Courtesy of Pam Martens.
On September 15, 2013, CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press to reminisce on the five-year anniversary of the Wall Street crash. After host David Gregory remarked that only 14 percent of Americans had a positive view of Wall Street, Bartiromo donned her vintage Wall Street p.r. hat and reframed the problem:
Bartiromo: “We need to get beyond the conversation of is Wall Street evil, are the bankers evil and causing pain; and toward the conversation of, how do you create sustainable economic growth? That will answer the issue of inequality. Because with growth comes jobs.”
There are three structural reasons we can’t get past the conversation that Wall Street is evil — the first being that it is evil under its current form and the public is reminded of just how evil on a weekly basis with the revelation of its ever more ingenious crimes, like over-charging by 80 times for electricity, withholding aluminum off the market and driving up the price of canned beer and soda, or selling investments designed to fail to unwary investors.
An equal obstacle to changing the subject is that nothing in the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation has slimmed down these banks or separated them from using insured deposits in their illegal wealth transfer schemes – moving wealth from our pockets to theirs. In fact, three of Wall Street’s worst actors, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup, now control a combined $2.539 trillion in domestic deposits in their FDIC insured subsidiaries, a stunning 41 percent of all 6,940 U.S. banks’ holdings.
Bartiromo’s simplistic platitude that job creation will repair the income and wealth gap in America ignores the structural monster of Wall Street: the mislabeled free market is itself the primary obstacle blocking any hope of leveling the playing field in terms of wealth creation, income equality, or economic growth.