How serious is Wall Street about holding onto the suffocating power it amassed over the past decade? For starters, they have no problem gaming the oversight process with the willing assistance of someone like Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). According to reports, Issa’s top aides were directly responsible for trying to set up Elizabeth Warren for a smear as she testified to congressional leaders over the mission and the work of the fledgling Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, an agency Wall Street, and Goldman Sachs in particular, is intent on killing.
Rep. Issa may find his staff under increasing scrutiny as Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein may be facing indictment soon. According to Reuters, Blankfein recently retained Reid Weingarten, a high-profile Washington defense attorney whose past clients include a former Enron accounting officer, among others.
And the big banks may ultimately be successful in getting New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman to drop his opposition to a settlement between the states and the banks for charges the banks improperly foreclosed on millions of Americans. Schneiderman has been a vocal opponent of settling with the banks, despite increasing pressure from the Obama administration.
It is increasingly clear that no economic recovery is possible, let alone sustainable, without some level of consumer debt forgiveness. Wall Street’s parasitic practices have literally crippled the mobility of the middle class. Rather than displaying a sense of long term vision, the banking lobby is quite clearly looking out for its short term interests only. If they fail and Congress does muster the political will to pass additional debt relief and regulatory protections we may avoid, narrowly, a permanent return to the Guilded Age.
If they are successful, there’s no reason to think they’ll stop simply at dismantling financial services regulation.
Photo from tracyo via flickr.