Our system of market (finance) capitalism is sick, and the big-picture symptoms—slower-than-average growth, higher income inequality, stagnant wages, greater market fragility, the inability of many people to afford middle-class basics like a home, retirement, and education—are being felt throughout our entire economy and, indeed, our society.
93 percent of all the public consultation taken on the Volcker Rule, one of the most contentious parts of the Dodd-Frank regulation, had been taken with the financial industry.
Finance holds a disproportionate amount of power in sheer economic terms. (It represents about 7 percent of our economy but takes around 25 percent of all corporate profits, while creating only 4 percent of all jobs.) But its power to shape the thinking and the mind-set of government officials, regulators, CEOs, and even many consumers (who are, of course, brought into the status quo market system via their 401(k) plans) is even more important. This “cognitive capture,” as academics call it, was a crucial reason that the policy decisions taken by the administration post-2008 resulted in large gains for the financial industry but losses for homeowners, small businesses, workers, and consumers.
One thing is clear: the business of America isn’t business anymore. It’s finance. From “activist investors” to investment banks, from management consultants to asset managers, from high-frequency traders to insurance companies, today, financiers dictate terms to American business, rather than the other way around. Wealth creation within the financial markets has become an end in itself, rather than a means to the end of shared economic prosperity. The tail is wagging the dog.
==Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business (Foroohar, Rana)
(ANTIMEDIA) United States — In a reversal of the smidgen of accountability forced on Bank of America for its role in the 2008 financial crisis, a U.S. appeals court threw out a jury’s verdict — and with it, the $1.27 billion fine BoA would have paid for mortgage fraud.
Though the Department of Justice had alleged Countrywide Financial Corp., which was purchased by Bank of America in 2008, had sold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac thousands of bad loans through its “Hustle” mortgage program, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York found insufficient evidence to back charges of fraud.
“The trial evidence fails to demonstrate the contemporaneous fraudulent intent necessary to prove a scheme to defraud through contractual promises,” wrote Circuit Judge Richard Wesley on the court’s unanimous decision, as Reuters reported.