Webster’s dictionary defines thug as a “ brutal ruffian or assassin”. In other
words, he/she is a ruthless badass that nefariously pushes and breaks laws to achieve their desired ends. Today when the word thug is mentioned, many people conjure up images of young ethnic looking men, with baggy pants, an “I don’t give a damn” attitude, and who speaks broken English. These are the people that make little old ladies clinch their purses; these are the people that scare convenience store clerks; these are the people who they construct prisons for. While law enforcement agencies continue to “overpolice”, “overharrass”, and “overprofile” these presumptive criminals, America’s worst scumbags go undetected (until the SEC finds them).
Wake up and smell the coffee America! Many of our country’s worst and most heartless criminals are in the heart of our nation’s capitol and at the epicenter of the financial industry. Many of these individuals were educated at the finest institutions in the world, and have a lineage that even the Kennedy’s would kill for. These individuals don’t “shoot craps”, they play badminton and sail. They don’t smoke Newport cigarettes, they smoke the Cohiba cigars. They don’t live in subsidized housing, they live in gated communities with butlers and maids. Some of America’s worst thugs are White-collar criminals. The most recent example of this White collar ruthlessness surrounds the financial behemoth, Goldman Sachs. The high profile fraud case brought against Goldman is yet another example of why we desperately need regulation and transparency so the folks on “main street” don’t get ripped off of by the boys on Wall Street.
The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought charges against Goldman Sachs alledging “Goldman failed to disclose that one of its clients helped create — and then bet against — subprime mortgage securities that Goldman sold to investors. In essence, Goldman is accused of pushing a mortgage investment that was secretly devised to fail. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/16/sec-goldman-sachs-charged_n_540377.html)” The SEC also charged Goldman Sachs vice president Fabrice Tourree for allegedly devising the whole strategy of simultaneously shorting customers and selling securities. It utterly disgusts me that investors were taken advantage of because they didn’t have access to the insider information that an elite group of people did. It seems as if we are living in the Gordon Gekko era where the motto “greed is good” is now a truism in major financial institutions.
I truly hope President Obama’s call for regulation and reform in the financial industry resonates when he delivers his speech in New York on Thursday. Currently there is a bare knuckle brawl taking place on the Senate floor as to what concessions should and shouldn’t be made in regards to financial reform. Senate Minority Leader -Mitch McConnell is in strong opposition of the current version of the bill. Quite ironically McConell received $1,147, 924 from 2005-2010 from securities/investment firms. Maybe he is corporate thuggin’ too. Even though he may be in the back pockets of these firms, it is time for him and other obstinate elected officials to get out of their pockets and come home to the people on main street.
Next time you’re on an elevator and an old woman clutches her purse, kindly respond: “Don’t worry I’m not a hedge fund manager”