Curtain Raiser

The Banks’ Bailout May Be Back, Colltalers

This week may be as good a time as any to endorse the cause of the Occupy Wall Street movement, if you haven’t already done it so, for it’s proved that, for Wall Street, the party never really stopped, even after having broken the system four years ago and driven the economy off the cliff.
JPMorgan’s admitted that it lost a staggering $2 billion over the past six months, trying to ‘protect’ their wealth in outrageous hedging operations. Are you glad they’ve been keeping watch over your own miserable savings too?
The point is, behind all the phony ‘mea-culpa’ and the ousting of high-level executives, we smell a rat. All this talk about the losses not having affected investors like you, sounds a lot like it did. And they may come on knocking again, to ask for another taxpayer handout.
This is the same bank that got six times this amount only four years ago, in the TARP bailout program, and has since increased its market value, and rewarded executives with rivers of cash, on the back of the worst U.S. economic depression since, well, the Great Depression.
Even before that, this is the same bank that should have been broken up along with all the other Wall Street firms that clearly gambled with impunity with an obscene amount of money that did not belong to them, and wound up breaking the whole system.
Most of the same executives, including the now dour-faced CEO Jamie Dimon, remain deeply encrusted in the 0.01% of the nation’s wealthiest individuals, even though no one could point, with a straight face, what on earth do they actually do to make that kind of dough.
Expect constriction and piety in their public statements, while backstage they’ll still continue investing heavily in undermining all financial regulation that would come close to prevent at least part of these losses.
The majority of the American people already know pretty well this bunch and, most likely, won’t get fooled again. Unfortunately, the majority of the American people is currently extremely busy picking up the pieces of an once thriving economy, and may not be paying attention to what comes next.
But the Obama administration has the moral obligation, if not a golden opportunity, to finally crash this party and enforce legislation with teeth, to bring these reckless hacks to justice.
Whether it will do it or not, it’ll very much depend on how society will react to this new shameless chapter. And let’s not allow another round of taxpayer money to be diverted to this industry, unless we all have a certified, bankable share of their profits, once they’re back at their old saddle.
Better yet, let’s break them all up in several smaller companies, under stricter regulation, with government (meaning, the American people) temporary ownership, and an across-the-board dismissal of hordes of top-tier executives, no compensation packages allowed.
Once out of their turf, let’s hand them to the court of law, to establish exactly who knew and did what and when did they do it and to whom. Just like it’d be to any of us, if we happened to be accused of stealing a loaf of bread from the local supermarket.
Have a great one. WC

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