Fear and Loathing on Wall Street

You’ve probably heard about the Wall Street scandal, and you probably understand it as well as I do: Some really, really slick guys tricked a bunch of investors into buying securities that were designed to go bust while they made money by betting against the securities.

At least that’s what they’ll be talking about on Capitol Hill today when Goldman Sachs executives face off against a U.S. Senate subcommittee. You wouldn’t know it from listening to CNN, though. Wolf Blitzer and political analyst David Gergen were tut-tutting about the hearings yesterday in the Situation Room. The way they see it, poor Lloyd Blankfein (above) and the other billionaires who run Goldman Sachs are being treated unfairly. Gergen avowed that they’re the victims of a political “hanging” – convicted before they’ve been tried.

The way I see it, the SEC charges against Goldman Sachs are reminiscent of Al Capone’s tax evasion trial. Everyone knew the gangster was guilty of far greater crimes but the only charge officials could prove was that he failed to pay his income tax.

You don’t have to be very smart to realize that America’s finance industry is a huge racket. Aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve and by U.S. politicians bought off by massive campaign contributions, the billionaires have turned Wall Street into a giant casino so they can bilk investors – not only from America but from the whole world – out of their hard-earned cash.

You probably know, too, that President Obama is finally trying to do something about it. Not enough, of course. Even the president doesn’t have the clout to break up the mighty Wall Street gang. But Obama and his allies in Congress have come up with proposals that would do something to curb the abuses.

And you’ve probably heard that the Republicans have said – once again -“Hell no you can’t!” They’ve blocked Senate debate of the proposed legislation by threatening to filibuster.

So the beat goes on.

And as long as everyday Americans put up with the abuses, they will continue – and expand. Trust me, we can’t count on the politicians to clean up this mess unless we make them do it.

For more information on the Wall Street racket, you might want to check out this interview with Les Leopold, author of “The Looting of America”: