Too Big To Tolerate

13 May

Think back to four and a half years ago.  What were you doing September 13, 2008?  I can recall arriving at Refugio State Beach, setting up our tent at a new campsite for me and enjoying a beer with some old friends after a long drive south while the sun set gracefully over the Pacific Ocean.

For the first time in three years, I had a week off and was ready to relax and enjoy some down time.  That summer had been tough. Housing prices were suddenly collapsing, markets had trimmed 20% from their October 2007 high point, but still, economic crisis had not arrived. All that and I was getting divorced!

We enjoyed our beach camping for only 2 of the planned 7 days, however.  I’ll never forget walking up to buy some firewood and noticing the headline on a USA Today.  “Lehman Bankrupt! Merrill Lynch Sold! Markets Plummet!”

“What!?” was my first thought.  “Lehman Brothers is bankrupt? Merrill Lynch is Bank of America? AIG, is next? How the hell…” And then I realized, my vacation was over. My clients would certainly be worried about this news.  If I didn’t take their calls, in a moment like this, well, what was I paid for anyway?

I went back to camp with wood and the newspaper.  Told my shocked friends I had to leave, packed up my tent, charged my dead cell phone in the car and as I drove north, began dialing all my clients. It was the beginning of a message I repeated nearly 200 times – “This will pass, America will survive, today is not the day to sell.”

Of all the things I learned from the 2008 market crash, I never suspected I’d learn that our government is, in fact, now owned by major Wall Street banks and other large corporations.  Perhaps I was naive before then to believe the laws of our land were applicable to all of us.

Since 2008, not a single Wall Street executive has even been accused of wrong-doing. Not one.  Not a single piece of competent legislation has passed to better control banks.  And today, the banks actually stand more powerful and more dangerously risky than they were in 2008.  While millions of Americans have weathered home repossessions, job losses and more for the past half-decade, Wall Street received tax-payer bailouts, no recrimination and worse, no real rules to prevent what happened in 2008 from happening again.

This article by Ted Kaufman at Forbes magazine spells out a new idea…that big banks are Too Big To Tolerate.  Not Too Big To Fail. Too Big to Tolerate.  And I agree 100%  He promises follow up articles on possible solutions. I will post them here when those come out.  In the mean time, write your Senator and Congressional Representative and tell them you are tired of their pandering to major Wall Street companies.



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