Real financial reform was hamstrung under Dodd/Frank by behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing. Even that bill's modest reforms are being undercut by Republicans from Mitt Romney downward, who are determined to avoid even the pretense of regulating the nation's reckless and criminal bank enterprises.
The White House had yet to indict a single banker for the events leading up to the financial crisis, although billions have been paid out it settlement fees for criminal activity.
When you look at it in context, $150-200 million over three years is one of the best investments Wall Street has ever made.
The Federal Reserve rescues failed bank executives -- often breaking its own rules to do it -- and yet cites the same rules when it refuses to help other businesses, or individual consumers, in ways that would do much more to restore the economy. No wonder: The Fed's board includes many of the same bankers who broke the economy -- including Jamie Dimon.
Intransigent pro-bank regulators refuse to carry out their own agencies' mandates if it would discommode Wall Street.
And Administration officials meet routinely with double-dealing bankers like Lloyd Blankfein from Goldman Sachs, according to visitor logs, while rarely laying eyes on foreclosed homeowners or other ordinary citizens.
Some of the bank executives they meet with are their own colleagues. There are so many people moving from Wall Street jobs to high government positions -- and back again -- that our country's center of economic power now resides somewhere on the Amtrak route between New York and Washington. (I'm guessing Metropark, NJ.)
Some people have called for reasonable steps in the wake of this scandal: Tighten banking regulations. Strengthen the Volcker rule. Restore Glass-Steagall.
Each of these moves would be a start -- but they would only be a start. But the story of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase illustrates a far deeper, far more systemic problem. They highlight the broken and corrupt matrix of relationships between rich (and often lawbreaking) bankers, politicians and regulators in Washington, and supplicating figures in the national media.This is an opportunity to explain what's wrong with our system and pursue ways of fixing it. Let's seize the moment now -- before it's too late and they break the economy again.