Subsidizing Wall Street’s Addiction

Oh Crap

Tuesday, November 10,2009

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), together with Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), proposed legislation empowering state gambling regulators and attorneys general to examine unregulated derivatives trading and take appropriate action to protect citizens from practices which can harm the foundations of our economy. As part of a broader effort by Congress to pass comprehensive financial regulatory reform, Cantwell’s proposal treats derivatives trading for what it is: a sophisticated form of gambling.

“The derivatives market has done so much damage to our economy and is nothing more than a very high-stakes casino – except that casinos have to abide by regulations,” Cantwell said. “Even in Las Vegas at the Blackjack tables, both the House and the player have to have capital behind their bets. But we allow Wall Street to continue to operate in the dark and without capital to back up bets on derivatives. We remain at risk of further harm until we have the tools to stop abusive speculative practices.”

And now there is empirical neurological proof that gambling is highly addictive, according to a 2006 study conducted by scientists at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena:

Brain’s Center Involved in Gambling Addiction Identified

Gambling’s key brain area was traced in the subcortical region and the dopamine neurotransmitter was found to be involved in the process

Until now, most researchers thought that gambling mania is mainly caused by the high expectations of some people to win large amounts of money and also by their inability to realize the cost of their loss. But a recent study showed that gambling is closely linked to a brain center and this unhealthy passion can be associated with key neurological areas….

Tracing key regions in the brain that are tightly connected with gambling and risk-reward decisions is extremely useful in further developing new treatment methods to cure this kind of behavioral disorders and addictions. “If we can understand the pathway, maybe we can help develop methods to fix it,” Preuschoff concluded.

So, a little compassion here, folks. After all, it is the trillions of dollars in US taxpayer’s subsidies and bailouts  are directly enabling these unfortunate Wall Street gamblers.

Nonetheless, it’s high time for a little tuff luv.

[Graphic found here.]


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