One of the reasons why America has evolved into the most powerful and influential nation in the world is our ability to adapt. When someone knocks our feet out from under us, we don't just lay there and pout. We get back up, dust ourselves off, and then take steps to make sure that that someone will never be able to knock us down again. Well, the bankers have knocked our feet out from under not only us, but the rest of the world as well, and if we don't stand up now and fix their wagon, they'll keep knocking us down through their recklessness until we'll no longer have the strength to stand anymore.
Before I lose your interest with a long diatribe about the dangers of allowing a handful of ivory-tower dilettantes to control the wealth, security and prosperity of nations, let me invite you to take part in a gathering of those who want serious change: this Saturday, April 11th, 2 p.m. in the Bicentennial Plaza in Raleigh, A New Way Forward is sponsoring a Nest Egg Hunt to highlight its core issues:
1. restrict the ways that bankers can lobby and serve in the government.
2. prohibit compensation plans that encourages huge short-term risk.
3. financial industries can't branch out beyond their primary financial offering
4. regulation enforcement needs to be done in an open and transparent matter
I'm...not really sure if we're actually going to be poking around in bushes looking for said Nest Eggs, or if it's merely a metaphor. An actual hunt would be pretty cool, since my babies are now Big People and I haven't done the Easter Egg thing in forever. I wonder if they miss it as much as I do...
Anyway, back to those ivory-tower dilettantes. Most of these folks sitting on boards have never sucked their breath in while opening their light bill, or sat down with their about-to-graduate-from-high-school son or daughter to try to figure out where college money will come from, or had to put a few things back at the grocery check-out, or any number of things that we have to face nearly every single day of our adult lives, in order to precariously cling to the life we've worked hard to secure for our families. We understand risk all too well, because every mistake we make has consequences. But those consequences, if we survive them, teach us lessons.
It is plain to me and many others that those who control our mega financial corporations have learned nothing from the devastating losses their risky behavior has wrought. Plainly put, by loosening the regulations that have just barely reigned in these banks for decades, and by ignoring the underlying origin and need for anti-trust actions, we've allowed these banks to consolidate to the point where they (and we) consider them, "too big to fail". We have inadvertently and unwisely removed the aura of consequence that is critical when contemplating risk. With no consequence, there is no risk, and from this formula foolish behavior is no longer considered foolish anymore.
It may have been naive, but I and many others assumed a new Democratic President backed by a Democratic Congress would have the desire and power to make the integral changes necessary to reinsert the aura of consequence into the boardrooms again. While we have heard some strong words, the strong actions have yet to materialize. Until that happens, the root causes of our current recession will not have been addressed, and the stumbling will continue. This is why our stock market hasn't recovered in the way we'd hoped, because investors see the inherent dangers that are still in the system.
Come out on Saturday, and meet me and Jerimee and many others who want to send this message to our elected officials: "We have earned a seat at their boardroom table through your bailouts, and now we demand that our voices be heard. One way or another, there will be consequences once again. Either through legislation, or at the voting booth. Take your pick."
For those (like me) who could get lost in a fricking closet, here's a map.