Fall Street, not Wall Street

Yet another Wall Street big wig finds himself in cuffs and on camera after being caught insider trading through a series of contacts and informants. Media is once again stating “this is a wake up call for Wall Street”, but how many time have we seen this in the last 7 years? Over 100 high profile executives have been found guilty of fraud. I suspect that most Americans are like me and don’t even blink at these stories. By now we understand that this is just the way the system works.

Wall Street is rampant with fraud and corruption, government targets those high profile people that get headlines. The Attorney Generals get on camera saying this is our way of protecting consumers. Funny, American consumers never see a penny of their lost investments – instead the government fines the firms and uses that money to expand an already bloated Government.

CNN Money just reported the nation’s tally of bank casualties hit 99 last month when state regulators closed San Joaquin Bank, based in Bakersfield, Calif. This was the tenth bank to fail in CA this year. There are about 8,000 banks in the nation, and an average of 10 banks have failed per month this year, nearly four times the number that failed in 2008. This is the highest tally since 1992, when 181 banks failed. Though 2009’s count is still far from 1989’s record high of 534 bank closures which took place during the savings and loan crisis, the FDIC revealed there are now 416 banks at risk of failing — the highest level in 15 years. This year’s failures have reduced the FDIC’s insurance fund to $10.4 billion from $45 billion a year ago. Faced with dwindling funds, the FDIC has to figure out how to raise money to restock the fund.

Goldman Sachs, the New York-based investment firm turned another eye-popping profit in October, earning $3.2 billion in the third quarter, as revenue from trading rose fourfold from a year ago. As Wall Street firms typically do, Goldman set almost half that sum aside to compensate its workers. Through the first nine months of 2009, the firm socked away $16.7 billion, enough to pay the average Goldman worker $526,814. The bonus pool is on pace to hit $21 billion for 2009, which would match the record bonus payout of 2007. Goldman said it won’t decide the size of the bonus pool till year-end.

WOW all this while the average consumer is trying to figure out if they should modify, short sale, or walk away from their home. Not a full year ago HUGE sums of taxpayer dollars were funneled to financial institutions. Critics charge that the lion’s share of Goldman’s profits comes from making big bets using cheap dollars printed by the Federal Reserve. Plus, given the crisis that followed the failure of Lehman Brothers, there’s a sense that government officials won’t let big firms go bust. That in effect gives too-big-to-fail firms a license to bet the house. Again we see big Wall Street firms using tax payers’ hard-earned dollars to bet on investments with no guarantee of success.

So what do you do? Educate yourself, reduce your debt, manage your money effectively, and don’t gamble. EC360 provides objective information that helps homeowners preserve their equity and mitigate loss.


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