Too Many Bankers – Not Enough Guillotines
The people of Greece have spoken and said a lot and a little all at once. They may or may not be able to form a government but even if they do it won’t last long.
This is not going to turn out well for anybody. Everybody knows that Greece is never going to repay their debt. Ditto for the others, Spain and Italy the big ones. The austerity program insisted on by Germany is destroying the economies of Europe making it even less likely they could ever repay the debt. The technocrats of the Euro zone have proved to be incompetents with there heads in the sand or up the rear end of the bankers. These bailouts are not for the people of Greece, Spain etc they are bailouts for the big banks that made bad loans. The people know this and we see a rise in the popularity of both far left and far right parties. Civil unrest is increasing.
Meanwhile here in the US things are not much better. The banker/gamblers own our law makers. Chris Hayes:
JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon went before the Senate Banking Committee this week in what should have been a kind of ritual apology tour. Dimon has spent much of the last year and a half dismissing and belittling critics of Wall Street and harshly criticizing the major financial regulatory reform legislation that President Obama signed into law. The message has been: you guys in Washington don’t understand our business, so you should keep to yourself and let the professionals like us, the smartest guys in the room, do what we do best.
Which is why it was more than a little embarrassing for Dimon when it was revealed that a single unit of JP Morgan Chase, indeed a single trader in a division of the firm that Dimon personally oversaw, had somehow managed to lose about $3 billion and counting on a huge bet on credit derivatives.
As I pointed out here this hearing was basically a love fest. It was obvious the Senators fear Jamie Dimon.
This is the specter that haunts us after the spectacle of what I refer to in my book as “the fail decade.” The notion that we can’t simply trust our elites, the big decision-makers like Jamie Dimon, to actually run their institutions competently. And we know that if they screw up, we’re likely all screwed. Dimon opened his testimony by eating some crow, but what followed in the hearing was downright bizarre.
While Dimon was there to apologize, many of the senators– Republicans especially, but not exclusively– were there to apologize to him, to seek his wise counsel.
To me this entire hearing was a perfect microcosm of what I call the crisis of authority in American life. A nation whose pillar institutions are helmed by the “smartest guys in the room,” like Jamie Dimon, who’ve overseen a cascade of crisis, and yet face little to no sanction for it. Elites oddly blinded to the destruction they have caused.
And in their ceaseless attempts to discredit government, Republicans are only too happy to point out that It’s the same for the United States Congress, one of the only institutions in American life that garners less trust than Wall Street and as we’ve previously noted on this show, is even less popular with the US public than Paris Hilton and the prospect of the US going communist.
Rob Johnson, an economist, former hedge-fund trader and a man who once worked on the Senate Banking Committee, put it to me this way. “For years, the Right has worshiped markets and now they have reason to be skeptical,” he told me. “Meanwhile, the Left has romanticized government and now they have reason to be skeptical. So what you’ve got now is a society that is demoralized because they have nothing to believe in.”
Go to the link and watch the videos. I couldn’t get them to embed for some reason.