It’s been six years since Wall Street’s recklessness and criminal fraud caused trillions of dollars in economic damage and nearly shattered the global economy. The 2008 financial crisis opened millions of Americans’ eyes to the widespread corruption and mismanagement in the financial industry, and built public support for stronger bank oversight. Initial steps were taken in that direction, primarily in the Dodd/Frank financial reform bill, and more remains to be done.
But today Wall Street is on the offensive. Banks are expanding their political influence, fighting to roll back the measures already in place and working to block further reforms. In our money-driven political system, they have plenty of ammunition with which to wage their battle.
Bankers still hold powerful government positions, just as they’ve done in the last several Republican and Democratic administrations. “Regulatory capture” has led top banking watchdogs to claim that they are not “cops on the beat,” when that is exactly what they’re supposed to be. And after this year’s Republican electoral sweep, Wall Street is moving to consolidate its wins.