Angry at the Banks?
Some have accused me of having an “obsession” with the Occupy protesters. Many think I have contempt for them. However, upon introspection, I don’t think this is true. I think “frustration” might be a better word.
I think we can all agree that the government is broken. Much of our system is broken. I like the energy of the Occupy people and I think they have or maybe had the potential to actually enact change. However my frustration comes from where I believe they have the wrong target. They’re targeting the banks. They’re angry at Wall Street. They’re angry at the players for playing the game. It seems the angst against those who create and enforce the rules has been minimal. Where is the anger for Washington? Why is it “Occupy Wall Street” and not “Occupy Capitol Hill”? If people are so angry at the banks for what happened, then let’s look at one of the reasons that Wall Street is allowed to play by the rules they have. Let’s “follow the money”.
Using the data available at OpenSecrets.org, I looked at all the members of the US Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee and their campaign donations for a period between 2007 and 2011. Some of these people have come and gone from office but they were members of the committee according to the Senate Banking Committee web site.
I also only looked at the top 11 sectors for the donations. Maybe not so amazingly, the frequent #1 category for the members was “Lawyers”. But looking beyond that, here is the data, keeping in mind, this is the committee who sets the rules for Wall Street Banks and their investments. (Note: A zero in a column does not indicate that Senator took zero dollars from that sector, it just means the amount was not in their top 11. The “rank” is how that sector ranked for that Senator.)
|Senator||Securities & Investment||Rank||Commercial Banks||Rank||Finance/Credit||Rank||Misc. Finance||Rank|
|Tim Johnson, Chair||$285,402||2||$214,905||5||0||N/A||177,600||7|
|Richard Shelby – Ranking||$769,038||1||$263,400||6||$291,400||5||$163,350||10|
I broke the table down to Democrats on the top half and Republicans on the bottom half. So is it just Republicans that care about Wall Street? Is it mainly the Republican party who is the “Friends of Wall Street”? Here are a couple more stats:
Democrats on this committee received $9,671,055.
Republicans on this committee received $7,452,743
The Securities & Investment ranking averaged a 3.6 for Democrats and a 4.5 for Republicans.
The Commercial Banks ranking averaged a 7.8 for Democrats and 6.1 for Republicans.
Our own Jack Reed doesn’t get out of this unscathed. The Securities and Investments sector donated more than $410,000 to Reed during the last four years. His #1 was also Lawyers, at $411,000.
A total of $17,123,798 was donated by Wall Street to members of the US Senate Banking Committee. So ask yourself, when you have one group of people donating $17 million to politicians, who do you think the politicians are going to listen to? No one politician is solely to blame and this data shows that neither is one party. It’s the whole system, we see over and over again, it is the fox watching the hen house.