As I read the article below I can only wonder what forces of fundraising and deference stopped our national leaders from "taking the hide off" of Wall Street's leaders after they did a multi-trillion dollar "financial spill" onto the world economy in 2008. Instead, they tiptoed to this very moment to avoid strong legislative reform and looked helpless amidst a monster bonus pool sent to the bailout beneficiaries. We were all told we were too rash, or that we could not let Wall Street collapse or they would take us down with them. We were scolded by JPM's CEO Jamie Dimon, for trying to vilify finance. Dimon is a man who has been applauded in the mainstream media as "winning the crisis," whatever that means when the rest of us who lost trillions, homes, jobs and more.
In my book, we had reckless spillovers in finance that are the perfect analogue to these awful oil spills. A 40 percent climb in the debt/GDP ratio, massive unemployment around the world and all of the tangible damage that financial sector sycophants want to pretend "just happened" and it was no one's fault. Yes, is was someone's fault and those someones should have suffered the dilution of their stockholdings, writedown of their credit, firing of management, bonus curtailment and clawbacks, thorough examination and recapitalization, and yes, some vilification that is more than warranted.
It is good to see they are responding to the oil mess on Capitol Hill. Maybe our elected representatives can muster the courage to take on finance next time. After all, Mr. Dimon told his daughter that we should expect crises like 2008 every 5 to 7 years. While watching the justifiable BP bashing, one can clearly feel how the pandering to finance has an oily feel. Slick operators on Capitol Hill will never live down a second obsequious performance. Or will they?
From Anderson Coooper's AC360 blog, "Democrat: Lawmakers going to take Hayward's 'hide off'":
Democratic lawmakers will try to build the case of a corporate culture which chose riskier, cheaper methods over safety concerns as they grill BP CEO Tony Hayward on Capitol Hill Thursday.
"Members are angry. Members are frustrated," Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, told CNN's Dana Bash. "They're going to take his hide off, as they should."
Stupak, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, outlined evidence his committee has put together from thousands of pages of internal BP documents.
Read the full article here.
Rob Johnson is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Project on Global Finance at the Roosevelt Institute.