Feature

Wall Street has only itself to blame

Our system of capitalism depends on trust, yet not a week goes by when we don’t “learn something new about how Wall Street has screwed us,” said Robert Reich at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Robert Reich
San Francisco Chronicle

“Wall Street is its own worst enemy,” said Robert Reich. Given every opportunity to reform, it chooses instead to keep subverting the rules, making Americans “more distrustful than ever” of our financial system. The Street’s biggest lobbying groups are currently fighting a new regulation that limits speculative bets on commodities—bets that make traders bundles of cash but raise food and energy prices for consumers. Their argument is that the government didn’t conduct an adequate cost-benefit analysis before imposing the rule. That’s a “clever ploy,” since the costs and benefits of financial regulations are notoriously difficult to measure.

With all its expensive lawyers and “hired-gun ‘experts,’” Wall Street has a “huge tactical advantage” for getting the rule thrown out. But there’s one cost it doesn’t consider when it engages in such shenanigans: that more and more Americans are becoming convinced that the “economic game is rigged.” Our system of capitalism depends on trust, yet not a week goes by when we don’t “learn something new about how Wall Street has screwed us.” Wall Street has “blanketed America in a miasma of cynicism,” and it could pay a heavy price in the end.

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