Sometimes finance executives let slip the way they really feel: that they hold the world in the palm of their hands.
It's not often that the people in charge admit what is really going on: a global game for political dominance. I just saw an interview with Wall Street superlawyer Rodge Cohen, the secret force behind (among other things) the expanded emergency lending power of the Federal Reserve through section 13(3). You know, that's the law allowing the Fed to lend unlimited sums based on whatever it wants to lend, a section amended in 1991 at Cohen's behest. He was involved in "more than 17 deals" during the crisis in 2008, including the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the $85 billion AIG bailout deal, and the takeover of Fannie Mae by the federal government. He is, as Bill Black said, the fixer of Wall Street. Here's his quote, at minute 3:39 of this Bloomberg interview:
Hopefully we will not see the major financial institutions in this country disappear because if we do we will also see a loss of ability to influence events not only financially but also politically throughout the world.
That's pretty clear. It reminds me of this quote from an anonymous military officer while he was touring JP Morgan's trading floor (emphasis added):
JPMorgan Chase yesterday hosted about 30 active duty military officers (across all branches and agencies) from the Marine Corps War College in Quantico, Va. The officers met with senior executives, toured the trading floor and participated in a trading simulation. They discussed recruitment, operations management, strategic communications and the economy. Aside from employees thanking them for their service as they passed by, they also received a standing ovation on the trading floor. Said one officer after a senior JPM exec thanked him for his service: “We promise to keep you safe if you keep this country strong.”
There are always conspiracy theories out there about a global linkage between large financial institutions and American empire. They don't, however, usually come from the people running the place.
Matt Stoller is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and former Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Alan Grayson.