Monday, May 02, 2011

Bin Laden or Banksters?

Which do you think really threatened our country’s existence? I’ll concede the lack of moral equivalence. The banksters are not mass murderers. Thieves maybe, but not murderers.

But when you stand back and look at the impact, the differences are rather stark. I assume the banksters -- unlike Osama bin Laden -- are not trying to destroy America. I assume they’re smart enough not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Just as I also assume they are greedy enough that their collective actions might anyway.

If you have a better explanation (than greed) for their actions, I’ll listen. I don’t know of any other way to explain Mr. Paulson. $3.7 billion wasn’t enough for one year? He had to go and make $5 billion? I don’t believe one man’s greed can destroy America. But I believe our collective greed can.

I finally got to watch the film Inside Job yesterday. I highly recommend it. It puts a lot of things in perspective as only a film can.

But here’s the gist of it -- the obvious lesson that your average everyman can take away from all this -- supplied by (who else?) Professor Krugman in his column from today.

Springtime for Bankers

”So what’s the solution? The answer is regulation that limits the frequency and size of financial crises, combined with rules that let the government strike a good deal when bailouts become necessary.

Remember, from the 1930s until the 1980s the United States managed to avoid large bailouts of financial institutions. The modern era of bailouts only began in the Reagan years, when politicians started dismantling 1930s-vintage regulation.”

For almost 50 years, we kept this beast bottled up. We can do it again. It won’t be easy. Banksters will not go gentle into that good night. But go they should.

I cannot rejoice in the death of a man -- no matter how evil. No matter how necessary his death. I’ll jump up and down for joy if we kill off the banksters. Not the men themselves -- but the system that created and empowered them. Wall Street should be regulated.

Don Brown
May 2, 2011

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