Seeds of Destruction: How the economy was wrecked by the politics of deregulation in Florida

August 10, 2009

(Counterpunch) In a series of reports, The Miami Herald discloses the astounding facts behind the $7 billion fraud of Stanford Financial. An absence of regulators. Shredded documents. Bags of cash airlifted from Miami International. It all sounds so Miami Vice. But it is more. Back in the late 1990s, when the Stanford scheme gathered the support of Florida regulators, I toiled as a late career financial advisor at Smith Barney. What it means to be “late career” is that I knew enough by that time that honestly toiling within the lines and hash marks of regulatory authority could not possibly account for the wealth that defined the Miami skyline. Its provenance had far more to do with flight capital from Latin and South America, drugs, and the snatch-and-grab growth schemes that turned Florida’s Everglades into Mercedes, private jets, and educational family vacations in Europe by an entire supply chain that prospered by turning a blind eye to the true costs of development. Their Grand Tour of Europe excluded every aspect of the strip mall culture that paid the freight. Read the rest of this entry »