The few times’s I won in army crap games, I felt a rush. Now I hear that making money triggers the same brain secretions that enslave crack, heroin and tobacco addicts. Making money can be addictive. The young occupiers of Zuccotti Park would never march by a crack house expecting its denizens to stop shooting up, and I’d be surprised if they expect any change in the behavior of lucre-addicted bankers. Maybe they hope to change the behavior of lobbiest-addicted politicians. Lotsa luck.
After the boom followed by the crash of 1929 followed by the Great Depression, Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Act to “save banks from themselves.” It separated savings and commercial banks, prohibited banks from investing for their own profit, owning other financial institutions, etc. Bankers hated it. Feeling withdrawal pangs, they tried to undermine Glass-Steagall. No luck while memories of the Great Depression hung on, then World War 2, then post-war action to keep them busy. But in 1980 they got Congress to pass the Deregulation and Monetary Control Act, and in 1999, Gramm–Leach–Bliley surfed in on a wave of phoney money-powered anti-regulation fever.
Free to make money any which way, banks and their fetid number-crunching money-mad MBA nerds went berserk with booby-trapped mortgages, credit default swaps (like taking out life insurance on someone knowing that a hit man is stalking him), and the “securitization” of home mortgages. Does anyone other than the “quants” who dreamed it up, comprehend it? These “securities,” grotesquely mis-labeled triple-A by bought-and-paid-for rating agencies, brought the whole house of cards crashing down in 2008, just after Republican presidential
hopeful, John McCain, blandly announced that, “The U.S. economy is basically sound.”
Barack Obama was left with the nasty job of cleaning up, but banks wanted no part of it, so set their political apparatchiks to work thwarting every fix except their own bailout, after which they awarded themselves fat bonuses. And now they snidely blame Obama because he hasn’t yet managed to muck out the deep doo-doo they left behind.
If I were an ET observing Earth from Outer Space, I’d keep an eye on the Tea Party. Should it steal the White House in the next election, the resulting economic demolition derby will be a better show than anything put on by Christians and lions in the Roman Coliseum.