The Occupy Wall Street protesters are angry.
Some of them frame their goal as ending the influence money has over Washington. Some of them feel they got the short end of the stick while bankers are swimming in money.
We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything, read a post from the wearethe99percent Web site.
Injustice was done and Wall Street has not paid up. In fact, wealth was even transferred from the American public to rich bankers.
During the 2008 to 2009 financial crisis, the U.S. public gave an extraordinary amount of money to banks.
The banks claim they now owe nothing because they paid back their TARP loans.
That's an outright injustice.
If the U.S. government had not stepped in with bailouts, low interest rates, and money-printing, every single major Wall Street company, with the possible exception of JPMorgan Chase, would have failed.
When the U.S. public stepped in with cash when banks were staring at death, it deserved to extract a pound of flesh from Wall Street. Warren Buffett did it. The American public deserves the same. It's simply the rules of distressed lending a liquidity crunch.
A cup of water in downtown Manhattan doesn't cost the same as a cup of water in the middle of a desert during a severe drought.
Wall Street is like a man in ancient times who ruined himself so much financially that his only option was to sell himself to slavery. From that day forward, all the fruits of his labor would belong to his master.
In exchange for its life-saving rescue from the American public, Wall Street, for at least 10 years but probably more, should have been forced to give up all its profits back to the American people, who are its rightful saviors and owners.
But not Wall Street.
Wall Street paid its employees $18.4 billion in bonuses in 2008 (for losing money) and $20.3 billion in bonuses in 2009, in addition the base salaries, dividends to shareholders, and rising profitability (leading to stock price appreciation), all of which add to the loot of Wall Street executives and employees.
However, even if Wall Street paid back all profits to tax payers since 2008 except for the base salary of its employees, it still might not be enough.
Writing in 2008, NYU Professor and former trader Nassim Taleb claimed the banking system seems to have lost more [money from the subprime mortgage crisis] than every penny banks ever earned taking risks.
He also claimed money center banks lost during the S&L crisis in the 1980s cumulatively every penny ever made. Back then, it was also the public that rescued the banks.
The rightful purpose of the financial sector is to assist the general economy. Its job is to pool money from savers and lend it to business ventures and connect investors with business ventures. That's it.
But Wall Street has long strayed from that calling. Instead, it engages in the practice of maximizing employee compensation through excessive risk-taking.
Wall Street doesn't make an obscene amount of money because it's extremely smart or helpful to the economy. It makes money by being reckless and having the public pay for the consequences in the form of inflation and taxation.
Wall Street is like a pharmaceutical company pocketing absurd profits by making drugs with fake, cheap ingredients. When it's finally hit with a class action lawsuit, it goes to the taxpayer for a handout.
It's like an insurance company pocketing absurd profits on premiums by writing cheap life policies for patients on death beds. When the time comes for the payout, it goes to the taxpayer for a handout.
It's like a bank pocketing interest payments by making loans to people who will never pay back the principal. When the loan defaults, it goes to the taxpayer for a handout.
Through the profit and bailout mechanism, Wall Street has engaged in a massive wealth distribution scheme -- from the public to Wall Street.
In the aftermath of the 2008 to 2009 financial crisis, the U.S. public anger against Wall Street was fresh and politicians had to do something.
The financial reform bill they passed accomplished some good; for example, it put more separation between banks and risk proprietary trading operations.
However, reform didn't go nearly far enough.
Today, many Americans from the 99 percent are still hurting from the financial crisis.
Wall Street, meanwhile, is swimming in cash and collecting absurd bonuses because of the government bailouts, the massive carry trade of borrowing from the Fed at zero percent cost and buying longer-term U.S. Treasuries, and the reflation trade partially sparked by the Fed's money printing.