Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo , Citigroup, and Bank of America.
Is the U.S. at the Mercy of an Unstoppable Oligarchy?
Do humans breath air?
Bill Moyers: And you write that they control 60 percent of our gross national product?
James Kwak: They have assets equivalent to 60 percent of our gross national product. And to put this in perspective, in the mid-1990s, these six banks or their predecessors, since there have been a lot of mergers, had less than 20 percent. Their assets were less than 20 percent of the gross national product.
Bill Moyers: And what's the threat from an oligarchy of this size and scale?
Simon Johnson: They can distort the system, Bill. They can change the rules of the game to favor themselves. And unfortunately, the way it works in modern finance is when the rules favor you, you go out and you take a lot of risk. And you blow up from time to time, because it's not your problem. When it blows up, it's the taxpayer and it's the government that has to sort it out.
Bill Moyers: So, you're not kidding when you say it's an oligarchy?
James Kwak: Exactly. I think that in particular, we can see how the oligarchy has actually become more powerful in the last since the financial crisis. If we look at the way they've behaved in Washington. For example, they've been spending more than $1 million per day lobbying Congress and fighting financial reform. I think that's for some time, the financial sector got its way in Washington through the power of ideology, through the power of persuasion. And in the last year and a half, we've seen the gloves come off. They are fighting as hard as they can to stop reform.
Personally, IMHO, the bail-outs were intended to empower, enrich and grow the big banks.
Nice to see a bit of main stream coverage on the tyranny of the banks.