Pretty Boy grabbed a log chain,
And the deputy grabbed his gun;
In the fight that followed
He laid that deputy down.
Then he took to the trees and timber
To live a life of shame;
Every crime in Oklahoma
Was added to his name.
But a many a starving farmer
The same old story told
How the outlaw paid their mortgage
And saved their little homes.
Others tell you ’bout a stranger
That come to beg a meal,
Underneath his napkin
Left a thousand dollar bill.
It was in Oklahoma City,
It was on a Christmas Day,
There was a whole car load of groceries
Come with a note to say:
”The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who’s Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.” ( Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone )
The rhetoric is compelling, earnest, heartfelt and well meaning. The intentions are noble. However, it is a myth that the incoming banking regulations will achieve much that is useful. This new version is an outgrowth of the desperate economic times of the 1930′s, coupled to the political advantages of layering in, padding, and embedding more and more government in the name of reform and fairness. But, in the awful hardships of the Great Depression, the accepted theory that is accepted as the Gospel as the cause of that calamity was large scale fraud in the securities markets. It may have existed, and is clearly, along with prostitution, one of the oldest arts, but it may not have been a significant cause. But it was and is useful , politically, to cover the flank by setting up the SEC at the time, and its new super-charged and more bloated version today. Back then, and the recent crash, over borrowing , followed by deflation and higher trade tariffs seem more significant as a catalyst to the morass than than securities fraud.
The recent senate hearings, the reform bill, manipulated public outcry, the Michael Moore good intentions paving company and so on, are all placebos and pacifiers, designed to bullet proof the political leaders against charges of being soft on sticky fingered speculators and wash-traders. In securities matters, as in many other spheres, government, if left unchecked, tends t o proliferate, like dust balls, and in any enforcement context the objective is always to have as much leeway as possible to annoy, harass, litigate, and sometimes seize and intimidate by executive fiat; there is always a need to bag a few trophies. The placebos seems to germinate into Frankenstein like creatures that compete for scalps while posturing before the media as proactive public defenders to the benefit of few. In the last debacle, the regulators in the U.K and U.S. had all the authority needed to avoid a crisis and encourage stability, they did not use it, but find themselves being rewarded by more powers to supplement the adequate means at their disposal. Its repressive and divisive, but plays to the peanut gallery of left wing reactionaries, that have no claim on moral superiority, just a plausible pretext for putting their sticky fingers into the till.