Money laundering. Price fixing. Bid rigging. Securities fraud. Talking about the mob? No, unfortunately. Wall Street.
These days, the business sections of newspapers read like rap sheets. GE Capital, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Wells Fargo and Bank of America tied to a bid-rigging scheme to bilk cities and towns out of interest earnings. ING Direct, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank facing charges of money laundering. Barclays caught manipulating a key interest rate, costing savers and investors dearly, with a raft of other big banks also under investigation.
Not to speak of the unprecedented wrongdoing that precipitated the financial crisis of 2008.
Clearly, the present order is unsustainable. We need to demand fundamental changes now, breaking up the big banks to snap their stranglehold on our markets and our democracy, ensuring that the newly minted financial reform laws are implemented, and wringing out rampant speculation.
None of these changes will come easily, but this much is clear: We cannot allow Wall Street to continually flout our sense of right and wrong, to erode faith in our legal and political systems, and to put our financial system and economy in jeopardy.
Phil Angelides, former state treasurer of California, was the chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which conducted the nation’s official inquiry into the financial crisis.
Read more: SFGate