So far, one group has been fairly quiet, if the point is to address the undue political clout and financial power -- to say nothing of economic risk -- now manifest in our leading banks. It is the voice of the American banker.
The time has come for an intelligent, independently-governed, public infrastructure bank, ideally partnering with real banks that see their public purpose as a profession, focused on productive lending in the real economy.
In the spring of 2007, the Fed reported that the degree of leverage in the global financial system was less than at the time of Long Term Capital Management, but in reality it was much greater. Global regulators are now repeating their mistakes.
When I was growing up there was shame. Shame is defined as, "a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior." But this feeling seems to have disappeared from the way we do business in this country.
Nearly three years after the public bailed out Wall Street, ordinary working people are still waiting for the tiniest slice of the spoils, while the people who are getting the biggest share -- the executives -- are left free to gamble for profits.
People interviewed in Inside Job claim that finance professionals deserve their money. But can someone rationally argue that someone earning $30 million/year works 1,000 times harder than someone earning $30,000/year?
In the compromised state of our political system, individuals like Larry Summers and Lee Sachs are ascendant and corporations secure legislation on the strength of powerful friends and bottomless pockets.