greatest eras of financial fraud, we need Douglas's ill-tempered attitude today. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Golden Era of White Collar Crime." Pecora quotes are from Michael Perino, "The Hellhound of Wall Street: How Ferdinand Pecora's Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance," 2010. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.
The bare-knuckle brawlers of the New Deal stand in stark contrast to the corporate marionettes that govern us today. Everywhere we look, we see politicians stumbling over themselves to punish the middle-class and poor, in service to their wealthy backers (and, no doubt, in service to their own wallets). President Obama failed to back the public option during health care reform; his Justice Department has refused to aggressively prosecute white collar crime; his education department holds the desires of abusive & incompetent debt collectors over the rights of student loan borrowers; and he has helped craft the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement by consulting Corporate America but keeping it secret from the American Public. Hillary Clinton, our likely next president, voted to make bankruptcy relief more difficult for struggling Americans; doesn't want to reinstate Glass-Steagall to rein in fraudulent banks; hesitates on the idea of expanding Social Security (even as the super-wealthy keep adding tens, even hundreds of billions of dollars to their personal wealth every year); and is receiving more Wall Street campaign cash than any other candidate (even as her campaign says she's going to hold Wall Street "accountable" - unbelievable).
As for Republican & Tea Party politicians, well, they're even more deranged than usual. Ben Carson wants to raise taxes on the middle-class and poor so he can lower them for the wealthy; Donald Trump thinks American workers make too much money, even though wages have been stagnant for decades and the middle-class is shrinking; Marco Rubio worships at the alter of the democracy-destroying Koch brothers; and Ted Cruz has to be about the most smarmy politician in U.S. history - and also a millionaire married to a Goldman Sachs manager (just for fun, see "Goldman Sachs Pays $272M to Settle Suit Over [Fraudulent] Mortgage-Backed Securities," "Goldman Pays $550 Million to Settle Fraud Case," and "Goldman Sachs Among the Banks Probed for 'Treasury-Rigging'"). As if all this were not bad enough, the Republican National Committee is trying to protect illegal tax evasion for the super-wealthy, in a brazen quid pro quo effort to get campaign contributions. Further, Republicans in Congress have tried to use the Highway Bill to extort us into giving favors to Wall Street - saying, in effect, "We'll give you infrastructure, if you're willing to be defrauded and victimized." (And they're currently working on legislation to make corporate crime harder to prosecute.)
And not only do Republican & Tea Party politicians cater to people who commit crime & fraud, they also have the gall to make insinuations of laziness to the very people harmed by those corporate fraudsters & criminals, even calling the victims "wild animals" and "lazy pigs." Imagine losing your job, let's say a construction job, because the housing market crashed--a crash caused, in part, by Wall Street's massive and wide-scale mortgage & securities fraud--and then listening to right-wing politicians & pundits telling you what a lazy s.o.b. you must be for not having a job - and then also telling you that your unemployment and food assistance should be taken away because, well, "you're a damn moocher!"
It is clear that we've descended into a pit of corporate greed, corruption, and crime - and that many politicians are looking the other way, or even endorsing it, in exchange for campaign cash. I think we desperately need some New Deal bare-knuckle brawlers to knock the crap out of Wall Street and their political marionettes. We need some justice, we need some financial law & order, and we need some democracy.