Blogs & Comment

The insatiable U.S. financial sector

We had a near collapse in the financial system in 2008 — yet not much seems to have changed in the financial sector, according to recent reports in the U.S. media. Cases in point:

Regulatory arbitrage is alive and well as highlighted by this CNBC pieceon how Wall Street will circumvent the financial reform billpassed recently by Washington

Fox Businesssays Goldman Sachs already has figured out a way to get around the Volcker Rule

Just months after legislation banned certain practices by credit card companies, the Wall Street Journalsays executives have figured out new ways to trip up customers.

Bloomberg newsnotes that the New York Attorney General is conducting a fraud investigation into how life insurance companies appear to have skimmed profits from families owed benefits for loved ones killed in the Afghanistan war.

Alas, decades of easy monetary policy and the Greenspan Put has created an ever growing financial sector, which,like the Venus Flytrap-hybrid plant in the 1960 movie, Little Shop of Horrors, has an insatiable appetite. Feed Me! Feed Me! it demands.
Where will it all end? How about a more concerted effort to rein in this monster? It already dominatesthe American economy, having grown itsshare of domestic corporate profitsfrom 16% in the 1970s to 41% recently (as reported by Simon Johnson in the May, 2009 issue of Atlantic Magazine). It has gotten too big, don’t you think?