2 billion dollars! That sounds like a lot of money but this fine is nothing more than a slap on the wrist for the eight (so far) banks that are settling lawsuits for blatantly manipulating (allegedly) the $5.3 trillion foreign-exchange market.
It's time we seriously rethink how the finance industry actually serves society as a whole. Until now, the record against this industry and its inherent exploitative practices makes them much more a threat to the common good than a help.
It would seem to be a logical conclusion then, that bankers and occupiers are blood enemies. And, depending on whose camp you are in, anyone who serves to support one over the other is either a turncoat or a paid mouthpiece.
Germany's respected Handelsblatt, that country's parallel to the Wall Street Journal, recently devoted an entire section and a featured interview to the deliberate and ongoing crushing of American Michael Winston's finances and spirit by one of our country's largest banks.
I have always been attracted to rich, improbable candidates because they are often the tellers of inconvenient truths. The reason is simple. They have nothing to lose. They have no interest groups to offend.
Unlike Mitt Romney and his plutocratic financial backers, Barack Obama does this sort of thing only because he respects plutocrats, not because he is one. He won't gain financially by turning this nation into a banana republic.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon recently said that he felt safer in Lebanon than when Occupy marched past his house. If nothing else, it proves Wall Street bankers haven't gotten any better at risk management than when their bad bets crashed the economy and caused the Great Recession.
There is little doubt that the global financial crisis posed "unusual and exigent" circumstances that had to be met with a huge response by the Fed (and Treasury). It is not clear, however, that the response actually mounted was legal. It was certainly not transparent.
It's time for Wall Street to pay reparations for the financial collapse it caused. It's time for a crash tax, a tiny sales tax on Wall Street transactions, the revenues from which would pay for Main Street restoration.
It's not just about red states and blue states, it's not about public sector versus private sector workers, and it's not about any of the other propaganda that gets thrown around to divide Americans. It's about all of us.
While students in London spend hours in the cold protesting tuition fees, RBS, a bank that took a huge government bailout, throws a party commemorating Harry Potter. It'd be funny except it's exactly what just happened.