As if one were needed, the news that JP Morgan Chase & Co. has been embroiled in yet another banking scandal is a reminder that the world of finance long ago hocked its cracked and dented moral compass to the pawnbroker.
Why are we not surprised that Obama has done nothing to break up the too-big-to-fail banks, the biggest now being Dimon's? Don't be fooled by the occasional fines; the banks have used the interest-free money to grow ever larger and more unaccountable in their behavior.
Fairness demands that we say it again: It may very well be that leadership team at JPMorgan Chase is shocked -- shocked! -- at all this criminality, and may simply lack the basic managerial skills needed to end it.
Community and smaller-to-mid-sized regional banks serve a variety of interests. They tend to favor the needs of local and mid-sized businesses or specific socio-economic communities who want a more personalized approach to banking.
Goldman Sachs is doing to aluminum exactly what Enron did to energy in the late 1990s and early 2000s: create phony bottlenecks to restrict supply to rip off consumers and skew markets in their favor for things society vitally needs.
Breaking up the biggest banks because they are perceived as "too big to fail" is unrealistic. What is needed, however, are improvements in the transparency and the accountability of governance in these institutions.
If this deadly dynamic isn't solved -- if the biggest banks aren't broken up, if the Department of Justice doesn't start prosecuting crime in the financial sector -- our country will in the not too distant future see a financial crisis far worse than in 2008.
The ghosts of the Enron Corporation are haunting us still, and they are a lot scarier than any horror movie ghosts because, unlike the Hollywood variety, these ghosts still have enough substance to cause an economic nightmare.
The appointment comes as no surprise because the agency typically draws regulators from the ranks of the regulated. But it does illustrate a significant problem: by relying so heavily on people with industry connections, the SEC can tangle itself in conflicts of interest.