The Slave Market
According to New York City Mayor, Mike Bloomberg, it was pressure from congress that forced big banks to make risky loans. While there are probably many guilty parties, according to Bloomberg, “It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress…” While Bloomberg blames congress, others have blamed the American people themselves. Many are still refusing to acknowledge that banks had a gross and blatant disregard for their welfare.
As a society bombarded by media, many Americans see corporations through advertisements. They often depict corporations hard at work in laboratories across the nation, trying to improve the world with innovation. Corporations want Americans to view them as friendly and nurturing. After tragic chemical plant explosions and ecologically disastrous oil spills, millions of dollars are spent to protect the image of a corporation. Why is taking responsibility for their mistakes and reimbursing their victims less effective than spending the equivalent amount of money on cheesy television commercials?
Perhaps even with the vast amount of resources available to financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, no company had any foresight whatsoever. Somehow, they were incapable of appreciating the consequences of their behavior. What we have learned in 2011 is that trillions of dollars were regularly made available by the Federal Reserve at the whim of the bankers. It’s not hard to imagine that with a safety net like that, any decision could be easily justified. What kind of system did we spend 700 billion taxpayer dollars trying to fix?
Deceptive loan agreements played a great part in the creation of all the toxic debt. The banks offering loans were even allowed to shred the risk of these toxic debt by slicing up securities and spreading its poison throughout the market. If an individual citizen were to defraud hundreds of others in the pursuit of profit, by selling them a faulty product under false pretense, they would likely find themselves in jail. To make it worse, by granting corporations the same rights as a person, we have essentially created a new corporate class that is free from being penalized for criminal actions.
A market that provides an environment for unregulated exponential corporate expansion, but comes crawling to taxpayers for a bailout when they mishandle their finances, is not a free market at all; it is a spoiled child that gets everything it wants particularly at the expense of others wellbeing. Likewise, any political party that claims to support the ideals of a free market and abhor government intervention while simultaneously accepting billions of dollars in donations from corporations, are hypocrites. You cannot honestly claim to want government out of your business while paying officials exuberant amounts of money to act on your behalf.
In the aftermath of the economic crisis, the American taxpayers will likely never find justice. Financial giants such as Goldman Sachs felt they had permission to manhandle borrowers. Congress may have inspired it. Of course, another possibility is that they both contributed equally.
A market that supports greed and offers no protection against the detrimental effects of its failure is not a free market. It is a slave market that abuses the public trust and places the value of a dollar bill above the value of a human life. No member of congress has offered solutions for reform on the scale necessary to protect our economy. Instead of identifying what must be done to save the economy, our elected officials seem content to simply use the crisis as a springboard for career growth.
It’s time for the American people to demand real change and not expect it to come in the form of a candidate. The topic of conversation should be that if thousands of people marching through the streets isn’t getting the response desired, what can we do to protect ourselves from a history that seems inevitably doomed to repeat itself.