The world’s largest banks have been accused of many things in recent years, including taking excessive risk in the run-up to 2008, doing great damage to the American economy by blowing themselves up and then working hard to resist any sensible notions of financial reform.
All of this is true, but it misses what is likely to be the most profound negative impact of the banks’ behavior on most Americans. The banks’ actions led directly to an increase in government debt, which in turn has made the reduction of that debt by “cutting runaway spending” a centerpiece of the Republican presidential campaign to date.
As a result of this pressure, Medicare now stands on the brink of being eliminated as a viable form of social insurance. Yet the executives who lead these banks – and the politicians with whom they work closely – will not be held accountable this election season.
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Medicynical Note: The republicans longstanding dream has been to undo the social programs of the New Deal and Medicare. They’ve worked unceasingly over the past 50 years to accomplish this goal and thanks to the banking disaster believe they can reach their goal—if they control congress and the presidency after the next election.
Imagine rolling back the programs that allowed unprecedented prosperity and security to our population. In the end we’ll get what we deserve, and are willing to fund.