The world's largest economy has seen much since the financial crisis of 2008 began the role toward the precipice in terms of the Wall Street corruption. Transparency president Nancy Boswell maintains that it is an "integrity gap "(Graham, 2010).
However, this author will identify a different issue. Indeed, this author's view is very long and will take a historical approach in order to prevent another Great Depression, the Congress under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt separated Wall Street investment banks and regular depository banks. This took away the potential to make incredible profits from trading mortgage-backed securities whose ratings were artificially high. These encouraged banks to take what otherwise would have been intolerable risks in the form of bad loans that were later termed "toxic debt." Under this regime, people were obtaining home loans too easily (known derisively as "liars loans") and that exacerbated the decline once it started (Krugman).
In terms of what to do about the problem, Congress needs to pressure the Federal Reserve to do something to start loaning money to small banks that provide the lion's share of funding to small businesses and companies that provide the majority of jobs for the people of the United States. In addition, Glass-Steagall needs to be brought back. The whole idea behind the Federal Reserve in the United States to begin with was to provide an elastic currency that could respond to the needs of the country in crisis. Small businesses and banks could get the loans they needed in a time of crisis. Their money in the small commercial banks was meant to be invested in long-term ventures, not short speculative types of gambles. If the Federal Reserve is forced to return to these roots, it is possible to recapture the growth that was seen previously when speculation and responsible investment were kept in different houses and speculation did not have access to cheap loans at the taxpayer's expense.
What is different between this author's approach and the approach of Transparency is that the ascendancy of corporate entities and the decline of the power of nation states to regulate them is a major factor. The Federal Reserve is a private company. In other words, it is about as Federal as FedEx. It should be no surprise when the Fed does not act in the interest of the United States, but rather in the interest of corporate corruption and profit. Indeed, it is simply a cipher for the dictates of the corporations that are feasting upon the carcass of what is left of American republican government.
A more basic reform will be to cut the heart out of the beast and return to the days when corporations had a life span. Like human beings, they died when their chartered purposes expired. The famous case of Standard Oil vs. New Jersey in 1911 ruled that corporate entities should be considered as if they were the same as a legal person under the United States Constitution. This effectively gave corporations eternal life. It greatly increased the power of corporations vs. national government (Supreme court).
To recap, this author has had to turn the corruption index of Transparency International on its head and analyze the issues that now limit their findings. This is especially in terms of the United States where things are much more complicated than in many countries due simply to the size and complexity of what is still the world's biggest economy. Indeed, reform in the United States has an incredible continuity with reform elsewhere that is the key to defeating corruption will be in strengthening the nation state to limit and regulate corporate power and corruption. The repeal of Standard Oil vs. New Jersey of 1911 and the better regulation of the Federal Reserve by the American government is a great start. This then needs to be replicated in every country in the world for complete success.
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