“Wall Street has hijacked the economy for the last twenty some years.”
— Richard L. Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO
The Fed and Wall Street are the real powers in the land. During the financial meltdown crisis in the Fall of 2008, the U.S. Congress acted as a patsy for the fiscal elite. The Fed Chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, and the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Henry M. Paulson, Jr., ordered the politicos to give Wall Street banksters a bailout of $700 billion of taxpayers’ money with no review. Although, it initially balked, the Congress soon caved in to that rash demand, with little or no strings attached.  The Fed, a/k/a “The Federal Reserve System,” was sanctioned by an Act of Congress in 1913, but it’s a quasi-private, and not a publicly owned, entity, whereas, the banksters on Wall Street are the essence of private, money-grubbing enterprises. They both have their own corporate interests and are not truly accountable to the Congress.  While this clique, whose laissez-faire policies helped to create this ugly financial mess, is getting fatter, more Americans, daily, are falling through the cracks.
For example, take this typical couple: She lost her job, first. Then, the husband got a “you’re out of here” notice from his boss. They live in a middle class neighborhood on Long Island, NY, with three children. One of the kids is currently in college, but not for long. They are both collecting unemployment insurance, while desperately looking for new work. They can’t borrow any more money on their home, and their credit cards are maxed out.
They’re “Reagan-Democrats,” who picked Dubya in both the 2000 and 2004 elections, primarily because they viewed him as a supposedly “Pro-Life” candidate. The financial tsunami, which hit home just before the general election in 2008, however, jarred their psyches. Despite warnings from their parish priest about Barack Obama’s pro-abortion position, they voted for the liberal senator from Illinois for president. A good choice considering the alternative, but it may be too late to make much of a real difference in their lives.
What happened under Dubya’s reign of ineptness? Try this: Experts predict his policies will “cost the U.S. in new debt and accrued obligations $10.35 trillion.” The latter number includes a price tag of $3.5 trillion for the Iraq War and occupation. Also, since 2000, “the number of Americans living at less than half the federal poverty level has increased by 3.5 million.” 
Just about everyone who is reading this commentary knows of a family who is in a serious financial state, like the one from L.I. described above. As the dominoes fall and the recession deepens, their numbers will grow exponentially, as will the associated misery index. The middle class jobs that they are looking for have been mostly out sourced by “Free Trade” policies that originated on Wall Street and were endorsed by every president going back to Ronald “The Deregulator” Reagan.  The economy, sadly, will get a lot worse before it gets better. The game, however, favors the moneyed elite.
Prior to the Wall St. meltdown, the Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, Richard L. Trumka, spoke at an event, on May 1, 2008. He revealed that the globalist-oriented Wall Street wise guys’ cozy ties to government policy makers weren’t in the interest of the working class. He underscored: “If you look at the Treasury Secretary under [President] Bill Clinton, it’s Bob Rubin. He was a former CEO of Goldman Sachs. The current Treasury Secretary is Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs. They worked together [at Goldman Sachs] for 19 years in adjoining offices.” 
As for the Fed, (think ex-Chair, Alan Greenspan, 1987-2006), there is a growing grass roots movement to get rid of it. On Nov. 22, 2008, 39 rallies were held across the country demanding that it be “abolished.” I covered one such event in Washington, D.C., just across the street from the Fed, at 20th St. and Constitution Ave. At that spirited demonstration, activist Kevin Zeese said: “The Fed ‘is not’ a government agency. It’s a disguise…The Fed is not of, by and for the people. It is of, by and for the banksters…End the Fed.”  Gary Franchi alleged: “The American people are being robbed, foreclosed on and having their money stolen….It is time to bury the beast.”  Rick Williams, founder of BreakTheMatrix.com, an alternate media web site, claimed: “The Fed is ‘the biggest fraud’ in all of recorded history.” 
On the media front, one of my favorite financial pundits is Jay Hancock of the “Baltimore Sun.” In a Dec. 27, 2008 piece, he ripped into the lack of genuine “disclosure” with respect to the now multi-trillion dollar bailout of Wall Street. He also criticized the Treasury Department and the Fed, charging: “The need to make history’s biggest bailout visible and grime-free is just as urgent as the need to revive the economy. Openness fights corruption…cynicism….This disaster was directly caused by suppressed financial information–a kind of market failure well-known to economists….Investors thought the secretive Bernard Madoff was a genius.”  Madoff is suspected of operating a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, which has caused even a charity run by a Holocaust survivor, Elie Weisel, “to lose most of its assets.” 
Summing up: The people should insist that Main Street must come before Wall Street with respect to the allocation of bailout funds. They should also demand that the Congress take the following actions: First, abolish the Fed, placing its functions under the Treasury Department; second, cancel all “Free Trade” agreements; and, third, launch an economic recovery program, a reverse “Marshall Plan,” to rebuild the country’s industrial base. It’s time to put Americans back to work. Keep in mind, also, that the Republic is the property of the people and that the interest of any powerful clique can never be permitted to encroach on it. 
. “Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country,” William Greider and http://www.alternet.org/columnists/story/
. “Harper’s Magazine,” January, 2009 issue.
. “Veto Message” of President Andrew Jackson, on July 10, 1832, re: Re-Charter the 2nd Bank of the U.S., see: http://facweb.furman.edu/~benson/