Are JPMorgan’s Losses A Canary in a Coal Mine?
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And I would say in this context, Bill, it’s very important not to be distracted. I understand for example, Speaker Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, is proposing to have another conflict over the debt ceiling in the near future. This is the politics of distraction. This is refusing to recognize that a huge part of our fiscal problems today and in the future are due to these risks within the financial system that are allowed because the people running the biggest banks hand out massive campaign contributions across the political spectrum.
Moyers: Are you saying that this financial crisis, so-called, is at heart a political crisis?
Johnson: Yes, exactly. I think that a few people, particularly in and around the financial system, have become too powerful. They were allowed to take a lot of risk, and they did massive damage to the economy — more than eight million jobs lost. We’re still struggling to get back anywhere close to employment levels where we were before 2008. And they’ve done massive damage to the budget. This damage to the budget is long lasting; it undermines the budget when we need it to be stronger because the society is aging. We need to support Social Security and support Medicare on a fair basis. We need to restore and rebuild revenue, revenue that was absolutely devastated by the financial crisis. People need to understand the link between what the banks did and the budget. And too many people fail to do that. “Oh, it’s too complicated. I don’t want to understand the details, I don’t want to spend time with it.” That’s a mistake, a very big mistake. You’re playing into the hands of a few powerful people in the society who want private benefit and social loss.