Since the Great Recession, Wall Street has made all of their money back and then some. Last week, main indices reached records highs. The conservative website Forbes detailed how good the past couple years have been for investors:
And it has been a boon for investors, as even the safest indices have yielded a 250% return (>25% annualized compound return)
And it hasn’t just been the last couple years; the stock market boomed after Glass-Steagall was repealed in 1999 – nearly doubling its price index in just a few years [A]. At the same time, hard working middle-class families have seen their wages stagnate even though worker productivity has more than doubled since 1964 [B].
Wall Street just set a new record, corporate profits are at an all-time high, and CEOs are making 231 times the average worker. Predatory lending, betting against your client, Libor and drug money laundering; these are just a few of the scandals multi-national banks are getting away with – and profiting on in the process.
Fortunately, Senator Elizabeth Warren is working to hold banks accountable:
“What we’ve seen… is one scandal after another in these largest financial institutions… It’s clear they have not changed their risk bearing practices nor have they decided that they’re suddenly going to start following the law.”
Back when corporations didn’t have the same rights as people, we held them – and their legally responsible parties – accountable. Not for revenge or to scapegoat an easily vilified industry, but because America was founded as a nation of laws… and the law necessitated action.
That’s no longer the case. What’ll get you locked up on Main Street will get you paid on Wall Street. And that’s the problem: why follow the law when you can simply pay the fine (if any) once the transgression is discovered (if ever) and make a nice profit in the process? You wouldn’t. I wouldn’t. They don’t.
The best part? So long as you’re too big to fail, you’re too big to prosecute: and no one has to go to jail. Case in point: while there have been zero arrests (or prosecutions) at large banks for any one of their myriad illegal activities, over 7,700 people have been arrested protesting those same banks.
Protesting. A right guaranteed by our constitution.
Apparently, some rights are just more important than others. You know, like the “corporate right” to dodge taxes by keeping their assets in murky offshore accounts.
A nation of laws? For the little guys. If you’re interested in helping us change that, you can LIKE us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and sign our petition calling on lawmakers to hold large financial institutions accountable.