With the passage of [America's] financial reform bill, giant banks see a golden opportunity to finally put the financial crisis, along with their culpability for wrecking our economy, in the rearview mirror.
"We are very pleased to have this certainty and closure," declared Steve Bartlett when the House-Senate conference committee had finished negotiating. Bartlett is the president of the Financial Services Roundtable, a powerful big bank lobbying group that would like nothing more than to make this legislation the one and only policy response to the banking system's catastrophic failure.
It's up to all of us to make sure that it is not.
Related rabble.ca story:
A major turn took place at the G20 finance ministers meeting in Busan, South Korea, two weeks ago, as the G20 reasserted deficit and spending reduction as its top priority, marking the final step in the (re)triumph of neoliberalism as global economy's modus operandi. Britain and Canada were the major proponents at the meeting of this deficit warrior approach to recovery, while China has cautioned against too rapid an end to stimulus efforts.
The world economy is mis-functioning. The whole world is sending money to the richest country, the U.S., to feed its consumption habits. While Germany, Japan, China, and the oil exporters are in a surplus position, the rest of the world is in deficit. This is a serious problem because, unlike the U.S., other deficit countries cannot settle their accounts by printing their own money.
In the midst of a world financial crisis, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has mounted an international campaign to thwart the efforts of European leaders to force major banks to take out -- and pay for -- compulsory bad loan insurance. The insurance principle that lies behind the European proposal is that in bad times, banks less affected by crisis, should shoulder responsibility along with those in trouble. Harper has decided to use his position as host of June's G8/G20 meetings to oppose prudent measures to restore some order to out-of-control banking practices. The prime minister's campaign is designed to sabotage proposals made by conservative leaders from France and Germany.
Critics spend a lot of time telling Canadians that they should disregard the Occupy movement. They claim that the sins of Wall Street didn't happen here, so Canadians have no business making such a fuss.
The financial sector's PR machine has had great success convincing folks that Canadian banks are pure as the driven snow. Their message incessantly repeats their claim that there were no bailouts of Canadian banks during the 2008 financial crisis. You Occupiers have nothing to complain about, they say. Maybe in the U.S. people can be mad. But not here.
Since bank bailouts are presented as some kind of litmus test for the legitimacy of Canadian finance, we need to deal with this red herring.