Jim Hightower: Spinning failure into gold
What amazing alchemists Wall Street bankers are! They can turn failure into gold and reform into business as usual.
These sorcerers have pulled off both tricks right in front of us since their 2007 collapse. They turned that gross failure into an ongoing multitrillion-dollar bailout by us taxpayers to restore them to even-grosser profit levels. Then, while the public howled for lawmakers to shackle their greed, these bewitching bankers reached into their magic hat and pulled out the massive Dodd-Frank reform law that — hocus pocus — adds up to the status quo.
As a West Texas farmer once told me, status quo is Latin for "the mess we’re in."
Wall Street’s greatest deception is the claim that they’re brave risk takers who put their money into enterprises that create America’s economic growth.
Bovine excrement. One, as we’ve seen, they’re not investing in job-creating businesses — they’re frittering away America’s savings on ridiculous, get-rich-quick gambling schemes. Second, they’re not risking their money or that of their shareholders, but ours.
When we deposit money with Chase, Bank of America, etc., we make a practically-zero-interest loan to them that they take to global gambling tables. Of the $2.4 trillion held by JPMorgan Chase, for example, $2.2 trillion is borrowed from us. It’s our cash they’re risking. And when their convoluted gambles fail, as in 2007, everything collapses…and they’ll run to Washington again demanding a bailout.
So the reform that matters is to make them put, say, half of their own money into each roll of the dice, rather than piling 90 percent of each risk on our backs. But does the Dodd-Frank "reform" law do that? No — it allows these "too-big-to-fail" banks to stack 95 percent of their risks on us.
That is Wall Street’s dirtiest trick yet.
Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.