Encellent (IMO) article. Some highlights - a checklist for Rentiers, who, instead of working for a living, do politics and influence.
Banks get free money. Ordinary people have to borrow their money at market rates...the banks borrow billions at zero and lend mortgages to us at four percent, or credit cards at twenty or twenty-five percent. This is essentially an official government license to be rich, handed out at the expense of prudent ordinary citizens...It is virtually impossible to not make money in banking when you have unlimited access to free money, especially when the government keeps buying its own cash back from you at market rates.
Banks get good credit for being irresponsible. If you or I miss a $7 payment on a Gap card or, heaven forbid, a mortgage payment, you can forget about the great computer in the sky ever overlooking your mistake. But serial financial [screwups] like Citigroup and Bank of America overextended themselves by the hundreds of billions and pumped trillions of dollars of deadly leverage into the system -- and got rewarded with things like the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, an FDIC plan that allowed irresponsible banks to borrow against the government's credit rating...In a larger sense, the TBTF banks all have the implicit guarantee of the federal government.
Per the above, banks get insurance for stupidity from US. Defenders of the banks like to talk a lot about how we shouldn't feel sorry for people who've been foreclosed upon, because it's they're own fault for borrowing more than they can pay back, buying more house than they can afford, etc...This is ironic because, as one of the Rolling Stone editors put it last week, “something for nothing is Wall Street’s official policy." In fact, getting bailed out for bad investment decisions has been de rigeur on Wall Street not just since 2008, but for decades...Time after time, when big banks screw up and make irresponsible bets that blow up in their faces, they've scored bailouts. It doesn't matter whether it was the Mexican currency bailout of 1994 (when the state bailed out speculators who gambled on the peso) or the IMF/World Bank bailout of Russia in 1998 (a bailout of speculators in the "emerging markets") or the Long-Term Capital Management Bailout of the same year (in which the rescue of investors in a harebrained hedge-fund trading scheme was deemed a matter of international urgency by the Federal Reserve)
Banks and bankers don't get prosecuted for wrong-doing. Millions of people have been foreclosed upon in the last three years...if you miss a few home payments, you have a very high likelihood of colliding with a police officer in the near future. But if you defraud a pair of European banks out of a billion dollars -- that's a billion, with a b -- you will never be arrested, never see a policeman, never see the inside of a jail cell.