"We need a jailout, not just a bailout"
NOW THAT HEALTH CARE IS "DONE," IT'S TIME FOR FINANCIAL REFORM WITH A FOCUS ON FRAUD AND CRIME IN THE SUITES
By Danny Schechter
Author of The Crime Of Our Time
In Britain, the police are raiding Hedge Funds to bust insider traders. In America, the Hedge Funds are still raiding us, even as public opinion calls for a crackdown on Wall Street. One recent poll, in a nation that seems so divided on everything, showed 82% for aggressive action. 82%!
A new Bloomberg survey says the public wants the government to punish the financial fraudsters. "57 percent of Americans have a mostly unfavorable or very unfavorable view of Wall Street, versus fewer than one-quarter who have a favorable opinion. Banks are viewed badly by 54 percent of poll respondents, and 60 percent have a negative opinion of insurance companies."
In a sense, reformers have won the fight of public opinion, but the financial reform battle promises to be even tougher than the health care fight.
The public is just not as informed about complicated financial issues. Their eyes glaze over with all the talk of derivatives and credit default swaps. Those favoring needed reforms still don't offer a popularly understood narrative based on morality as well as insider economic analysis. Few commentators outside the business press are talking about it.
This is why I made a new film Plunder, The Crime of Our Time investigating the crisis as a crime story. Because that's what it is!
The Banks do understand the scale of the problem and the depths of anger by their customers. As a result, they are upping their touchy-feeling TV ads and fielding the biggest army of lobbyists in history to confuse, complicate, contain and, where possible cancel proposed reforms. It was reported that there were 6-8 lobbyists for each Member of Congress working against health care reform. On bank reform issues, it's 25-1. Banks have the money and target it on politicians as a prudent investment to foster a climate that will allow them to make even more.
So far, the coalition for financial reform is not as large or organized as the movements championing health care reform. The AFL-CIO has resorted to guerilla theater, not guerilla warfare, a la the Tea Partiers. Most informed observers, to quote a Bidenism, know this issue is the real big F**k'in deal.
Even as more financial scandals surface, there is far too little follow up, not to mention investigations and denunciations. One report on Sify.com reveals, "since the financial crisis erupted in 2008, the FBI's 1,000-agent New York office has tripled its mortgage fraud investigations squad and beefed up its securities and financial fraud group.
"The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center says it received 336,655 fraud complaints last year related to financial losses of $560 million, double the dollar amount reported the year before."
Progressives don't seem to appreciate the scale of this problem or how it could be turned into THE issue to organize around. In contrast, the right just wants to ignore it because it believes the private sector can do no wrong.