Letter to Editor: A Plea for Romney To Bring Justice to Wall Street
'Mr. Romney, give me a reason to vote for you,' Republican Jim Tweed says.
To the Editor:
If you are an Obama supporter, please read no further because this is not intended for you. Full disclosure: I am a Republican, but I’ve never let any political party do my thinking for me.
So please, Mr. Romney, give me a reason to vote for you.
I’m willing to meet you halfway. I’m willing to overlook that you flipped your positions on abortion rights, gay rights, gun rights, immigration and health care. I don’t care how rich you are, because some of the nicest people I know are rich. If your accountants found enough write-offs for you not to pay income taxes before the year you decided to run for President, I’m sure they were all legal. I love your singing of "God Bless America." You proved that you can sing better than Barack Obama, and I’ll bet you can dance better, too. I ask only one thing of you. Attack President Obama where he’s weakest. He’s done little during the past 3 ½ years to bring justice after the Great Fraud that caused the Great Recession. What would you do for justice, “President” Romney?
This is not a Democrat’s plea for justice for the poor. This is a Republican’s plea for justice for defrauded investors, banks, pension funds and the people whose future depended on them. Mr. Romney, you try to act like you feel our pain, but you’re not believable. When banking stops, credit stops. When credit stops, trade stops. When trade stops, businesses, investors, employees and customers suffer. Romney says he’ll make it better. Obama says he’s trying. Neither talks about bringing justice to the business owners who went bankrupt, the workers who lost jobs, and the retirees who lost savings. If this all happened as a result of a normal business cycle I would not care. But that’s not how it happened.
Remember when Wall Street became a black hole? The real estate bubble had burst. In September 2008, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Then Merrill Lynch sold itself to Bank of America after announcing billions of losses in something called “collateralized debt obligations.” The U.S. Federal Reserve loaned billions to insurance company, AIG so it could pay off losses to Wall St. investment banks on something called “credit default swaps.” Most was owed to Goldman Sachs. The DOW went into freefall, taking the value of pension funds and 401k retirement accounts with it. In October 2008, the U.S. govt. stepped in to save the system from collapse.
Do you really believe this was caused by overregulation? If your answer is yes then you loved the “Credit Default Swaps” (CDS) which made it all possible. If you’re not sure what a CDS is, imagine you could buy flood insurance that paid off the value of your entire home if only your yard flooded and the premium you paid was calculated on the value of the lawn mower in your garage. Then imagine Hurricane Katrina is coming up our coast and you’re allowed to buy insurance on everybody else’s home. You can borrow the money to pay the low premiums and only you and a few of your friends can do it. That’s how the market in CDS’s worked. And don’t worry if you bought up enough insurance to bankrupt the company. Taxpayers will cover the loss. And it was all legal thanks to deregulation.
And how about those brilliant Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO)! Do you think it should be legal to bundle bonds backed by loans designed for people who can’t repay them? Do you believe it helps capitalism to allow brokers to make money by creating a delusion and passing the risk onto someone else? Do you think it is not fraud when a few investment banks conceal the risk by burying toxic junk in a CDO, or when ratings agencies label it “triple-A?” Do you think we should reward sophisticated institutions like AIG and Goldman Sachs to act like fools? Actually, they were not the fools left standing when the music stopped playing because they made sure American taxpayers had to bail them out in order to save us all.
So back to justice. Do you believe it when the brightest minds on Wall St. plead ignorance as a defense? You can’t punish people for being morons but if they were that stupid, how did they rise so high? If there are more morons on Wall St. than crooks, then the crooks must be higher up.
The purpose of regulations is to prevent powerful corporations from doing bad things to powerless people. If the bozos on Wall St. are allowed to walk away rich because they violated no regulations, then regulations are needed to guide their behavior in the future. If there are crooks on Wall Street who are living free on bonuses and fees they received by causing losses suffered by everyone else, then there needs to be justice. If this elected administration is unable or unwilling to seek justice, then we need a new administration.
Mr. Romney, are you aware, and do you care?