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The late 1980s were a quaint period, when the admirals of finance were still eligible for punishment under criminal law. Savings and loans were collapsing, just as their larger counterparts would 20 years later, pillaged by executive incompetence and fraud.
One might expect this to occur under George W., who made no bones that his presidency was all about aiding his fellow trust fund swells. But it would only get worse under the self styled change agent, Barack Obama.
"We're going right back to the robber baron days," says Kennedy. "And it's eating away at our heart and soul."
Your neighborhood gas station doesn't get a piece of anything, says Sherri Stone of the Clickkeyword[Petroleum+Marketers+Association]" >Petroleum Marketers Association, which represents 8,000 convenience stores and oil wholesalers. Typically, a gas station makes just seven cents per gallon, all of which is eaten up by credit card fees.
Yet it's the elderly who take the greatest beating. In 1979, Clickkeyword[Joe+Kennedy]" >Joe Kennedy founded Citizens Energy, a nonprofit that provides heating oil to the poor and aged in 22 states. Three years ago, it cost $1,200 per winter to heat a normal house. Today, it's $4,000, he says. economy. But both parties in Congress remain willing to protect Wall Street at all costs even if it means terrorizing the country.
mantra had become the nation's official business plan. Instead of watching the wicked more closely, deregulation allowed Big Finance to rampage untethered.
process. "Every time the economy starts to show signs of rising, the oil speculators jump in," says Clickkeyword[Joseph+P.+Kennedy+II]" >Joseph Kennedy II, a former congressman from Massachusetts. "They suck the life out of the economy."
The appointment of Clickkeyword[Eric+Holder]" >Attorney General Eric Holder said it all. He'd been a partner at the law firm of Covington Burling, whose clients included Goldman, JP Morgan, Clickkeyword[Citigroup+Inc.]" >Citigroup, and Bank of America. The year before he joined the Obama administration, he made $2.5 million through fees from the very people he was supposed to prosecute.
imploded under the largest fraud in Texas history, the Houston PD was busy rousting check bouncers.
"Wall Street is a high crime area in which we basically have no cops on the beat," says former securities lawyer Dennis Kelleher, head of Better Markets, a nonprofit devoted to protecting taxpayers from the Too Big to Fail crowd.
Yet the heirs to Phil Gramm have done their best to protect speculators, hosing the nation in the Ferragamo Belt White And Silver
As analysts spoke of recovery in April 2011, the price of gasoline approached the $4 mark. The wicked swings had resumed. Last spring, it topped out once more at $3.96 a gallon.
But Washington didn't grasp the bloodbath's obvious lesson: Bankers still couldn't be trusted. Reagan's "Government Bad, Private Sector Good" Hermes Belt H
But this time it had become difficult to screech about environmentalists or supply and demand with a straight face. Even the banks were confessing their sins. An analyst for Goldman Gucci Belt On Ebay Sachs admitted that banks like his had added an artificial 40 percent to the price of a barrel. For airlines: $9.8 billion. That means every time you fly, every time you buy an apple or a beer, the nation's thirstiest welfare queens take a cut.
Wall Street: A high crime area
So federal prosecutors did something that would never happen today: They convicted 1,000 of the biggest and worst offenders. They also filed some 800,000 civil suits, and banned sleazebags from ever working in banking again.
By the time Clickkeyword[George+W.+Bush]" >George W. Only 1,300 are devoted to white collar crime. Most police departments don't have a single detective working the country club set. When Enron Ferragamo Belt Real
With local investigations rare, and the feds purposefully averting their gaze, bankers were allowed to take down the housing market in a scheme 70 times the magnitude of the savings and loan collapse.
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