Wall Street Hopes You’ve Forgotten the Crash Already

Fat Cats

Remember October 2008 — the bank bailouts, the spiking unemployment rate, the stock market free fall?

Maybe you lost a job, got a pay cut, or saw your retirement savings or home value evaporate. Maybe you even lost your home altogether, or saw your small business wither and die.

It’s a hard thing to let go. But Wall Street is hoping you’ve already forgotten it.

That’s because their allies in Congress and the Trump administration are poised to scrap the reforms lawmakers put in place to prevent another meltdown.

For starters, they’re trying to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the first independent agency with the sole mandate of protecting consumers against scam artists, predatory lenders, and bad actors in the financial sector.

The agency proved its mettle last year, when it caught Wells Fargo — the second biggest bank in the country — creating millions of bogus accounts without their customers’ permission. The bureau exposed that cheating and put an end to it.

Dodd-Frank, the law that created the bureau, also made rules to keep banks from making risky bets with your money.

For instance, it requires banks to keep some skin in the game by maintaining a 5 percent stake in loans they originate, so they have a stake in the success of the borrower and the loan. It also encourages banks to keep some cash on hand in case of emergencies, just like the rest of us try to do at home.

Yet lately, bankers have been complaining that financial regulation is hurting the economy. Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president — and now a Trump economic adviser — whined recently that banks are being forced to “hoard capital.”

If maintaining a prudent reserve is hoarding, then yes. And that’s a good thing.

Bankers like Cohn say abolishing these rules will help ordinary consumers. When you hear things like that, hold tight to your wallets and purses.

The truth is, cheap credit is abundant. The commercial and industrial business industries are booming. Credit card and auto lending are at record highs, and mortgage loans are almost back to their pre-2008 crisis high.

If that’s not enough for Wall Street lenders who want to gamble, they should go to the casino. And if venture capitalists want to take great risks in search of great rewards, blessings upon them. But they shouldn’t expect the rest of us to bail them out after their next binge.

What about Donald Trump? Will he protect us?

Trump campaigned as a champion for the “little guy,” beholden to no one because of his independent wealth. He smeared opponents like Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton for being “puppets” of big banks like Goldman Sachs.

My advice? Watch what Trump does, not what he says.

After all, Trump just installed the most pro-Wall Street team our nation has ever seen. Three of his senior advisers — including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — have a combined 40 years at Goldman Sachs.

Now they’d like to remove the sheriff from the financial sector. If they get their way, I’ll give you better odds than Vegas that they’ll crash the economy again — and stick you and me with the bill.

Lock up your treasure. Call your lawmaker. Don’t go back to sleep.

Chuck Collins is the director of the Inequality and the Common Good Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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A Deadly Day: Russian Ambassador Assassinated, 12 Dead in Berlin Truck Crash, Zürich Mosque Attacked

“The only thing we can be sure of is that refugees across Europe are going to face the very serious consequences of this range of attacks that we’ve seen over the last day,” IPS’ Phyllis Bennis told Democracy Now! in response to the assassination of a Russian ambassador in Turkey, a truck crash into a German Christmas market that killed 12, and a shooting at a mosque in Switzerland on December 19.

Trump responded by sending prayers to those in Berlin and saying “Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.”

Bennis said Trump’s statement was filled with false claims, since Islamic extremist organizations have not only targeted Christians. “Far more Muslims all around the world have died in these horrific attacks than Christians have,” Bennis said.

Instead of making false claims based in Islamophobia, Bennis said, it’s more important to understand the motivations of those who’ve carried out these acts to learn how to prevent further attacks.

“The militarization of the global war on terror, both in Syria and in Iraq, is taking a huge toll on civilians,” Bennis said. Meanwhile, she notes, ending ISIS control of territory is not going to end the problem of ISIS as a terrorist force.

Terrorism experts, Bennis said, know that as ISIS loses territory, it will just turn back to old-fashioned tactics of carrying out attacks on civilians. “What we’re seeing now is the reality that this global war on terror is indeed having global ramifications,” with the threat being increased around Europe, but most particularly in the Middle East region.

Watch or read the full interview on Democracy Now!’s website.

The post A Deadly Day: Russian Ambassador Assassinated, 12 Dead in Berlin Truck Crash, Zürich Mosque Attacked appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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‘Great tragedy’: 43 die in French bus, truck crash – CNN


CNN
'Great tragedy': 43 die in French bus, truck crash
CNN
The crash happened at 7:30 a.m. on a wooded portion of the D17 highway in Puisseguin, near Bordeaux in southern France. The bus began its trip in Petit-Palais 15 minutes earlier, according to Jean-Claude Leonardet, 73, who suffered a head injury as he …
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Four Children Among Migrants Found After Boat Crash Near Greece – New York Times


Reuters
Four Children Among Migrants Found After Boat Crash Near Greece
New York Times
Almost 400,000 people have arrived in Greece this year, according to the United Nations refugee agency, creating an additional financial burden for the government. Of the nearly 600,000 migrants crossing into Europe this year, more than 3,000 have died
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China’s Ambitious Rail Projects Crash Into Harsh Realities in Latin America – New York Times


New York Times
China's Ambitious Rail Projects Crash Into Harsh Realities in Latin America
New York Times
Beyond the opposition among powerful Brazilian agribusiness interests, environmental groups are also marshaling resistance to the railway, claiming that it could accelerate deforestation in the Amazon River basin. Brazil's labor laws, which make it

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Bajool crash victim flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital today – Rockhampton Morning Bulletin


Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
Bajool crash victim flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital today
Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
The Cheetham Salt Ltd worker, who also sustained injuries to his spine and chest, was last night in a critical but stable condition in Rockhampton Hospital. A 38-year-old man who was driving the car escaped serious injury and was also transported to …

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Bajool crash victim flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital today – Rockhampton Morning Bulletin


Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
Bajool crash victim flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital today
Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
The Cheetham Salt Ltd worker, who also sustained injuries to his spine and chest, was last night in a critical but stable condition in Rockhampton Hospital. A 38-year-old man who was driving the car escaped serious injury and was also transported to …

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Bajool crash victim flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital today – Rockhampton Morning Bulletin


Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
Bajool crash victim flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital today
Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
The Cheetham Salt Ltd worker, who also sustained injuries to his spine and chest, was last night in a critical but stable condition in Rockhampton Hospital. A 38-year-old man who was driving the car escaped serious injury and was also transported to …

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Bajool crash victim flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital today – Rockhampton Morning Bulletin


Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
Bajool crash victim flown to Royal Brisbane Hospital today
Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
The Cheetham Salt Ltd worker, who also sustained injuries to his spine and chest, was last night in a critical but stable condition in Rockhampton Hospital. A 38-year-old man who was driving the car escaped serious injury and was also transported to …

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Crash Keeps Top Sprinter From Vying for Stage Win – New York Times


New York Times
Crash Keeps Top Sprinter From Vying for Stage Win
New York Times
Ji Cheng, the first Chinese rider in the Tour de France, further secured his last-place status. Suffering from knee pain, he finished alone in the rain, 12 minutes 41 seconds after Navardauskas's happier solo trip across the line. To move out of last
Navardauskas Wins Stage 19 of Tour De FranceABC News
Ramunas Navardauskas wins with late escape on Stage 19 of Tour de FranceThe Guardian
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