Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sociopaths, in Tailored Suits

Don't delude yourself that the creatures of Wall Street are people like you and I—that they have human feelings, like empathy, or any kind of appreciation for morality. They are entirely self-centered, pitiless, and the damage they cause is limited only by the barriers around them.

Knowing this makes the aftermath of their behaviors less shocking.

Case-in-point: Certainly you are familiar with the proliferation of check-cashing and pay-day lending outfits over the past few years. Hell, they're on every street corner, it seems, charging poor people 200% on loans, charging exorbitant fees to cash checks. They prey especially upon illegals, who have nowhere else to go, and upon those with bad credit. During this check-cashing and pay-day lending boom, banks have also tightened up on the availability of bank accounts to the aforementioned, no coincidence, given that the predatory lenders and check-cashers who fill the subsequent void are bankrolled by Bank of America, Wachovia, Chase, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp, et al. Yeah, you read that right—Cash America is in reality just a branch of Chase or BOA (just a little more honest in their principles).

One of the few good things to come from the watered down Wall Street Reform Act was the establishment of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, tasked with regulating consumer financial products and services in compliance with federal law. Seems to be a common-sense, uncontroversial mandate, right? Well, from the squalking Wall Street has made about the provision, you'd think that it was the end of the fucking world, especially after Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law proff known for her brilliance, her ethics, and for her clear-eyed understanding of the Big Banks, was appointed to lead it (a bone Obama threw to his crumbling liberal constituency—after months of intense lobbying by same—though if she'll ever be confirmed, God only knows).

Wall Street is currently pulling out all the stops to gut the Bureau (or, preferably, kill it) and predictably have enlisted their usual lapdogs (aka, The U. S. Chamber of Commerce) to lobby it, engaging in their usual misdirection. Their M.O. is to hide behind other organizations, knowing the unpopularity of their brand. Their new partners (shills) are interesting, though.

From today's Huffington Post:
During a Tuesday conference call organized by the Chamber, coalitions ostensibly comprised of companies outside the financial sector argued that the nascent federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will hurt their bottom lines. But while those groups, the International Franchise Association and the Manufactured Housing Institute, include payday lenders, check-cashing agencies and mortgage lenders-- exactly the kinds of firms the CFPB is designed to regulate.

Kinda precious, ain't it? Their sociopathic brains are irony-immune, obviously.

Once more, remember who the enemy in this battle is. Despise them, for what they are—and do not delude yourself. They will not be beaten with negotiation.

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