Five Demands To Rein In Wall Street

99marchIf we want a country in which the most powerful financial institutions may longer hold our political process hostage, where do we start? Via Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi puts forth his list of five demands for anti-Wall Street protesters to push for:

1. Break up the monopolies. The so-called “Too Big to Fail” financial companies – now sometimes called by the more accurate term “Systemically Dangerous Institutions” – are a direct threat to national security. They are above the law and above market consequence, making them more dangerous and unaccountable than a thousand mafias combined. There are about 20 such firms in America, and they need to be dismantled; a good start would be to repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and mandate the separation of insurance companies, investment banks and commercial banks.

2. Pay for your own bailouts. A tax of 0.1 percent on all trades of stocks and bonds and a 0.01 percent tax on all trades of derivatives would generate enough revenue to pay us back for the bailouts, and still have plenty left over to fight the deficits the banks claim to be so worried about. It would also deter the endless chase for instant profits through computerized insider-trading schemes like High Frequency Trading, and force Wall Street to go back to the job it’s supposed to be doing, i.e., making sober investments in job-creating businesses and watching them grow.

3. No public money for private lobbying. A company that receives a public bailout should not be allowed to use the taxpayer’s own money to lobby against him. You can either suck on the public teat or influence the next presidential race, but you can’t do both. Butt out for once and let the people choose the next president and Congress.

4. Tax hedge-fund gamblers. For starters, we need an immediate repeal of the preposterous and indefensible carried-interest tax break, which allows hedge-fund titans like Stevie Cohen and John Paulson to pay taxes of only 15 percent on their billions in gambling income, while ordinary Americans pay twice that for teaching kids and putting out fires. I defy any politician to stand up and defend that loophole during an election year.

5. Change the way bankers get paid. We need new laws preventing Wall Street executives from getting bonuses upfront for deals that might blow up in all of our faces later. It should be: You make a deal today, you get company stock you can redeem two or three years from now. That forces everyone to be invested in his own company’s long-term health – no more Joe Cassanos pocketing multimillion-dollar bonuses for destroying the AIGs of the world.

To quote the immortal political philosopher Matt Damon from Rounders, “The key to No Limit poker is to put a man to a decision for all his chips.” The only reason the Lloyd Blankfeins and Jamie Dimons of the world survive is that they’re never forced, by the media or anyone else, to put all their cards on the table. If Occupy Wall Street can do that – if it can speak to the millions of people the banks have driven into foreclosure and joblessness – it has a chance to build a massive grassroots movement. All it has to do is light a match in the right place, and the overwhelming public support for real reform – not later, but right now – will be there in an instant.

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  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Hmm, they forgot legalized targeted killings.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Hmm, they forgot legalized targeted killings…

    since that’s already the government’s policy concerning us.

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      The only problem with those is we use them on the wrong people. Shit…we’ll blast the crap out of a guy whose entire rap sheet consists of talking a tough game…but we can’t be bothered to even spank the guys who actually brought the US to its knees and crippled it for a generation. 

      • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

        Yep.

        I don’t think we should be doing “Targeted Killings” at all. Combat deaths are one thing, but assassinating preachers and magazine publishers is an entirely different thing.

        But as long as it’s being done, we need to democratize the process a little. Let the “common man” select and terminate those people he sees as a threat.

        After the initial wave of killings, I think (and certainly hope) that our government will renounce the practice.

        What’s left of them, anyhow.

        • Aram Jahn

          As a thought experiment, let’s ponder the ramifications of some very radical hacktivist group acquiring their own drone technology. Boehner and Cantor have their cars blown up within hours of each other; two days later Geithner is liquidated getting out of a limo…How will the gummint respond?

          Perhaps I lack imagination, but after about ten minutes of pondering If-Then and And-But types of thingies, my head feels like it’s going to explode. 

          • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

            Well, my stated goal is to legalize these sort of ad hoc terminations for use by everyone.

            It’s no fair when only one group gets to “benefit” from a law that wasn’t passed and isn’t demonstrably being implemented by elected officials.

            But yeah, it would be pretty ugly. But for some people it already is pretty ugly.

            The gub’mint would either have to step back from the position that it’s ok to kill citizens without due process, or they’d get themselves blown back into the stone age.

  • quartz99

    Two things that would make a huge huge difference:

    1) Enact a law that no person’s total compensation (that includes reimbursements, bonuses, stock options, insurance paid by the company, ALL value passed from the corp to the individual) within a corporation can be more than 10x the total compensation of the lowest paid person within the company. I guarantee you wages would start going up again.

    2) Make all elected positions minimum wage jobs. This would need to be done in conjunction with lobbying reform that keeps elected officials from gaining income and gifts from lobbyists while in office and keeps them from gaining income from any other job during that same time. I guarantee the minimum wage would rise to at least a living wage, probably far higher.

    • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

      Your point #1 I’ll leave alone though I have some reservations.
       
      Point #2 has been tried in the past and the result was that only the rich could hold public office. That didn’t work out so well for us poor fuckers.

      Of course, this isn’t working out so well either.

      • quartz99

        Hm. All elected officials were once minimum wage pay with laws supposedly keeping them from taking “gifts” and “donations”? When was that? I don’t recall seeing that anywhere but if it’s so I’ll gladly go take a look at it and revise my opinion on its effect on the system.

    • Nunzio X

      I’d be more generous: the highest top compensation for any individual within a company shall be no more than 50X the pay of the lowest person. You want $1 million a year? No problem—-as long as the receptionist or janitor is earning $20,000 a year. You want $2 million a year? The janitor makes $40K a year. And so on.

      • quartz99

        We’ll have to agree to disagree on the placement of the bar there. I can think of jobs that are worth maybe as much at $300k. There’s not a damn “executive” level job on this planet that’s worth $1million.

        I also think that secretaries and janitors deserve to be making more than the people they have to run around after and clean up after and do all the heavy lifting for, because those jobs suck and there should be greater incentives to doing jobs that are necessary but suck than jobs where you basically sit around.

  • Anonymous

    Two things that would make a huge huge difference:

    1) Enact a law that no person’s total compensation (that includes reimbursements, bonuses, stock options, insurance paid by the company, ALL value passed from the corp to the individual) within a corporation can be more than 10x the total compensation of the lowest paid person within the company. I guarantee you wages would start going up again.

    2) Make all elected positions minimum wage jobs. This would need to be done in conjunction with lobbying reform that keeps elected officials from gaining income and gifts from lobbyists while in office and keeps them from gaining income from any other job during that same time. I guarantee the minimum wage would rise to at least a living wage, probably far higher.

  • Vi0let_femme

    sounds like a plan!

  • Vi0let_femme

    sounds like a plan!

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    The only problem with those is we use them on the wrong people. Shit…we’ll blast the crap out of a guy whose entire rap sheet consists of talking a tough game…but we can’t be bothered to even spank the guys who actually brought the US to its knees and crippled it for a generation. 

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Yep.

    I don’t think we should be doing “Targeted Killings” at all. Combat deaths are one thing, but assassinating preachers and magazine publishers is an entirely different thing.

    But as long as it’s being done, we need to democratize the process a little. Let the “common man” select and terminate those people he sees as a threat.

    After the initial wave of killings, I think (and certainly hope) that our government will renounce the practice.

    What’s left of them, anyhow.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Your point #1 I’ll leave alone though I have some reservations.
     
    Point #2 has been tried in the past and the result was that only the rich could hold public office. That didn’t work out so well for us poor fuckers.

    Of course, this isn’t working out so well either.

  • Aram Jahn

    As a thought experiment, let’s ponder the ramifications of some very radical hacktivist group acquiring their own drone technology. Boehner and Cantor have their cars blown up within hours of each other; two days later Geithner is liquidated getting out of a limo…How will the gummint respond?

    Perhaps I lack imagination, but after about ten minutes of pondering If-Then and And-But types of thingies, my head feels like it’s going to explode. 

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Well, my stated goal is to legalize these sort of ad hoc terminations for use by everyone.

    It’s no fair when only one group gets to “benefit” from a law that wasn’t passed and isn’t demonstrably being implemented by elected officials.

    But yeah, it would be pretty ugly. But for some people it already is pretty ugly.

    The gub’mint would either have to step back from the position that it’s ok to kill citizens without due process, or they’d get themselves blown back into the stone age.

  • Nunzio X

    I’d be more generous: the highest top compensation for any individual within a company shall be no more than 50X the pay of the lowest person. You want $1 million a year? No problem—-as long as the receptionist or janitor is earning $20,000 a year. You want $2 million a year? The janitor makes $40K a year. And so on.

  • Anonymous

    You missed corporate executive culpability. Corporate executives should be liable for the decisions and actions they take, just like the rest of us.
    When corporations kill, their corporate executives should go to jail for murder. This should also apply for mass fraud, polluting the environment, poisoning people and any other criminal act.
    No longer should corporate executives be able to hide behind the corporate facade or shift penalties to other employees and share holders, you take the bonus for corrupt decisions you get the jail time.

  • rtb61

    You missed corporate executive culpability. Corporate executives should be liable for the decisions and actions they take, just like the rest of us.
    When corporations kill, their corporate executives should go to jail for murder. This should also apply for mass fraud, polluting the environment, poisoning people and any other criminal act.
    No longer should corporate executives be able to hide behind the corporate facade or shift penalties to other employees and share holders, you take the bonus for corrupt decisions you get the jail time.

  • samthor

    Those are good.
    But we have to audit the Federal Reserve.  They have to answer to someone.
    Reinstate the Glass-Stegal act & stop bank deregulation. Support H.R. 1489: Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2011
    And
    Reverse #08-205 by Amendment & end cooperate person hood.

  • Anonymous

    Those are good.
    But we have to audit the Federal Reserve.  They have to answer to someone.
    Reinstate the Glass-Stegal act & stop bank deregulation. Support H.R. 1489: Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2011
    And
    Reverse #08-205 by Amendment & end cooperate person hood.

  • Anonymous

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on the placement of the bar there. I can think of jobs that are worth maybe as much at $300k. There’s not a damn “executive” level job on this planet that’s worth $1million.

    I also think that secretaries and janitors deserve to be making more than the people they have to run around after and clean up after and do all the heavy lifting for, because those jobs suck and there should be greater incentives to doing jobs that are necessary but suck than jobs where you basically sit around.

  • Anonymous

    Hm. All elected officials were once minimum wage pay with laws supposedly keeping them from taking “gifts” and “donations”? When was that? I don’t recall seeing that anywhere but if it’s so I’ll gladly go take a look at it and revise my opinion on its effect on the system.

  • Bencoleman

    the police brutality in america is disgusting from polic officers who take a pledge to protect this is just the government using the police to their own ends just like they do with the military it has to stop and im not even american

  • Bencoleman

    the police brutality in america is disgusting from polic officers who take a pledge to protect this is just the government using the police to their own ends just like they do with the military it has to stop and im not even american

  • Anonymous

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