Lessons Not So Learned: A 2008 Redux?

Let’s turn back the clock to that very special time in 2008 when the economy nearly collapsed. What lovely memories. Lehmann Brothers, AIG, Skank of America, and ShittyBank almost succeeded in making the dollar as valuable as pinkish Monopoly money. People were freaking out. Wall Street was freaking out. Congress was freaking out. It was a total freak fest.

Now, let’s get back in the DeLorean and program the time machine to 2012. Wall Street is no longer freaking out. They’re having a pretty good time of it. Congress is no longer freaking out. They’re too busy playing politics for the November elections. Lastly, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission aren’t freaking out either. In fact, they’re making it easier for the Street to muck everything up again. This past Wednesday, they acted to ease restrictions on companies looking to hedge bets against price volatility. The SEC and CFTC essentially gave the Dodd-Frank Act the middle finger. And that’s a big FU to you, as well.

To put this in proper context, imagine you screwed up royally at work. You misplaced a $100,000 check on the way to the bank. Upon finding this out, do you think your boss would ever let you know corporate accounts again? Actually, do you think you’d still have a job?

The difference between your hypothetical situation and the very real near collapse of the financial system is accountability. In the aforementioned lost check scenario, you were held accountable. You were canned, given the heave-ho. Where is the accountability on Wall Street? Why are rules implemented to keep The Street in line kicked to the curb at the whim of a fat cat lobbyist?

The inability or, more to the point, unwillingness to control Wall Street is a bipartisan issue. The Democrats are just as responsible for giving the Street a pass as the GOP. And it’s moments like this that really serve to blur the political lines. It makes it hard to distinguish between the two men vying for a seat in the Oval Office.