Second of all, I understand bupkis about the machinations of the financial industry. But that's the whole point, right? The bankster class, with its credit default swaps, proprietary trading, tranches and myriad arcana, likes it that way. The public has no idea what they're doing. Of course, the bankers probably don't either. But they possess things the non-psychopathic segment of the population does not: greed without guilt, reckless risk-taking, a grandiose sense of entitlement, government welfare in the form of endless no-interest loans from the taxpayer-funded Fed which they then relend to the public for their private profit .... And better still, little to no government regulations reining them in. And best of all, the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington that ensures that bankers will continue to own and control the entire country. And bestest of all, either no new laws criminalizing their bad behavior, or no enforcement of the laws already on the books.
For everybody else wondering why we should be mad at Jamie Dimon and his banking behemoth, here is an "Explainer" from Heidi Moore.
In his column today Paul Krugman calls for more banking regulations, while of course expecting no such thing to actually happen. Banker wankers have big egos and tiny memories and little to no capacity for self-reflection:
What did JPMorgan actually do? As far as we can tell, it used the market for derivatives — complex financial instruments — to make a huge bet on the safety of corporate debt, something like the bets that the insurer A.I.G. made on housing debt a few years ago. The key point is not that the bet went bad; it is that institutions playing a key role in the financial system have no business making such bets, least of all when those institutions are backed by taxpayer guarantees.
For the moment Mr. Dimon seems chastened, even admitting that maybe the proponents of stronger regulation have a point. It probably won’t last; I expect Wall Street to be back to its usual arrogance within weeks if not days.Yeah, and don't expect the Obama Administration to suddenly jump up and demand reform either. This was my comment in response to Krugman:
Last month, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner cavalierly announced in a speech that "you can't legislate away stupidity and greed and risk-taking and recklessness."
Well, actually you can. And the outrageous fact is that nobody in a position of responsibility even tried to untangle the devil knot that binds the mega-banks and government together.
I was actually pretty surprised to learn that Dimon is not only chief of his bank, he's also a chairman at the N.Y. Fed. How did that even happen? The foxes are guarding henhouses every place you look. They continue to steal our eggs with impunity. No new laws, no prosecutions, barely a few slaps on a few plutocratic wrists. No banker left behind.
The revolving doors between Washington and Wall Street continue to spin. They need to be slammed shut, pronto. Three years ago, people were too stunned to realize what was going on when the economy crashed all around them and they lost everything. Now, thanks to a plethora of books and articles and documentaries and the Occupy movement, the public is all too aware of the stupidity, greed, risk-taking and corruption.
Forget the watered-down, delayed, and defanged Dodd-Frank Act. As others have suggested, it's long past time to bring back Glass-Steagall. It worked for half a century once, it can work for another half a century again.
Just to clarify, Dimon is a director of the Class A board at the New York Fed, and the chairman and CEO of the bank itself. I had initially misread the N.Y. Fed listings and mixed up his various titles. But in any case, it essentially makes for a triple conflict of interest. (h/t to reader Bilal, who shared the above linked chart explaining the hierarchy.) Dimon serves in an advisory capacity at the Fed, elected by and representing his fellow bankers only. But make no mistake -- he wields an extraordinary amount of influence in the economic and government sectors. Elizabeth Warren wants him gone now. As far as I can tell, she is the only politician calling for his head. Or even for just a portion of his head. That speaks volumes on how soon we're going to see a stampede of politicians champing at the bit to reinstate Glass-Steagall.