Letter: Congress fails on finance crisis
Published 9:45 am, Wednesday, December 14, 2011
AEver wonder what this whole occupy movement is about? I can't say I have watched much of the TV coverage, but I have listened to folks on the radio discuss what is happening. So far, the vast majority of the comments describe the occupiers as being angry at American corporations and America's 1 percent. The occupiers want corporations prosecuted for corrupt and fraudulent operations. They want them to pay more taxes to provide more for the occupiers.
We all remember the failure of Lehman Brothers when we found out that there were even bigger problems at Bear Stearns, AIG, Bank of America, etc. Our Congressional representatives responded to the requests of our secretary of the treasury to provide large amounts of money to aid these institutions so that our overall financial system did not collapse. We learned that credit agencies did not do an accurate job and fulfilling their important role in assessing risk. We learned that so many financial transactions were interconnected and in some ways being insured by derivatives. We learned that there was fraud and corruption that led us to the brink of a financial meltdown.
Warren Buffett testified to Congress in the 1980s about the risk and uncertainty associated with derivatives. Yet in 2008, we read how surprised our Congressional leaders were at the problems those derivatives caused. We learned that our Congress promoted the expansion and growth of Freddie and Fannie without effective Congressional oversight. We learn that President Clinton repealed portions of the Glass-Steagall Act, which was an Act passed after the stock market crash of 1929 as a way to try and avoid another crash in our financial system. Clinton's signature was supported by 90 of 100 senators. We know that Bernie Madoff is a criminal, but didn't the SEC audit him a few times? Doesn't Congress oversee the SEC?
Members of Congress enjoy telling each of us what we want to hear. Somehow, we let our emotions and allegiance blur our vision. It's like being a Red Sox fan and proclaiming that Yankee Derek Jeter is not a Hall of Fame baseball player. In the next election, how many of you will vote against your incumbent representative of Congress? Do you still believe that your representative is smart, trustworthy and not part of the problem? Maybe you should re-evaluate your political team's ability and assess its true record. Here is a news flash: former Red Sox player Nomar Garciaparra is not getting into the baseball Hall of Fame, no matter how much you enjoyed cheering for him and no matter how well he played the game.
Our founding fathers left a country in Europe where the ruling class was too privileged. They came to America in search of a place that they could have a better life. They adopted the framework that has enabled the United States of America to thrive as a place where you can have a better life. They left the rest up to the voters.