According to Merriam-Webster, definitions of "stakeholder" include "one that has a stake in an enterprise" and "one who is involved in or affected by a course of action."
When it comes to big banking institutions like Wells Fargo
However, over the past couple of years, we've seen another group of stakeholders in these financial giants: Everyone else.
When JPMorgan Chase
So is it too much to ask that these same institutions cough up cash to repay our generosity? And would it be terrible to ask that they pay out a little extra in the future to guard against another calamity? I think not.
Of course, the government's potential plan to levy a fee on the big banks is rife with problems. One of the most obvious is that those within the banks will find ways to shift the cost to everyone but themselves. This means the fee will have the most impact on investors and customers, as opposed to the insiders who actually caused the problems.
And that's not to mention that thus far, the government has been utterly inept and toothless when it comes to addressing the banking situation. Despite the proposal expected from President Obama tomorrow, I think that Congress will ultimately wimp out, and it will never get implemented.
In the end, the biggest of the banks are still too big to fail, are still paying out bonuses so big employees would likely sell out their mothers to get them, and are still making the bulk of their profits through trading. And we're busy pulling out our hair over a fee that will never happen? As far as I'm concerned, we're not even at square one when it comes to banking reform.
Just thinking about the government's kid-glove treatment of the banks makes my blood boil. But you know what never fails to calm me down? Dividends. Boy, do I love dividends.
Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer (still) owns shares of Bank of America, but does not own shares of any of the other companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool. The Fool's disclosure policy has never once been caught with its pants down. Of course, it doesn't actually wear pants ...