By Nomi Prins, AlterNet -- posted on December 28, 2009,
Congress is talking "sweeping reform" -- about a bill that leaves the banking landscape intact, save for some minor alterations. For starters, it doesn't resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which separated risk-taking investment banks from traditional (government-supported with FDIC) commercial banks.
Meanwhile, Wall Street is restructuring old toxic assets into new ones, finding fresh ways to profit from derivatives trading, and paying itself record bonuses -- on our dime. Despite recent TARP payback enthusiasm, the industry still floats on trillions of dollars of non-TARP subsidies . . when certain players wouldn't even exist today without our help.
Wall Street's return to robustness and Main Street's continued deterioration are the main developments in 2009 that stemmed from the 2008 choices to flood the financial system with capital while leaving the real economy to fend for itself.
Top 10 Wall Street lies
1) The economy has improved.
In truth, the number of Americans filing for initial unemployment insurance rose during the second week of December. After all the temporary holiday hires, that number will probably increase again. Plus, unemployment rates in 372 metropolitan areas are higher than they were last year.