The block buster Movie is out, a bit long, a bit flashy and loud; but like the epic classic, it tells an excellent tale of numerous American and human tragedies. It is worth seeing to count up the number of tragedies going on, and see some good acting and exciting visuals.
Back in the 1920s The Great J Gatsby was a very rich fellow, in part, because of securities manipulation. Did that make him a crook back then? It is very hard to say, but back in the 1920s, there were few securities laws in the US, so it is possible he broke no securities laws, even if the behavior was sleazy and unethical. It took the Great Depression and FDR to put in place tough hardened laws against bad banking.
And within and without, that is the warning to us today. Today, J Gatsby could probably pull off all the same sleazy securities deals and not go to jail. Yep, that is right; even though we have securities laws, there are so many loopholes and has been so much securities deregulation, that is unlikely any prosecutor could indict Gatsby. How do we know this? Well, have you noticed how few, if any, prosecutions have occurred on Wall Street? The Obama administration has been able to bring few people to justice. The deals were sleazy on Wall Street, but if the administration is correct in its interpretations of all the watered down deregulation laws brought to you by the Clinton and George W Bush administrations with co-help from Alan Greenspan at the Federal Reserve, then few Wall Street folks have done any crimes and will not go to jail. They have gotten rich by being at the ragged edge of legality and ethics.
That means securities laws have been circumvented and have become meaningless and vague. This is corruption of our Republic, and not a good thing. It is bipartisan too, as you look at all the money the Wall Street banks have given to both political parties. This is our current tragedy.
We once again live in a Gatsby-like era, where folks can get rich on Wall Street or banking by skirting laws even if the behavior is ethically challenged. And, that is American enterprise in full practice, even if ugly.