Picking up the healthy retail side of Washington Mutual? $1.9 billion. Being asleep at the switch while the London Whale gambles? $2 billion, or is it $7 billion. Owning Congress? Priceless.
We are in debt to ProPublica for detailing the close connections between JPMorgan Chase and the lawmakers who “questioned” Chief Executive Jamie Dimon over the recent trading loss, which should be a bright red light about the danger of too-big-to-exist banks. Instead, almost all the honorable gentlemen and gentleladies pitched softballs and dished praise. One, Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, said, “I salute you for your salary. I am a capitalist.” Another called him, “Mr. Morgan.”
And no wonder. “Mr. Morgan’s” PAC and employees have been the second-largest contributors to House Finance Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., since 1993. Democratic Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., he of the “dreaded” Dodd-Frank “re-regulation” has received $84,500 since 1989. And so it goes, along with the revolving door between bank and committee.
The Senate Banking Committee is not lacking in love, either. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been contributed to members over the years, and the revolving door is even more in use. This is a fraction of the scratch. According to the Open Secrets Web site, finance-insurance-real estate interests have spent more than $285 million this election cycle to buy policies that they favor.
Here, Mr. Morgan is a relative piker, behind Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, Bank of America and some most of us have never heard of. Need I point out that many are backed by taxpayers in their risky schemes, which they can perform thanks to all that successful lobbying?
I remember democracy. It was messy but worked well. I also remember Glass-Steagall, where we went for decades without a major financial crisis. But that was when financiers were merely rich, not in charge of the country.
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Today’s Econ Haiku:
This can’t be that hard
For Jet City, tech leader
Save the old streetcars