We live in an era where the line between politicians and bankers is almost non existent. Bankers work on Wall St for a few years, then go into politics. After this, they go back to banking having learned the machinations of government and how to manipulate it better. This revolving door is well documented, yet accepted as business as usual in Washington DC.
Strictly speaking, the US government isn’t really a government anymore — it is for the most part, an infrastructure designed ensures huge financial interests are protected and bailed out when necessary. Any doubt about this should have been erased in 2008 when the US economy collapsed, and Wall St was given, lent or guaranteed roughly $12.8 trillion by the tax payer, with virtually no strings attached. The colossal crime they committed went almost completely unpunished, and Wall St is yet again ripping off consumers and rigging the economic system for their own benefit.
While many politicians have paid lip service to holding banks to account for the mass defrauding of American citizens, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is actually doing something about it — and loudly.
In a blistering Senate Banking Committee hearing, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf was blasted by Warren, who told him that he should be resign and “be criminally investigated” for his bank’s appropriation of customers’ information to create millions of false accounts. Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees guilty of creating these false accounts in order to increase the number of accounts each customer holds to hit sales targets, and they were fined $185 million. Warren though, believes Stumpf should be the one to take responsibility for the organizational disaster. “It’s gutless leadership,” she told him.
“If you want to find out how strong a company’s ethics are,” she continued, reading back his own words to him, “Don’t listen to what its people say, watch what they do.”
She then proceeded to flay him Game of Thrones style in what must have been the most humiliating ordeal of his life.
While the recent crimes committed by Wells Fargo probably pale in comparison to the likes of Goldman Sachs and other colossal financial institutions leading up to 2008, it is another example of the complete lack of transparency and accountability from the top down. CEOs are paid vast fortunes to run these enormous banks, yet are never held to account for their crimes.
It is worth watching the whole exchange, as it is the perfect example of how financial executives earning millions of dollars a year should be treated after their banks rip off regular people:
Elizabeth Warren really is one bad mother fucker.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.