The Fog of Financial Misconduct
If the nation’s most powerful men and women won’t call Wall Street to account for its misdeeds — who will?
Maybe its least powerful.
After all, it was Rosa Parks, a then-42 year old seamstress, who helped ignite the civil rights movement in 1955 when she refused to give up her bus seat riding to work in segregationist Montgomery, Alabama.
Maybe some beleaguered senior citizen, who’s earning 0% interest on their retirement savings, and is “underwater” on the home they’ve lived in for 30 years, will do something to galvanize the nation’s attention.
But what, exactly?
Therein lies the problem.
Unlike racial prejudice, financial misconduct — even on the massive, grotesque scale just witnessed — is conceptually fuzzy (“collateralized debt what???”).
Joe and Jane Taxpayer know they’ve been ripped off, but exactly how — and by whom — is much murkier.
That’s why there is such an outcry when Detroit CEO’s take their private planes to testify before Congress, or AIG exec’s spend hundreds of thousands on a deluxe corporate retreat days after being bailed out.
Those actions can be understood.
But funnel trillions to Wall Street, through all kinds of arcane bailouts, guaranties, and “cheap” (free, really) monetary policy?
“Pass the chips, please.”