I got out of paying any consequence. Did you?

Organised crime

Big Banks Pay $5.6 Billion, Plead Guilty to Felonies…

The headline of a news story from NPR

The big banks have been found guilty and are paying big fines, but what can we do? As customers of their 401k’s, retirement accounts, and investment accounts? What can we do, as voters, to change their ‘too big to fail’ abuse of power…In order to protect ourselves?

Something, surely?

Although these fines are about currency manipulation, which I know nothing about, we did bail them out for their other errors: Investing in risky mortgage bonds and crashing the market in 2008. Yet this bailout seems like nothing to me. Has anyone else felt their life change dramatically, or even at all, after we “paid” billions to the banks to bail them out?

Not me. I got out of paying any consequence. It was as if nothing happened. We paid them, they paid us back, with interest, and everyone keeps going, almost as if the banks did not nearly cripple the nation and the world with their carelessness.

The banks nourish us

We need them to keep our economy going and paychecks flowing. And they know it. And although they’re cautious after the crash, and although they’re paying fines, still there has been no personal cost. There were people who lost their jobs in the banks that failed, but the executives and managers and other workers of most of the banks have kept their jobs. Have they even seen a dip in their incomes and bonuses?

This matters because the deterrent to wrongdoing is about paying a personal cost, but apparently the majority has not. From Wall Street to us, here on Main Street, there has been no significant cost.

But there will be a cost. I wonder when it will come…? On our children…grand children? It will come, sooner or later. And it will probably be sudden, like the last market crash. And it will probably be harsh, especially on the middle class.

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Neil Gaiman: “I hope you’ll make mistakes.”

NEIL-GAIMAN_510x380

Neil Gaiman

“Sometimes the way to do what you hope to do will be clear cut, and sometimes it will be almost impossible to decide whether or not you are doing the correct thing, because you’ll have to balance your goals and hopes with feeding yourself, paying debts, finding work, settling for what you can get.

“Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be – an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics and supporting myself through my words – was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal.”

“And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.”