Three years ago tonight we were all watching a new world unfold.
Many of us did not know how bad it would be, how close to utter collapse we would come, or three years later how little would have actually changed (besides the unemployment rate being 40% higher)
What has changed is the confidence and trust we have in the Government, Politicians, and the United States as a whole.
In a piece the Frank Rich wrote for NY Magazine for 9/11 he speculated that 9/11 may not have been the worst thing that happened to the United States in the last 10 years. That award may go to what happened in the fall of 2008:
In retrospect, the most consequential event of the past ten years may not have been 9/11 or the Iraq War but the looting of the American economy by those in power in Washington and on Wall Street. This was happening in plain sight—or so we can now see from a distance. At the time, we were so caught up in Al Qaeda’s external threat to America that we didn’t pay proper attention to the more prosaic threats within.
Even as the middle class was promised a free ride, those at the top were awarded a free pass—not just with historically low tax rates that compounded America’s rampant economic inequality but with lax supervision of their own fiscal misbehavior.
It is that America—the country where rampaging greed usurped the common good in wartime, the country that crashed just as Bush fled the White House—that we live in today. It has little or no resemblance to the generous and heroic America we glimpsed on 9/11 and the days that followed. Our economy and our politics are broken.
When you watch these videos, remember that this crisis unfolded while Tim Geithner was the head of the FRBNY, and Ben Bernanke was the Federal Reserve Chairman, the former received a promotion, the latter kept his job and “saved the system”. Remember that after getting trillions of dollars in aid the banks paid out record bonuses in 2010. Remember that to date, there has been no “perp walk” for anyone connected to his crisis including any member of the executive team of Lehman Brothers. Finally remember that despite all arguments to the contrary TARP (as was reconstituted in July of 2010 ($475Billion)) still has $237B net outstanding or 40% of total outflows.
When “people” lament the lack of confidence or trust, in the system, one is amused by how short their memories really are. TBTF is the law of the land. As long as every policy decision, is run through the paradigm of “must not have Lehman 2.0”, there will be no confidence. Without failure which is merely accountability there cannot be real success. Subverting the interests of the majority, in order to ensure the survival of not the financial system, but the BANKS that make up the financial system, will end up costing the United States the core of what made her a once great country, in a way no terrorist organization ever could.
From September 14, 2008:
The fall out from September 17, 2008: