financial crisis could be fixed, and how the major banks and investment firms have become like the Mafia in their practices.

The second video is long, but worth the time for how it lays out the way in which firms like JP Morgan Chase is operating now and how it makes so much money by screwing over the People.

Over and over again, we have a discussion about what kind of oversight is required by Government. At this point, most sane people argue that there should be at least some oversight. The discussion is, what should be regulated, how they should be regulated, who should be overseeing them, and who should be held accountable for waste, fraud, and abuse? Democrats tend to advocate for stronger oversight and regulation, while Republicans believe in less government intrusion and more autonomous business. What these videos point out is that, not only does deregulation lead to riskier business practices, it also encourages banks to be destructive with their funds, since they have government backed security over their deposits. I've written about this little tidbit before.

The funny thing is, it makes perfect sense for businesses to act irresponsibly if it nets them huge profits and they don't have to worry about any consequences. This is not a problem that falls squarely on the shoulders of one party or another; it's an issue across the board. No matter who is in power, it seems as though investment and Wall Street powerhouses get the best deal while the rest of us pay for it. Look at the unemployment rate, still pretty high, and the housing market that is just now starting to come back, and you can see the kind of widespread devastation that comes from letting these firms run wild.

And after JPMC lost $2 Billion in a bad trade that they couldn't understand, Jamie Dimon the CEO gets a pat on the back from the Senate. Granted, he was pretty well beaten to a pulp by the House committee, but even then he was not sworn in, meaning he could say whatever he wanted without fear of legal recourse. It's mind-boggling to me that people who have clearly acted irresponsibly in the private sector are defended as a side effect to free markets, while those who act irresponsibly in the public sector are turned into political punching bags (think Eric Holder). In Holder's case, the F&F program resulted in the deaths of many, including a border patrol agent. In the case of Wall Street irresponsibility, we had a global recession, struggling recovery, and continued abuse in the markets. Are we willing to say that global financial catastrophe is an infinitely lesser crime than a stupidly planned and executed government operation? This may be comparing apples to oranges, but both were brought before Congressional panels, telling me that they at least have similar levels of importance.

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