Mat Taibbi makes some suggestions. I added to them of course 🙂 I also changed the numbers just to confuse things.
- Break up the monopolies. The so-called “Too Big to Fail” financial companies – now sometimes called by the more accurate term “Systemically Dangerous Institutions” – are a direct threat to national security. (No Shit Sherlock.)
- They are above the law and above market consequence, making them more dangerous and unaccountable than a thousand mafias combined. There are about 20 such firms in America, and they need to be dismantled; a good start would be to repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and mandate the separation of insurance companies, investment banks and commercial banks.
- An additional point that needs to be added, is that no stockholder can be allowed to hold stocks, bonds, or other investment instruments of any sorts in more than one of any types of these. The penalty for doing so is a ten year penitentiary sentence in Club Fed, and a full forfeiture of the stocks involved.
- Pay for your own bailouts. A tax of 0.25 percent on all trades of stocks and bonds and a 0.25 percent tax on all trades of derivatives would generate enough revenue to pay us back for the bailouts, and still have plenty left over to fight the deficits the banks claim to be so worried about.
- It would also deter the endless chase for instant profits through computerized insider-trading schemes like High Frequency Trading, and force Wall Street to go back to the job it’s supposed to be doing, i.e., making sober investments in job-creating businesses and watching them grow.
- High Frequency Trading would be banned for use by any American owned institution, or its partially or fully owned subsidiaries, whether inside or outside the borders of the United States of America. No foreign owned corporation would be allowed to use HFT within the bounds of the United States.
- No public money for private lobbying. A company that receives a public bailout should not be allowed to use the taxpayer’s own money to lobby against him. You can either suck on the public teat or influence the next presidential race, but you can’t do both.
- Nor may corporate level staff contribute, i.e. those with titles which are corporate level, are not allowed to make contributions either, they are included in the political contribution ban.
- Tax hedge-fund gamblers. For starters, we need an immediate repeal of the preposterous and indefensible carried-interest tax break, which allows hedge-fund titans like Stevie Cohen and John Paulson to pay taxes of only 15 percent on their billions in gambling income, while ordinary Americans pay twice that for teaching kids and putting out fires. I defy any politician to stand up and defend that loophole during an election year.
- If they can’t get this done, the Americans should say, “Nice country we had here,”, and emigrate to Nigeria.
- Change the way bankers get paid. We need new laws preventing Wall Street executives from getting bonuses upfront for deals that might blow up in all of our faces later.
- It should be: You make a deal today, you get company stock you can redeem after the DEAL HAS CLOSED.
- If you don’t like that, and would prefer gambling, Las Vegas and Atlantic City still exist.
To quote the immortal political philosopher Matt Damon from Rounders, “The key to No Limit poker is to put a man to a decision for all his chips.” The only reason the Lloyd Blankfeins and Jamie Dimons of the world survive is that they’re never forced, by the media or anyone else, to put all their cards on the table.
Matt Taibbi is wrong here. The problem is that they playing with other people’s money. They have no responsibility for what happens to that money. If it all goes BOOM in a huge explosion, they don’t care. It wasn’t their money. They just go on playing.
If Occupy Wall Street can do that – if it can speak to the millions of people the banks have driven into foreclosure and joblessness – it has a chance to build a massive grassroots movement. All it has to do is light a match in the right place, and the overwhelming public support for real reform – not later, but right now – will be there in an instant.
I do agree with this though. If Occupy Wall Street can settle responsibility on the gamblers, and get the gamblers separated from the banks. it could do some wonderful things.
One last note. Most people think that the Canadian Banking system was some wonderful, stable, fantastic system that held up through the banking crisis.
You’d be half right. Just as the crisis was breaking, the Government of Canada had an application before it to allow our banks to engage in the same sort of risky behavior as the American banks.
I have in the past nicknamed the so-called Conservative Party of Canada the Corporatist Party. I wasn’t joking. This application was a slam dunk to be signed until the American melt down happened, making the dangers of deregulation abundantly clear to even a Corporatist Prime Minister (Say what you want about Stephen Harper – the man is not stupid).
Yes, the Canadian banking system is just as bad as the American banking system. Remember hearing all those wonder stories about how if all the world’s banking systems were run just like Canada’s there wouldn’t have been any problems?
Sorry. They are all fairy tales.
The only thing that works is to take the politicians, and to put their feet in the fire, and hold them there until they scream.
The practical way to do this is to get together with all of your friends, go out, and join the Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats, Republicans, or Democrats, and take over the local party organization. This is legal. How to you think that Barack Obama ended up as President or Stephen Harper ended up as Prime Minister?
Thursday October 13, 2011