6 Shocking Revelations About Wall Street's "Secret Government"
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This part isn’t secret. As the top six banks grew larger, they spent more funds lobbying to make sure that they wouldn’t suffer any unprofitable impacts from banking reform legislation. So after the biggest banks received hundreds of billions in secret loans, they upped their lobbying funds to maintain their size and power. Read ‘em and weep:
4. Wall Street’s secret government protects its own.
At first, it’s not easy to understand how Treasury Secretary Paulson, the former head of Goldman Sachs, could risk attending a secret meeting with giant hedge fund managers, many of whom used to work at Goldman Sachs. How could the nation’s highest ranking financial official dare to tip off these hedge fund elites about the imminent government takeover of Fannie and Freddie before Congress and the public were informed? Well, one answer is that Paulson felt obliged to warn his old comrades of the impeding nationalization. Maybe, he wanted to get them out of harm’s way just in case they were heavily involved in those markets. Or maybe he also wanted to give them a very valuable tip to profit by. But the deeper explanation, I believe, is that Wall Street’s key government officials – Paulson, Summers, Geithner, Orszag (the former Obama OMB chief who now makes millions working for CitiGroup), etc. truly believe the following:
- Wall Street banks are the best in the world and are the cutting-edge of the American economy. They are our future.
- Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers are enormously smarter and sharper than the rest of us. They deserve our admiration.
- Helping Wall Street to grow and prosper is precisely the same thing as helping all Americans and the entire economy. They deserve our support.
- Secret meetings to provide insider information are normal on Wall Street. There’s nothing wrong with warning your friends about upcoming policy decisions that might impact their profits.
- There’s also absolutely nothing wrong with providing trillions of dollars of secret loans to the best and the brightest and not telling Congress about it.
It’s all a closed loop of self-justification and self-deception: Wall Street is brilliant. What Wall Street does is for the good of the country. Helping Wall Street profit is good for the country. Hiding the truth from democratically elected leaders is also for the good of the country because Wall Street is brilliant and knows better.
And all this is deeply believed by Wall Street and its secret government, even though Wall Street, and Wall Street alone, took down the economy and killed 8 million jobs in a matter of months. Simply brilliant!
5. Wall Street is a clear and present danger to democracy.
Usually, I am not an alarmist. In fact, I often argue against facile conspiracy theories. I want to believe that our democracy still has promise. But, the Wall Street-induced crash and the government’s response to it has me very worried. The Bloomberg News revelations suggest that Wall Street’s secret government has enormous disdain for what remains of our democracy. The financial elites obviously believe that Congress cannot be trusted to do the right thing even when it is bought and paid for by the very banks it supposedly regulates. As for the rest of us? We’re just a financially illiterate mass to be manipulated through the mass media. Our minds too can be bought and sold through careful marketing.
This financial arrogance and corruption is enormously corrosive to our democratic values. Already, many Americans, and for good reason, no longer trust their government. Already, many Americans, and for good reason, no longer vote. Already, many Americans, and for good reason, believe that democracy as we know it is a sham. Wall Street couldn’t have written a better script to maintain its domination.