We interrupt this financial blog for an important political message:
I NEVER comment on politics but this spending bill is a travesty. Gives TBTF banks ability to trade "financial WMDs" with FDIC backstop…
— Jesse Felder (@jessefelder) December 14, 2014
First of all, let me say I haven’t read the actual bill but I’m sure none of the folks in the house who voted for it haven’t either. What I do know is that Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail banks have basically held the federal government hostage by inserting their own provision into the latest spending bill that allows the government to avoid shut down.
The banks are essentially saying, ‘let us keep trading what Warren Buffett calls “financial weapons of mass destruction” with an explicit bailout backstop from the FDIC or else… [the government will cease to operate].’ To be clear, this is one way banks are allowed to play the heads I win (and keep all the trading profits), tails you lose game (and American taxpayers pick up the tab) in the markets.
What I find especially disgusting about this is that Citigroup lobbyists, not congress, wrote the entire provision that has been inserted into the spending bill. Then Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, made personal calls to key players in the house to ensure the bill would pass. What’s more, another provision in the bill allows for congresspersons to receive 10X as much money from lobbyists, like those from Citi who wrote the provision, in the future as they do already today.
Now I know this isn’t about ‘did we learn nothing from the financial crisis’? We certainly did learn something and the Dodd Frank reforms, with critical insight and input from Paul Volcker, went a long way toward rectifying the problems. No – this is more about the banks paying people off to put their interests above those of the American people.
And I, for one, am utterly ashamed of our political process at a time like this.
Full Disclosure: I have not been registered Republican or Democrat for over a decade because, in the words of Richard Jeni, it’s just too much fun to, “bitch no matter who wins.”
Now back to your regularly scheduled market insights.