Matt Taibbi: OccupyWallStreet Makes Invisible Corporate Crimes Visible
Rolling Stones columnist Matt Taibbi writes, "The essence of this particular sort of oligarchic power is its complexity and day-to-day invisibility: Its worst crimes, from bribery and insider trading and market manipulation, to backroom dominance of government and the usurping of the regulatory structure from within, simply can't be seen by the public or put on TV."
The massive crowds springing up in cities around the country, and even the world, in OccupyWallStreet protests are giving a face — many faces — to Wall Street corporate crimes. These "crimes" are not illegal, but are forms of legalized gambling where "the house" is the American people, and the house is losing big time because the players have figured out how to game the system legally and take it for all it's worth.
Since the house makes the rules and enforces them, the American people and Congress need to get busy immediately and fix these security breaches by imposing regulations and new taxes on profits made purely through gambling rather than investing on Wall Street. OccupyWallStreet's presence is the first step to exposing this scam.
So far, the corporate owned mainstream media has hardly registered the growing presence of OccupyWallStreet crowds, nor the clashes with law enforcement and government. So keep the movement going by joining the crowd nearest you with even a few hours of your time or check in and see how you can donate or help (Official OccupyWallStreet Site).
The 99% are speaking up for a bigger slice of the American profitability pie. This also translates into less corporate control in our personal lives such as access to holistic medicine, organic, non-GMO foods and supplements, and healthcare freedom for all.
Taibbi has distilled a list of five demands Americans should be looking for immediate action on and sums up the enormity of our moment right now: "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."
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.
Read Taibbi's advice to the Occupy Wall Street protesters at Rolling Stone.