What do Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, and Henry Paulsen have in common? All three either work, or formerly worked in government regulating the financial system in the last 10 years, Bernanke as the chairman of the Fed, and Paulsen and Giethner as treasury secretary. But there is one more thing, one key, disturbing detail one detail that suggests a silent conquest of financial control: all three, the three men tasked with the job of regulating our financial system, once worked for the financial firm Goldman & Sachs. Why is the financial system so difficult to regulate?
You may have heard of the recent supreme court descision allowing corporations to fund campaign commercials for or against political candidates. The supreme court made this descision based or first amendment rights, but what many fail to realize is that the power to purchase campaign ads allows a corporation to bombard a candidate who crosses them with negative, slanderous campaign ads. Wealth, in america, is and always has been power. With a few exceptions, bills pass because they have money behind them, senators vote because their often covert corporate sponsors tell them to.
If the administrator of the EPA came straight from the coal industry, or or the head of the FDA was on the board of a major drug company, there would be political pandemonium. If a safety regulator had ties to the regulated, it would be considered a conflict of interest, and he or she wouldn’t be allowed to enter office. Then why would a big-money banker be allowed to regulate the financial system? We as a nation need to re-think financial regulation. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury are essentially the spleen of our financial system. Just as the spleen filters, produces, and holds a back up supply of blood, the Fed and Treasury are in charge of three jobs: s and holding a back up supply of money for cases of extreme emergency. Therefore, they play a vital role in regulating our financial system.
Some would argue that bankers would better understand the system, and therefore do a better job of regulating the system, but, a libertarian friend of mine once told me that the government is like an Umpire. It sets the rules, calls plays, and sees that the game is played fairly. If the Umpire begins playing the game, he told me, it then becomes a problem. He was correct, but he missed a key part: a biased Umpire. If an Umpire picks favorites, then the game instantly becomes less credible, lacking fair judgement. While he wouldn’t be playing the game, he certainly wouldn’t lack a bias either.
The investment firm that Bernanke, Geithner, and Paulsen have in common is connected to a disturbing trend. Goldman & Sachs received the most bailout money of any firm, with a need for much less than many that did not receive as much. Goldman & Sachs also happens to habitually make large campaign contributions to politicians running for national office. With the new supreme court descision that companies can purchase campaign ads, what will stop investment from further exerting their control on the legislature, threatening negative ads and donations to the opposition of those who try to tighten the reigns? It is only a matter of time before Goldman & Sachs, truly owns the world.