Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Too Big to Jail

On his program last Friday, Bill Moyers interviewed David Corn and Kevin Drum. Corn and Drum are two of the contributors to Mother Jones’ cover story exposĂ© “Too Big to Jail,” which tells how Wall Street has been able to avoid being held accountable for the 2008 financial crisis. Their emphasis is not so much on the problems of Wall Street but on those in Washington. Here’s a short preview:

The financial crisis revealed not just shortcoming in our economic system. More seriously it showed how Wall Street’s influence is now virtually dictating policy in Washington and thus preventing the reforms necessary to correct our seriously flawed financial system. Indeed, Wall Street has carried out an “intellectual capture” of the country’s mindset so that we assume, like GM in the 1950s, that what’s good for Wall Street is good for America. David Corn likens this to a new form of the “Stockholm Syndrome”:

“While [people are] angry at Wall Street, particularly on the corporate compensation front — which is very easy to get angry about — they also are fearful of taking Wall Street on, because they've been taught that if the Dow falls, if you take on the big banks, it's going to be bad for all of us. So, it really is this ‘Stockholm Syndrome,’ where we're forced to identify with people who are holding us hostage without our interest in mind.”

People are angry and frustrated but don’t know what to do. Moyers correctly sees this endangering our whole democratic system.

“The worry is, have we become so big and things become so complex? Have people been so politically abused, as a psychologist recently said, that the will to fight for democracy, the political will has been dissipated?”

Understanding what has happened, and what is going on now, is essential for the public to demand meaningful change, in Washington and on Wall Street. Listen to the two-part conversation and Moyers' commentary.

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