The former geniuses who crashed Wall Street are now pushing a line to excuse them from any and all responsibility. It was a tsunami, they explain.
Yes, a once-in-a-lifetime, system-wide collapse that no one could’ve foreseen – not bankers, not Washington, not the media, not the Weather Channel. No one. It was “The Thing That Came From Nowhere,” say wide-eyed Wall Street chieftains. For example, Dick Fuld, former honcho of Lehman Brothers, says, “I wake up every single night thinking, ‘What could I have done differently?’” his answer: Nothing.
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Bovine excrement! First of all, these guys were paid to know. Mr. Fuld, for instance, was considered so knowledgeable about the financial system that he was paid $350 million by Lehman in the five years before – poof! – his policies imploded the bank. Banksters like him literally invented the scam that created the tsunami – namely, the flim flam of global trading in computerized bets, irredeemable promises, puffs of air, and other figments of financial imagination.
Second, they are the ones who disbursed campaign cash and deployed an army of lobbyists to get Washington to create the “dark market” that allowed them to play their get-rich-quick casino games without public scrutiny, much less regulation. Indeed, a group called Wall Street Watch has just issued a report showing that, in the past decade, the finance industry donated $1.7 billion to Washington politicians and spent $3.4 billion on lobbyists (they had 3,000 of them on the industry payroll in 2007 alone). In return, Washington gave a dozen specific, deregulatory rule changes to Wall Street that led directly to today’s financial meltdown.
The report is titled, “Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America.” To see it go to www.wallstreetwatch.org.