Maybe, Just Maybe, We Should Try Regulating Banks and Railroads
I know, this is crazy talk, but just hear me out. Certain political leaders are staking their careers on protecting us from the ill-defined dangers of Drag Queen Story Hour and letting women decide whether or not to give birth, so I have to imagine that these are real, existential threats to all of us and not just cheap political theater designed to distract and divide.
But even so, can’t we carve just a little time out to acknowledge that Ohio had a mushroom cloud of toxic gas over East Palestine last month, multiple derailments since, and that the company responsible essentially said, “Oops! Trains are hard! And we didn’t break the law, so…”. They can still mislabel cargo, operate without advanced breaking systems on poorly maintained tracks, and force workers to go without sick days.
Now I ask you, what is more dangerous, a male performer dressed up as a princess reading Charlotte’s Web to some grade-school kids, or a tanker full of a chemical that takes 45 letters to spell exploding in your back yard?
And the bankers! Those lovable, greedy little scoundrels. What will they think of next? Why it seems like just yesterday that the global economy was brought low by the largest banks playing roulette with a trillion dollars. Did you know that banks existed for a long time simply keeping your money safe, paying you a little interest on it, and loaning it out, locally, to small businesses and home buyers? It wasn’t their money, and they had to take care of it. You don’t make as much money on a mortgage to the Smith family as you do on credit default swaps, bitcoin, and bundled sub-prime mortgages on spec houses repackaged as AAA securities, but you also don’t lose it all.
This is one of those problems that has such an easy fix that it’s embarrassing and shameful that we haven’t put it back in place yet. Separate, by law, deposits from investments, as they used to be, and put some teeth into banking reform and oversight. Everyone who speaks out against this is bough and paid for by the big banks. Ignore them, vote against them, overwhelm them. You would think that the people crying the loudest about forgiving student loans would be even more outraged by bailing out Silicon Valley Bank for their reckless mismanagement, and yet they are strangely silent. Too busy worrying about trans athletes and period tracking apps, I guess.
In the end, there are bad actors out there. People who are doing things, usually out of greed, that can kill a lot of people or blow up the whole economy. We can stop them. All we have to do is make it a priority and demand it. Or we can keep fighting these bull$t culture war sideshows until three old guys own everything and our whole country is on fire. Time to decide.