I just read this nice article by Matt Taibbi on Wallstreet, the SEC, and the Justice Department, link here. Looks like the game is rigged, still. And there ain’t a damn thing anyone can do about it. The Rich keep getting richer and everyone else gets screwed. Here’s a nice snippet from the article that describes the enforcement at the SEC:
“So there you have it. Illegal immigrants: 393,000. Lying moms: one. Bankers: zero. The math makes sense only because the politics are so obvious. You want to win elections, you bang on the jailable class. You build prisons and fill them with people for selling dime bags and stealing CD players. But for stealing a billion dollars? For fraud that puts a million people into foreclosure? Pass. It’s not a crime. Prison is too harsh. Get them to say they’re sorry, and move on. Oh, wait — let’s not even make them say they’re sorry. That’s too mean; let’s just give them a piece of paper with a government stamp on it, officially clearing them of the need to apologize, and make them pay a fine instead. But don’t make them pay it out of their own pockets, and don’t ask them to give back the money they stole. In fact, let them profit from their collective crimes, to the tune of a record $135 billion in pay and benefits last year. What’s next? Taxpayer-funded massages for every Wall Street executive guilty of fraud?”
— from Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?, Rolling Stone, March 3, 2011
It makes my blood boil, all of this. Its too unbelievable, but it happens and there is nothing that seems can be done about it. We don’t have the money or the jurisdiction to go after these people ourselves. It looks like you really just have to ignore all the corruption and play ball, hoping you get a lucky break.
Bank of America has signed me up for paperless billing for my mortgage. They don’t seem to offer any clue on my statement on how to keep getting paper statements.
They also made it so if I pay through their website up until the 9th it’s free of charge. From the 9th-15th it costs $6 to make an electronic payment. This is the first mortgage processor, I’ve had 3 so far, that has done this. It is the only bill I pay that has a fee if I make a payment from their website the day before it’s due.
I recently went through another refinance to get a lower rate on my loan to 4.75% from 5.625% to save $200/month. I went through my loan broker and was able to not have to fill out 100 forms with mundane details they verify later, which for me begs the question why don’t they just look it up to begin with as I’m sure they get deals from the right places. Anyway, I guess that’d be a GOOD bank that would just take some info from you instead of asking how much you make, the address of where you work, how many pets you have, what your favorite place to eat is, what color is your hair, and other useful information. Because there are no GOOD banks I go through a loan broker who fills out most of these forms for me and applies, or whatever it is that she does, to get me a loan. In any event I’m now with Bank of America Home Loans, which isn’t exactly the good bank I’d like to support.
Having been reading tons of articles over the past year on politics and corporations in America and seeing all the money that was thrown around in the elections I reached the same conclusion as this op-ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/opinion/12herbert.html?_r=2&ref=opinion. That basically American politics is owned by the corporations who are sitting on a ton of money and bitching about high taxes. All the while making sure all profits go to the top and all risk goes to the bottom. We saw that with the wallstreet bailouts. They hardly knew what a CDO was and bragged that they did and didn’t have to explain it to the little guy because it was too confusing. The rating agencies basically rubber-stamped these investment vehicles when all one had to do was look into them and see the credit history of the people the loans were being made to was going downhill at an alarming rate. Then the government has to step in and bail them out with no strings attached and zero changes to the way the system is setup. The EPA just authorized the use of GMOs without proper investigations into long-term effects and basically giving the finger to small organic farmers who have to worry about the GMO seeds being spread to their fields and destroying the organic part of their crop. The EPA head is a former employee of Monsanto, the big large GMO Corn maker who just got approved to sell Organic Alfalfa. And you have the Republicans saying we need to cut this and that benefit to the people and the democrats going along with it because they have no spines. And cutting this and that regulation because it’s too difficult to keep up with all these laws and such that protect our air and water so instead of making $100 billion the company only makes $10 billion but allows us healthy air to breath and clean water to drink. And for some reason people still vote these loonies into office. It’s so depressing. I should take some drugs to help with that from the pharmaceutical companies who charge $100 a bottle of pills to Americans that they charge $0.50 some other company as a generic because the healthcare bill in America was worked out behind closed doors with these lobbyists. Hopefully we can get our democracy back and hopefully we can pass some amendment to the constitution to stop corporate money from invading politics and prosecute people who make these backroom deals for quick financial gains for the downgrade of society.
That became a bit of a rant, so be warned. But basically, we need to get out democracy back to help the people not the corporations.