It seems every day that we learn of new ways Wall Street is screwing us. Today it’s the extra margin that banks are making in mortgages by colluding to prevent them from coming down even further and the stock traders that are cutting in line in front of us at the exchanges to profit at our expense.
Insiders like Sandy Lewis are doing their level best to warn us to these myriad dangers in doing business with Wall Street:
Goldman Sachs pays vast fines to avoid prosecution for mortgage securities fraud. Barclays manipulates interest rates. The Senate exposes HSBC as a racketeering enterprise, laundering money for drug cartels. Banks are laden with bad assets. And Wall Street, Washington, the press corps, everyone sits and stares like so many dumb cows. “The complicity on Wall Street is sickness!” Mr. Lewis says. He fixes you with his laser stare. “If you think the big firms are being honest” — his tone slides streetwise — “well, sweetheart, go think something else!”
The part of that that really stands out to me is this: “Wall Street, Washington, the press corps, everyone sits and stares like so many dumb cows.” Why the hell don’t people vote with their pocketbooks and take their business elsewhere?
And make no mistake, I’m talking about the bank who holds your deposits, the “adviser” managing your money, the insurance company you work with or the lender who helps you buy your house, car, etc. If we’ve learned one thing over the past few years it’s that the vast majority of them are dirty in one way or another. They thrive at your expense and you’re doing nothing about it! Why?
Clearly, folks are numb to the news. They are tired of hearing about it. Personally, I think the viscosity of apathy and laziness prevent people from doing something about it. Then you have the Occupy Wall Street folks whose leaders actually make a great case for overcoming it.
But you don’t have to camp out in the street to do the right thing. Besides, it appears there are way more crazies down there than folks making sense. No, it’s as simple as moving your money to a credit union and deciding to “FIRE Wall Street.” It will make a huge difference to your pocketbook and, hopefully, also to your conscience.