Wall Street's Next Shell Game

Wall Street is heading for another collapse.  The same misguided congressional incumbents, who continue funding ill-fated wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Pakistan, have failed to reinstate Glass-Steagall, break-up big banks, impede derivatives or abolish the destructive compensation schemes which lead to toxic risk taking.  Al-Qaida poses no existential threat to America, but Wall Street’s opaque and highly leveraged complexities and its system of beliefs and incentives putting short-term profits ahead of long-term solvency do.  Consequently, six big banks now control nearly 65% of America’s GDP, hold the nation’s economy hostage and perpetuate a dysfunctional status quo by making large campaign donations to democrats and republicans alike to keep them in office as interchangeable parts.  As a result, we long suffer a corporate oligarchy in America instead of democracy.  I may not be Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt or FDR incarnate, but just as they provided the leadership to take on and break-up big banks, I will wage that battle if elected to congress.

Big banks are dangerous to the economy, and deregulation, combined with government subsidies by democrats and republicans, has made politically connected banks big.  The biggest now look to build bubbles on something other than sub-prime mortgages.  I predict the next bubble in futures trading will involve cap-and-trade carbon offsets.  Unlike traditional commodities, which sometimes must be delivered to someone in physical form during the course of market exchange, the carbon market is based on lack of delivery of an invisible substance to no one.  What could better diffuse into the murky, untraceable dealings of Wall Street, even with the SEC on alert?

Carbon trading is already the fastest-growing commodities market on earth.  Over $300 billion worth of carbon transactions have occurred in less than five years, a figure likely to explode to a $3 trillion market if the U.S institutes cap-and-trade policy.  The projects in Europe alone already far outstrip the U.N.’s ability to police them, and study after study has found that approved Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects fail to reduce the amount of emissions promised.  Market forces created the worldwide industrial growth that has largely contributed to global warming, but the U.N. preposterously now concludes that those same forces can be used to mitigate climate change.

The same multinational scoundrels responsible for looting Wall Street either fund or own major carbon project developers, resurfacing again and again like Sherlock Holmes’ adversarial arch-villain, Professor Moriarty.  J. P. Morgan Chase owns the biggest developer in the world, Eco-Securities; Goldman Sachs has a big interest in the largest U.S.-based developer, Blue Source; Citibank hosts carbon trading desks in London.  Even the agricultural commodities firm, Cargill, has become one of the top developers of carbon projects, a distressing irony at best.  The largest sources of greenhouse gases, not to mention water pollution, are animal wastes from the “meat” industry, agricultural pollutants and felled trees.  Even Holmes would find it daunting to thwart such self-perpetuating profit through ecological destruction, another impervious layer to obscure Wall Street’s convoluted skullduggery.

                                   -G. Scott Deshefy, Lebanon, CT

Scott Deshefy is 2010 Green Party Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd Dist.

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