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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 2/22/13

Wall Street's Misdeeds Cost Trillions, But It's Main Street Who's Getting Nickel-and-Dimed

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That means the report's filled with "he said/she said" counterpoint on even relatively non-controversial matters. But behind the "some experts believe" language is an inescapable conclusion: The 2008 crisis cost the U.S. economy in excess of $10 trillion, and possibly more than $13 trillion.

What's more, there's very little controversy about the fact that it will happen again. Even Jamie Dimon, the JPMorgan Chase CEO who has appointed himself to be the unapologetic face of Wall Street excess, agrees. He proudly told  a Congressional hearing that when his little daughter asked him "What's the financial crisis?" he answered "It's something that happens every five or seven years."

Recurring crises are part of their business model. And while every crisis won't all cost $10 trillion or $13 trillion, one will eventually come along that costs much more.

Hired Guns

Banks are deploying every possible argument to prevent that from happening. The latest is to ensure that bank-subservient Republicans block funding for any agency that's been tasked with monitoring bank activity.

Before we get to the Republicans, though, did you happen to see this story? "Former U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad has signed on with the national Campaign to Fix the Debt," it says.

"Fix the Debt" is a covert lobbying group for big banks, defense contractors, and individual billionaires. When it comes to corporate buyouts, members of both parties are available. Democrat Conrad spent years telegraphing his support for the corporate agenda.

As we like to say, "bipartisan" is a Washington code word for "buying members of both parties."

But, while some Democrats may be morally compromised, it now appears that the Republican Party has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wall Street. They're blocking the funds to implement the Dodd/Frank bill. That bill's reforms fall short of what's truly needed to end Wall Street's destructive rampage, but it's a step in the right direction -- which means that, for the GOP and its parent companies, it's a step too far.

Mad-Hatter Economics

You have to be pretty shameless to say something like this: "The Committee will seek to ensure that regulators carefully and transparently assess the costs and benefits of regulations called for by the Dodd-Frank Act in order to strike an appropriate balance between prudent regulation and economic growth."

That was Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling, echoing the right-wing line: Can't spend millions to protect us from losses in the trillions. Meanwhile the SEC is begging  for funds, as are the other agencies charged with implementing Dodd/Frank.

But the ultimate in tortured pro-bank logic is a bill called the "Financial Regulatory Responsibility Act," which has been floating around the Hill since its introduction in 2011. It would require regulators to prepare lengthy analyses of the cost of enacting new regulations, and then to submit their economists to a politicized interrogation before Congress.

This bill's just another tactic for delaying and obstructing urgently-needed reform, and the arguments wear thin before the sentences are even completed. "American job creators are under siege from the Dodd-Frank Act," said cosponsoring Senator Richard Shelby. "In their rush to expand the reach of government into our private markets, Congressional Democrats refused to consider the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on economic growth or job creation."

With 20 million jobs lost worldwide after the 2007/2008 crisis, this is hardly a strong argument for the defense. If these guys are such great "job creators," where are the jobs?

Pay Now and Pay Later

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Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

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