Protection money is everywhere in society – but nowhere greater than in the relationship of Wall Street and Washington. And it all has to do with “asymmetrical payments”. For Wall Street bankers and investment houses, being able to dictate the Rule of Financial Law is priceless. Thus, just six large Wall Street banks are willing to spend over $100 billion in legal costs and fines to stave off further banking controls and thwart any downstream civil legal suits because they have managed to achieve “no admission of guilt” agreements with government regulatory agencies on almost every case regarding the Financial Crisis and their own continuing Financial Malpractices. .
In addition, the Financial sector is willing to pay 50% more than any other lobby group at $300M in total campaign contributions to continue to shape Federal financial policy.
Consider that Banking industry profits are running at $120B annually, the banking legal and fine costs are running at about $25B annually while the cost of buying political influence is only $0.300B annually. But for Senators or Congressmen a $100K to $1Million political contribution is invaluable. Hence the asymmetrical payments – Wall Street has nearly 5 times the profits needed to cover its approximate annual legal costs but 3000 times coverage for political protection payments required to shape Financial Rule of Law to their liking. But the payoff for breaking the financial rule of law is even greater because perpetrators of white-collar financial crime almost never see jail and absolutely are never banned from the Wall Street job market – no Ray Rices here..
Ahh, but you don’t believe Wall Street has carte blanche dictating the Financial Rule of Law. Well look at the evidence:
1) Only 1 Wall Streeter went to jail for Financial Crisis and the meme “too big to jail” has real potency.
2)Consider the role and rewards to former GOP Minority Whip Eric Cantor.
3)Consider the role and rewards to former Obama Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
4)Consider the assessment of current financial integrity by Marketwatch/WSJ columnist David Weidner.
And these articles are just the tip of the iceberg. In case you have any lingering doubts, this book, among several dozen, provides one of the better accounts of the true nature of Wall Street and the Rule of Law. .
So the continuing graft on Wall Street permeates politics, economics and even world affairs – sanctions against Russia or Iran may or may not work depending on what major International banks think they can get away with. And all of this rides on asymmetrical payments of protection money that the US Supreme Court has given it 5-4 GOP assent to: corporations are people and so their rights of free speech cannot be limited by decades old election spending limits [and no matter that the “free speech” granted to corporations reflects only the views and will of a tiny executive elite and in no way reflects the beliefs and views of all the corporation’s stakeholders]. So by spending less than 1/10th of 1% of their assets on “political protection money”, Wall Street executives can guarantee they will have the final word on Financial Rule of Law. In 2014, consider the black and white social implications – if you are black and 23 or over, 1/3 of you will go to jail nearly half for drug crimes [and if you are from NYC, Ferguson Missouri, or Sanford Florida you may get killed]; if you are white and part of a multimillion financial racket, you will very likely get no jail time whatsoever. And as for being banned from working on the Street – lol, lol, lol….