If voting Labor is the only way to get a Royal Commission into the banks, then I might just have to do it.
When Labor first announced its plans for a Royal Commission in to the banking system, my first thought was that it was clever politics.
The Coalition had been trying to dig up muck on the Labor party through their Royal Commission into the construction industry. Seems it worked.
But really, ask the average punter why we needed a Royal Commission in the Construction industry, or what it found, and most people would have no idea.
It found that some union officials were corrupt. Does that surprise anyone?
But ask the average punter if they think we need a Royal Commission in to the banks, and you’ll probably get some pretty strong opinions.
In the recent past, a growing string of scandals coming out of the financial sector has put banks back in the spotlight.
In the medium past, ask people what they think caused the GFC, and most people would probably say it was the banks’ fault (and they’d be right).
And over the longer run, pretty much everyone knows someone who’s been screwed by a bank at some point. People know that banks have a privileged position in society (as the gate-keepers of money), but the perception is that they ruthlessly use that privileged position for their own advantage (posting record profits year after year).
And so the case for a Royal Commission into the Banks seems obvious. It makes you wonder why we haven’t had one already.
And in comparison, the Royal Commission in to the Construction Industry and whatever it found, seems kind of small-fish in comparison.
Large scale construction is a relatively small industry. The tentacles of the banking sector make their way into every facet of economic life – from mortgages, to small business loans, to massive infrastructure projects, to financial crises.
It is hard to argue that it was important that we had a Royal Commission into the construction industry, but we don’t need to worry about the banks. No one is buying that.
And in that way, it completely disarms the Construction RC. If the Coalition brings it up and tries to beat Labor about the head with it, people are just going to go, yeah, yeah, but what about this Banking RC we all want.
So it was clever politics. Well played Mr … what was his name again?
But the truth is a Royal Commission in to the Banking sector is long over due. With every fresh scandal, where the banks have fleeced mum and dad investors, farmers, industries or the entire economy, we’re told that it was just a few bad apples.
“Rouge Traders” has become a common phrase – which just tells you how often we hear it.
But it is definitely NOT about the culture within the banks and it is certainly NOT about the enabling structure of the modern capitalist economies.
I’m calling BS.
The banks have had it too good for too long.
As I said, we have given banks a privileged position in society. As the gatekeepers of money, as the shepherds of credit, they have a huge influence on how our economy and society evolve.
And with that central role comes the guarantee that the government won’t let them fail. They’ve become “too big to fail.”
Name another industry where the business operators enjoy such a safety net.
And so the tax-payers end up bearing all of the ultimate risk.
Now, as an investor, if I knew I was on the hook for losses if a project went down, I’d want a very good return to compensate me for it.
But what do tax-payers get? Nothing. We get all the risk and none of the profit. I wouldn’t sign up to a deal like that. We’re getting screwed.
We’re getting screwed as a society, and as individuals, with scandal after scandal of financial planners fleecing their clients, conflicted remuneration, insurance shenanigans and market fixing.
The case for a Royal Commission is obvious.
But the banking sector is scrambling, with a shiny new ‘code of conduct’ to weed out the rogue operators… again asking us to believe that it’s not about culture and it’s not a systemic stuff-up.
(And behind closed doors you can bet their lobbyists in Canberra are now greased to the eyeballs as well).
The Coalition is trying to cover its arse too. They’ve announced an extra $121m for ASIC.
What a piss-weak waste of time. The extra $121m only puts back the $120m Abbott cut from ASIC when he came to power. So we’re back to square one.
And in square one, ASIC was doing a piss-poor job of holding the banks to account anyway, so why would we expect this to achieve anything?
It almost looks like achieving nothing is the point. Who’s side are you on Turnbull?
I’ve got no idea what their other policies are. Based on recent form, I’m going to presume they’re garbage.
But this is the nature of our so-called democracy. You only get one vote, when there’s at least 1000 things I’d like to voice an opinion on.
Democracy is a joke.
But on the matter of a Banking RC, I’m willing to become a single-issue voter. I don’t see anything that is as important to how we grow as a nation, how we develop as a fair and compassionate society, or how we secure sustainable prosperity.
If voting Labor is the only way to make a RC happen, I might just do it.
Do we need a Banking RC?
Are the banks too big to control?
Are any of the two parties going to deal with this in the up and coming election?