The implosion of the subprime mortgage bubble and the collapse of Wall Street had ripple effects that plunged the entire world into a recession and crippled our economy for years. Twenty million jobs were lost across the world; countless American families lost their houses and their savings. To this day, justice has yet to be served; none of the perpetrators are behind bars and the big Wall Street banks are already back to their old tricks – and making billions in the profit. To add insult to grievous injury, new evidence indicates that less than two weeks before the crash, high-ranking officials in the George W. Bush administration and influential Congressmen were given advance warning of the crash – and got their money out of the stock market before it tanked.
For instance, Senator Shelley Capito (R-WV) suddenly dumped $350,000 worth of stock that he held in Citigroup – just one day before the stock dropped to $64 per share. Or take Congressman Bachus (R-AL), who suddenly made a bet that the market would fall, bought options for $7,846 on the Dow Jones – and a few days later sold it all and doubled his money. John Vibes at the Activist Post, remarked “these actions would be illegal for any American in any other circumstance, but members of Congress and high-ranking government officials are actually exempt from insider trading laws.”
The little-known immunity given to Congressmen sparked a huge wave of public backlash which ultimately came to naught. Peter Schweizer of the Hoover Institute lamented the gross miscarriage of justice in our government in a 60 Minutes interview, years later: “The people who make the rules are the political class in Washington and they’ve conveniently written them in such a way that they don’t apply to themselves. These meetings were so sensitive– that they would actually confiscate cell phones and Blackberries going into those meetings. What we know is that those meetings were held one day and literally the next day Congressman Bachus would engage in buying stock options based on apocalyptic briefings he had the day before from the Fed chairman and treasury secretary. I mean, talk about a stock tip.”
Against unprecedented obstructionism from the Republican controlled-Congress, President Obama has guided our nation out of troubled waters. He’s halved the unemployment rate, cut a trillion dollars from our deficit, created eight million jobs, and posted a GDP growth rate of 3.9% in the second quarter of 2015- but he can only do so much. The crooks on Wall Street ended up engineering a colossal transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy, setting up the absurd level of income inequality that is strangling our middle class and the funneling of political power to the oligarchs who dominate modern American politics. It is absolutely disgusting to learn that so many of the elite were able to save their wealth while the American people suffered, and justice demands its retribution.
Colin Taylor is the 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.