Wall Street Gate

President Nixon giving a televised address exp...
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I actually hate that every scandal gets -gate attached to it in order to liken it to Watergate.  But the more I’ve been thinking about the financial crisis (or meltdown), and the more that comes to light about what many of the big banks were up to, the more I think that this scandal is more like Watergate than many of the other -gates we’ve seen over the last few years.  The news is awash with stories about Goldman-Sachs improprieties, some of which are being exposed through inter- and intra-office emails.  This Frank Rich column argues that it’s about time the banks were held accountable and that he’s ashamed that our government hasn’t done more.  As during Watergate, it’s the press that’s been exposing many of the problems that were at the root of the banking crisis.  The fallout of Watergate, many believe, is a loss of faith in our government to be honest and straightforward.  It exposed not just that the government used doublespeak to cover up bad things it was doing, but would resort to illegal activities in order to maintain power.  It’s why we often go there when our faith in presidents is shaken.  Maybe, just maybe, we think, they’re another Nixon.  But Watergate didn’t bring down our entire country.  Our democratic processes spun into action and we recovered.  The financial crisis has shown us to be chumps.  Many people trusted the big banks to, at the very least, not completely screw us over.  But we were wrong.  We believed the snake-oil salesmen, and unfortunately, the unveiling of the charade didn’t just bring down a single man and a few of his co-conspirators.  It brought down the whole economy.  It took with it millions of people who lost their homes, lost jobs, lost their entire savings.  Nixon was forced to resign.  Goldman-Sachs just awarded millions in bonuses.  What’s wrong with this picture?

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