With each new revelation of multi-billion dollar losses from the largest Wall Street firms, there has been this nagging question as to how these Masters of the Universe got stuck with these massive write-downs. Isn't Wall Street supposed to execute trades for others; not build huge inventories of toxic, non-trading securities for themselves?
Given that these big Wall Street players now own some of our largest, taxpayer insured, depositor banks (courtesy of a legislative gift from Congress called the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) and the Federal Reserve is shoveling tens of billions of our dollars into some very big black holes, common sense might suggest that Congress would be holding public hearings. These hearings might shed light on how Wall Street has, under the cloak of darkness, mutated from a trading venue to manufacturing and warehousing exotic concoctions registered offshore.
So far, Congress has shown only cursory interest in the details. The Bush administration is spinning the mess as a subprime mortgage problem lest the public figure out that a $1 Trillion unregulated market has blown up under the free market noses of this administration.