This evening's episode of Harry's Law literally takes on the banks and uses the show, as a Populist soapbox. The plot contrasts how a homeless, foreclosed on, single mother, turned bank robber, gets 20 years, yet if one is incorporated and has lobbyists, then one gets $7.7 trillion in Federal Reserve loans. The episode is below.
To wit we have this post on the Philly OWS eviction, pointing out the absurdity of a massive police presence:
The Philadelphia Police Department is currently ‘protecting’ virtually every corner in Washington and Rittenhouse Squares, with police cars and vans squatting square in the middle of each entrance to the parks.
The above post documents how Cities magically have unlimited resources to intimidate peaceful protests, including press departments to blame the protestors for costs, yet are laying off cops, teachers. These same city police departments supposedly do not have the resources to investigate fraud and white collar crime.
Most importantly, there have been no prosecutions any of the banks or executives who caused the financial crisis and ongoing economic malaise. As the above post put it:
No resources to fight economic crimes against the vulnerable, but many resources to protect us from the threat of people protesting… economic crimes and inequality.
Think Progress got one right when calling out the mayor for such brazen hypocrisy.
LA Mayor Says He Evicted Protesters Out Of Concern For Children, But City Has 13,000 Homeless Kids.
Even people working on Wall Street are getting a conscience and speaking up, warning people the game is rigged:
The financial markets are rigged. 99% of the investing public has access to services such as basic brokerages, 401k/IRA's, mutual funds, pension plans, etc. Some of these services, especially pension funds, will invest into hedge funds, who take an additional 2 and 20 (meaning 2% of assets plus 20% of capital gains).
What this means is that if you go any of the traditional retail routes, you are utterly screwed facing off against the hedge funds.
First, you are paying exorbitant fees. Commissions on every stock trade. Mutual fund managers taking a cut - an annual % cut, as well as a % per profit cut. If these managers (i.e. pension plans) invest in another fund, that fund is also taking another % cut. You're down 2% the minute you invest your money.
Next, if you're doing the investing yourself, you're paying ridiculous spreads. The bid/ask spread of a stock will cause you to be down another 2-3% the minute you buy the stock. For example, if you're buying a share of company at $4.25, you can sell back at only $4.15.
Furthermore, you have absolutely no chance in terms of access to the best services. Hedge funds have a direct line to investment bank's institutional brokerage teams - these are the guys that spend day and night sucking up to hedge funds, trying to get them the best deals at the cheapest rates. This means that while you're buying stocks and bonds, hedge funds are getting special rights, warrants, sweetheart deals, private placement deals, in-the-money options, bigger discounts on bonds, and much better bulk commission rates and lower spreads on stocks. If you're paying 4.25$ for a 4.15$ stock, they are paying something like 4.16$. And they are eating alive your profits because when the stock goes up to $4.30, they can activate another warrant to purchase 20m shares at $4.25, diluting the value of your shares.
Next, you lack information and exposure. You have no idea what is going on in the market besides what you see on the news - while hedge funds have analysts working around the clock and a bunch of service providers who give minute-by-minute analysis of their portfolio opportunities and weaknesses in all markets with exposures to nearly everything. Meaning, if there is an opportunity in the real estate market (i.e. legislation), it might take you weeks to get in - hedge funds will have gotten in the minute the legislation was passed. Furthermore, when IPOs come out for companies, hedge funds get top billing on the primary market shares - which means investment banks are selling directly to them. Once the secondary market becomes available, hedge funds are up 15-20% on these investments, sometimes within hours.
Finally, you have no capital compared to these hedge funds. The people who invest in these hedge funds are not just the 1%, they are the 0.1%. These are the guys with 500million dollar bank accounts and the ability to do whatever the fuck they want. Hedge funds know this, and they invest without having to care about whether their clients can pay the rent or send their kids to college. All of that is irrelevant. Their sole purpose is to earn money, not to mitigate risk.
What does this all mean? It means the hedge fund industry is making a gigantic proportion of the profits. The top .1% is earning nearly half of the profits in the industry, through not just hedge funds, but other similar vehicles.
The finance industry is a complete scam, designed to funnel money from the 99% investing public into the hands of the top .1%.
Think about it. Why should someone who brandishes a gun and robs a bank get 20 years in prison when the Banksters rip off people everyday, to the point of homelessness and destitution, yet nothing ever happens?
How many times have you watched the local news, thinking what an idiot that guy is, holding up the local bank, when white collar crime not only pays well, there is pretty much zero consequence?