This is a synopsis of an article that recently appeared at the Daily Kos.
In their December 30th issue, the mainstream German magazine Der Spiegel says banksters committed nothing short of a monumental insider bank robbery, which is responsible for America's growing numbers of poor and hungry. The magazine's vast number of readers throughout the European Union agree.
Der Spiegel's article also tells us that Americans seem to have a very short memory. Barely two years after the market crashed, Wall Street is in the process of creating a second crash by speculating just as recklessly as before. The article suggests this is probably happening because there were no criminal prosecutions the first time around.
In response to which we must wonder: How many more times are we going to have to bail out Wall Street? How much longer do the bread lines have to get, how many more millions have to lose their homes? Isn't 59 million Americans without medical insurance enough, or must there be more? The new Republican majority in the House of Representatives seems to think we must continue adding to that number (so as to increase, ever more, the lavish campaign funding Republicans receive from their insurance-industry and finance-industry benefactors and owners).
Just how much punishment and suffering will Americans endure before they summon the courage to demand a Main-Street, European-style social safety net? Opinion polls show that a large majority of Americans want such a safety net; so why don't they demand it from their political representatives?
Perhaps it has something to do with America's plutocrat-owned media. So let's hop the Atlantic and take a look at Der Spiegel's series of articles on the American empire in decline, the last installment of which appeared December 30th, 2010. Unlike anything you will read in America's plutocrat-owned media, the chorus from the European mainstream press, which Der Spiegel represents, comes close to calling for the criminal prosecution of the Wall Street banksters.
A quote from the article:
"Pam Brown used to work as an executive secretary on Wall Street with an annual salary of $80,000. Then the financial crisis robbed her of her job. Since the beginning of 2009 she has been unemployed. She fell through the US social safety net which is full of holes -- through it right to the very edge of poverty itself, and only through luck was she able to avoid homelessness.
Nobody really cared about her. She was passed from one welfare office to another, only to be turned down by social workers, one after another. Her story of suffering didn't fit into the success story of Wall Street, which in 2010 slowly recovered from the crisis of the century.
Meanwhile, for untold millions of Americans, the year 2010 unexpectedly became the year of growing poverty. For a large majority of Americans, hourly wages have been shrinking for years (as the rich siphon off virtually all the benefits from the nation's strong worker-productivity growth), and last year was particularly bad -" for most Americans, the ones who are taking the brunt of the beating.
And so the question arises: Are Pam Brown and the millions of American taxpayers like her all across America the victims of a Wall Street criminal conspiracy?
To begin to answer that question, we must first pose several others:
- Who benefits from the weak American social safety net?
- Who profited from the taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailout?
- Why is the American criminal justice system sitting on its hands and doing nothing about what Der Spiegel correctly characterizes as a "monumental insider bank robbery"?
Instead of criminally prosecuting the masterminds of this conspiracy to defraud the American working class taxpayers and investors, our "Justice" Department targets defendants that may best be characterized as "Bernie Madoff-wannabe small fish." These small fish are substituted for the big fish because the big fish are too big to go after. Why too big? Because they essentially own America's government. (For students of literature, all this is reminiscent of German playwright Bertolt Brecht in his Three Penny Opera wherein the robbers buy a bank because they can make more money as embezzlers and con-artist fraudsters working from within the bank.)
As the Der Spiegel article states, the stockbrokers are celebrating the end of the crisis. And now as the crisis is beginning to repeat itself, the banks are behaving just as recklessly in their speculation as they were before the crash. The last 2 years were nothing more than a monumental insider bank robbery, which has long since been forgotten by most Americans, who are much more interested is sports and shopping than politics and economics. For these folks, the system is hopelessly corrupt, and so they figure, "Why bother worrying about it? There's nothing I can do to correct the situation." And perhaps they're right about the total corruption part, for not a single defendant from senior banking management was criminally charged. Instead, it seems, the US Department of Justice would rather pursue the many small-fish swindlers whose unbridled avarice qualified them as mini-BernieMadoffs. Why the small fish and not the well connected banksters? The small fish are much less risky; the small fish don't own the government.
The subtext of the Spiegel article is that there is a moral emptiness in America's political-economic establishment, and for that reason among others, the country has the weakest social safety net of any major industrialized country in the world.
Consider these tragic examples of that same moral emptiness: