Albert Einstein observed: "No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it."
Why is it then that as a country we continue to give extraordinary power to bring about change to people who created the very problems we need solved?
And here's a perfect example of that dysfunctional pattern of poorly placed trust. As we learned recently, Citigroup profits for the first three months of this year totaled $4.4 billion and Goldman Sachs pulled in $3.5 billion, JPMorgan Chase $3.3 billion and Bank of America $3.2 billion. Are these guys smart or what?
How could it not be a form of vile genius to get The Fed to hold short-term interest rates to less than one-half of a percent? And this while The Treasury Department is paying up to 4 percent on longer-term loans that banks make to the government. Simply put: If such observers as Barry Ritholz and Jim Hightower are right, we give via The Fed loans to banks at say a half-a-percent interest and the banks turn right around and lend that money to the Treasury Department (that's us again) at a much higher interest rate. The geniuses get a fat profit for zero risk while Americans lose their homes. That's not earned profit; it's simply welfare for Wall Street. Why should they bother getting involved in lending to regular people? They aren't crazy!
People who play this kind of game and win aren't about to change. And it is indeed a game to them. How long do we need to be confronted by this reality of the Wall Street rich getting richer -- with the help of such friends in Washington as Bernanke, Summers and Geithner, to name a few?
Sure, our government stands up some bankers in front of angry-looking senators, who themselves take industry money, in what amounts to no more than a let-them-think-we're-doing-something-to-stop-this carnival act. The bankers put up a little fuss and look perturbed. They must laugh all the way back to the bank.
It doesn't take an Einstein to see that the same people who brought us record home foreclosures only to reap the rewards of even more blockbuster bonuses aren't going to lift a finger to change things. Where's the incentive? That's right: there is none. And the guys running things for the feds know that after they finish working with President Obama they'll be back on Wall Street so the more favors they do now, the better for them later.
Until President Obama sends packing the geniuses whose mindset led us into an economic mess of epic proportions, how can we trust him? How can we not wonder about his judgment? How meaningful is "change" when the very people tasked with leading it are busy gaming our taxpayer money to line the pockets of their friends? This isn't the blind leading the blind. That would at least be somewhat forgivable. They know what they're doing, and we'd better get smarter quick. If we keep voting into office people who slide one by us at every opportunity, we're going to be more like Greece than was ever imaginable before "change" came our way.