Obama met with banking industry 'titans,' as the Washington Post calls them.
Instead of handcuffing them and bringing them up on charges of fraud and racketeering, however, Obama asked the bankers politely to try to restrain themselves from spending their ill-gotten gains so conspicuously (isn't that what the ring leader always tells the others after a heist in the movies)?
The president held himself up as an example, saying that he had not yet renovated the Oval Office and was still using George W. Bush's furniture, even noting the stains on the carpet. He urged the banks to show comparable "constraint and responsibility," adding that the nation had undergone a cultural shift.
So let me get this straight. Banking elite, and other government insiders, defrauded savings accounts, pension funds, charitable funds and municipal funds here and around the globe by trading in worthless financial instruments; they manipulated markets and destroyed legitimate businesses along the way; and THEN, when that wasn't enough, they plundered the public purse in the chaos and panic surrounding the crash that they themselves caused.
And the President asks them to kindly refrain from buying new carpet?
These people are not titans. These people are racketeers. And should be treated accordingly. Or at the very least, not be invited to sit in on privileged government meetings determining bailout policy that they then profit from!
Webster's definition of 'titan': "one that stands out for greatness of achievement"
Webster's definition of 'racketeer': "one who obtains money by an illegal enterprise usually involving intimidation"
Goldman Sachs Hank Paulson threatened the taxpayer with a market meltdown if we didn't give bankers $700 billion. And $180 billion to AIG. And $5 trillion to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And, what is it? $3 trillion now on the Fed balance sheet? And every step along the way, we were told if they didn't take this money from us, everything would crash.
Of course, this state of racketeering continues because the same racketeers have taken control of our government as reported in The Atlantic:
The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government--a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises.
And in his experience in emerging economy crises the former IMF economist, Simon Johnson, found that most crises were brought about by the same sort of corrupt insider risk taking and moral hazard that happened in the US under the 'Greenspan put'. The crash, however, would turn into a full scale sovereign meltdown because the politicians refused to "squeeze" the oligarchs.
. .. at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or--here's a classic Kremlin bailout technique--the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk--at least until the riots grow too large.
President Obama. Step away from the Goldman Sachs banker and smell the Revolution brewing! People are angry. "Squeeze" the oligarchs.
My suggestion: RICO