Robert Reich: 2009: The Year Wall Street Bounced Back and Main Street Got Shafted
In September 2008, as the worst of the financial crisis engulfed Wall Street, George W. Bush issued a warning: "This sucker could go down." Around the same time, as Congress hashed out a bailout bill, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, the leading Republican negotiator of the bill, warned that "if we do not do this, the trauma, the chaos and the disruption to everyday Americans' lives will be overwhelming, and that's a price we can't afford to risk paying."
In less than a year, Wall Street was back. The five largest remaining banks are today larger, their executives and traders richer, their strategies of placing large bets with other people's money no less bold than before the meltdown. The possibility of new regulations emanating from Congress has barely inhibited the Street's exuberance.
But if Wall Street is back on top, the everyday lives of large numbers of Americans continue to be subject to overwhelming trauma, chaos and disruption.
It is commonplace among policymakers to fervently and sincerely believe that Wall Street's financial health is not only a precondition for a prosperous real economy but that when the former thrives, the latter will necessarily follow. Few fictions of modern economic life are more assiduously defended than the central importance of the Street to the well-being of the rest of us, as has been proved in 2009.
3. Does anyone know the source to quote on the amount of derivative trading in the last several months
relative to GNP?
I have heard figures something over 200 trillion $ in derivatives traded by the last remaining 5 big banks that we bailed out, trading in the last several months relative to GNP of something around 16 trillion $.
I would like to use these figures but don't know how to cite them. Have googled some, but have not come up with what I need.
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