Wall Street Profits Just Aren’t High Enough, Darn It

It’s been ten years since Wall Street destroyed the world, and apparently that’s plenty of time for them to have learned their lesson:

Federal bank regulators on Wednesday unveiled a sweeping plan to soften the Volcker Rule, opening the door for banks to resume some trading activities restricted as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. The changes would give the largest banks significant freedom to engage in more complicated — and possibly riskier — activities by largely leaving it up to Wall Street firms to determine which trading is permissible under the rule and which is not.

The Federal Reserve, along with four other regulators, took steps on Wednesday to ease several parts of the Volcker Rule, which was put in place to prevent banks from making risky bets with depositors’ money. The rule, which took the agencies more than three years to write, has been criticized by Wall Street as onerous and harmful to the proper functioning of financial markets.

My guess is that banks found the Volcker Rule onerous and harmful to their profits, and that’s about it. I haven’t noticed that financial markets in general have had any serious trouble functioning lately.

Of course, I haven’t noticed that financial sector profits are in any serious trouble either. But if you’re in the financial sector, I guess no amount of profit is ever enough.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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