Have you ever wondered why Wall Street was able to get $23.7 trillion from the federal government after making some bad bets that wiped out $30 trillion in stock market value worldwide and helped throw 15.1 million people out of work? Are you curious about how Wall Street's workers will earn record bonuses of $140 billion for 2009, according to The Wall Street Journal, while average folks, such as former airline captain Bryan Lawler take 50 percent pay cuts, according to The New York Times? Well, look no further than the office of the secretary of the treasury.
Before detailing how Wall Street has funneled cash there, it's worth noting that the financial industry really has far broader tentacles into Washington. After all, it spent $5 billion on campaign contributions and lobbying expenses between 1999 and 2008. This cash permeates Washington, and with the cost of getting elected and re-elected rising ever higher, we have the best government money can buy.