New York City boasts some of the cruelest bullies in the country. There are the pimps of Harlem whose business is to degrade and defile desperate women, the thugs in the Bronx who terrorize children and the elderly, and, of course, there are bankers and traders on Wall Street, a mob of bullies so loathsome that they claim a street of their own. These “fat cats” lie, con, scam and steal from the middle class, shaking them for their lunch money and their 401(k) too. Perhaps the most sinister component of the Wall Street bullies’ practices is that it is completely legal. Wall Street bullies patrol their turf in broad daylight, wearing Armani suits and cufflinks to match and the most talented of these immoral villains are invited to gangs like Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and AIG. These gangs sold short on American prosperity during the credit crunch, betting on our own failure, and we, the taxpayer, financed their destructive wager.
Well, this week, a couple of geeks from the Democratic Party have said, “Enough, it is time for financial reform.” A new bill, pioneered by Senator Chris Dodd, promises to end taxpayer bailouts of these groups forever. The bill ensures that in the future, any time one of these thugs needs some quick cash (a million-dollar bonus), honest taxpayers aren’t the ones emptying their pockets.
The bill creates a strong consumer financial protection agency that is accountable to Congress and the public. The agency will ensure that the irresponsible derivative trading that was largely responsible for the economy’s collapse in 2008 will be held to new standards of transparency. These officials are tasked with monitoring not only the bullies at banks but also the bullies who work in tandem with the banks, manipulators of small print who rip us off with unfair deals as payday lenders, car financiers, debt collectors and credit issuers. Furthermore, the bill addresses consumer irresponsibility by simplifying federal mortgage forms that confused many people into taking on mortgages they could not afford before the sub prime crisis. Educated and empowered consumers will be able to avoid corporate bullying and make smarter financial choices for themselves.
Obama and the Democrats have caught on; as long as they have a legal avenue through which they can pursue their boundless self interest, no amount of pleading will convince the Wall Street bullies to stop pilfering our piggy banks. That is why it was such a brilliant show of theatrics last Monday when President Obama contemptuously played the naïve victim one last time, sardonically beseeching Wall Street bullies in the financial district “to join us, instead of fighting us” in this effort for reform. The reform bill is not perfect as it still leaves intact “too big to fail” banks. However, the little guy has finally stopped his desperate pleading and started standing up to the domineering powers that own and control our government.