It is fairly well documented that a massive lobbying effort had been undertaken by the Wall Street banks to remove the last restrictions that had been placed on the financial sector by the government in the aftermath of the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. PBS Frontline has done a good job of documenting this.
We now have an economy in which five banks control over 50 percent of the entire banking industry, four or five corporations own most of the mainstream media, and the top one percent of families hold a greater share of the nation's wealth than any time since 1930. This sort of concentration of wealth and power is a classic setup for the failure of a democratic republic and the stifling of organic economic growth.
We must recognize that a partnership between corporations and government is a dalliance along the road to fascism, inimical to the freedom of the individual. Corporations do not and must not have the same rights of individuals, because it is the Bill of Rights that was meant to balance the power, to protect the individual from powerful combinations and concentrations of wealth and power.
The United States [is] in what I call a credibility trap, in which no substantial reforms can take place because both political parties are compromised, I am not optimistic that real change will occur until the economic situation get much worse and a genuinely independent third party movement threatens the status quo with serious investigations and criminal indictments. The Tea Party started as a movement for financial reform, but became quickly co-opted by powerful financial interests and slick public relations campaigns. You hardly ever hear about real financial reform from them anymore.
Another interesting article from the same source: Catherine Austin Fitts on "the financial coup d'état".
Other than Bernie Madoff, essentially no one has been indicted or convicted. Indeed, the people who engineered the housing bubble and related policies have been rewarded with numerous public and private positions as well as financial compensation. We are watching record bonuses on Wall Street.
The institutions that engineered the housing bubble and the financial crisis have been richly rewarded with $12 trillion in bailouts, expanded access to the federal credit, and government assumption for the debt and liabilities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Wall Street and Washington issued trillions in fraudulent securities, used it to gain control over trillions in assets, and then were able to engineer the taxpayers refinancing out the fraudulent paper. Think of this as a leveraged buyout of a planet.
Cupiditas pecuniae radix malorum est.