It turns out the banks our government helped save are now bigger, stronger and more greedy than ever. And that means we're all doomed to live under an oligarchy. Russia, here we come!
First, the scary facts about the banks, which seem unstoppable, like the blob:
J.P. Morgan Chase, an amalgam of some of Wall Street's most storied institutions, now holds more than $1 of every $10 on deposit in this country. So does Bank of America, scarred by its acquisition of Merrill Lynch and partly government-owned as a result of the crisis, as does Wells Fargo, the biggest West Coast bank. Those three banks, plus government-rescued and -owned Citigroup, now issue one of every two mortgages and about two of every three credit cards, federal data show.
Smaller banks can hardly compete with the new, improved banks, which face fewer regulations, and that has many worried that we're headed toward a good old fashioned oligarchy in which the banks, already coddled by the government, will again get away with financial murder.
Mark Zandi from economy.com griped, "You'll be left with very large institutions and small ones that fill in the cracks. But it'll be difficult for the mid-tier institutions to thrive...The oligopoly has tightened." Richard Fisher, the president Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, also invoked the o-word, saying:
[You] want to create a system that allows for others to grow, where no one has an oligopolistic power at the expense of others who might be able to provide financial services to consumers.
With their powers unchecked, the saved banks are raising rates on deposits and finding other sinister ways to nickle and dime their customers, who, sadly, have fewer places to turn. Thus the free market dries up, democracy crumbles, Americans find themselves living in a post-apocalyptic dystopia and the only winner is Glenn Beck, who warned of this all along. Thanks, Ben Bernanke!
Unless, of course, our government keeps an eye on things, create new regulations, curtail excessively stupid moves and stops the banks from growing out of control. But why would they do that?!