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If You Remember Nothing Else About the Financial Crisis, Remember This

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Published : January 20th, 2013
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Category : Market Analysis

Few knowledgeable people talk about the need for financial reform anymore, just a few short years after the financial crisis and collapse.

The right talks about getting tough on the weak and settling old scores, and the left is losing its way in obtuse gimmickry and quack economics that promote their own statist agendas. Pile enough rancid margarine on the bread and you won't see its thinness or the mold.

The broad center, independents, and progressives are largely silent, having averted one almost certain disastrous choice in the most recent national election, only to find themselves still on unsteady ground with a weak and wavering 'champion' who may once more betray their trust for his own interests, and the deal.

And yet this is not nearly our darkest hour. That may be yet to come.

All the reform that has occurred so far has been largely window-dressing. Financial and political corruption is a tax that the real economy cannot support or endure while remaining free.

 Until there is substantial reform, there will be no sustainable recovery. This is only the appearance of recovery in the empire of illusion.

"From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent.

Simon Johnson, 13 Bankers

"The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises.

If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time."

Simon Johnson, The Quiet Coup

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