Elizabeth Warren fired a resounding challenge to all the 2016 presidential candidates, calling for a definitive end to the culture of collusion and nepotism between Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce. She charged everyone to end the “revolving door” between Wall Street and the government, demanding that “anyone who wants to be President should appoint only people who have already demonstrated they are independent, who have already demonstrated that they can hold giant banks accountable.” Her comments are aimed not only at the Republican candidates, for whom ethically questionable relationships and toying with corruption is par for the course, but also at Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, in efforts to nudge them further to the left.
Warren’s speech at Netroots Nation in Phoenix, AZ, highlighted the frequency from which Wall Street high-ups take important appointments in the government, like three out of the last four Treasury Secretaries. From these positions of power, it is only natural that they work to de-regulate and funnel more profits to their allies on Wall Street, from whom they receive lucrative consulting gigs after they leave office- like former Attorney General Eric Holder’s return to Covington & Burling, the law firm he worked at before joining the government. He is followed by five other departing Justice Department members. It should come as no surprise that the firm was holding a corner office for him in anticipation of his return, to reward him for insulating them from prosecution after the Wall Street crash of 2008.
Warren also called for full support for Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who is championing a bill that would prohibit bonuses for Wall Street executives who take jobs in the government, in an effort to discourage the rampant collusion and try to instill some sort of sense of trust in the relationship between our government and Wall street and at least a cursory attempt at oversight and accountability. The American people have not forgotten how the big banks sent the world’s economy into the tank because they made some bad bets on risky mortgages, and we remember how they got off scott-free for it. The current influence that Wall Street has on our politics is toxic and unethical; it’s far past time we put some kind of restraints on such behavior.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.