Thursday, March 26, 2009

Banking on Fear

The financial forces responsible for the pillage of what’s left of our national economy and personal assets have learned that playing...or preying... on people’s fear is a better bet than investing in more credit-default swaps or collateralized debt obligations.

Fear is money in the bank.

Big banks, insurance companies, and their friends and supporters in the Obama Administration and Congress are using fear to paralyze critically conscious people, including way too many activists, into mental and mobilizing submission. At stake is at least another $750 billion contained in the fiscal year 2010 federal budget proposed by the Obama Administration.

Throwing hundreds of billions of more tax dollars at American Insurance Group (AIG), Goldman Sacks, Citibank, Bank of America, J.P Morgan Chase and other financial behemoths (aka Zombie Banks) is portrayed as inevitable. Why? Not bailing out these institutions and their CEOs for the global financial crisis would cause, according to these financial geniuses, a worse global financial crisis. It would be chaos. Economic collapse. Massive poverty. More homelessness. Widespread unemployment. Starvation.

The FIRES (finance, insurance, real estate) corporations are simply “too big to fail.”

According to whom?

- The same financial paragons who advocated for massive financial de-regulation over the last decade?
- The same money men (and women) who claimed investing trillions in speculative “products” like derivatives rather than in companies that actually produce goods and services, was the path to perpetual growth and profit?
- The same financial wizards (some of whom occupy important roles in the Obama administration) who built their economic health and claim the health of the larger economy is built on more and more and more debt?
- The same “experts” who never saw coming the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression...if not worse?

These are the people we’re supposed to trust.

The banks are banking on fear to bank more billions. They are counting on us not to think, ask questions, demand answers, and place the burden of proof on those making these claims. Just go along, shut up, and believe.

US taxpayers have already poured or committed to pour $8.5 trillion in capital injections, guaranteed debt, and loans into the financial system — a system that is not designed to invest money in productive ventures, helping people face home foreclosures, assisting people who’ve amassed huge credit card debt, or help communities function as communities. Rather, the mega banks and AIGs of the world are set up to rake in profits from the unreal world of financial bets, speculations, hedges and other gimmicks that are parasitic yet legal. More tax dollars will go simply to pay off these bets, speculations, hedges and gimmicks that have gone bad. They enrich the CEOs and shareholders. It’s legalized theft.

And who are these shareholders? Overall, the richest 1% of the nation’s population in 2004 held $1.9 trillion in stocks, almost equal to the other 99%.

Bailing out Wall Street is bailing out the super rich. Bailing out banks and insurance companies further widens the already considerable gap between rich and poor...and increases their political power.

The Obama approach to financial institutions has been to socialize the losses and privatize the gains...just like the Bush approach. Losses are paid by taxpayers. Gains are banked by the banks and their mega investors.

The latest Obama/Geithner plan to create a US “bad bank” to buy up toxic assets from banks is merely a recycled idea from former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. The latest “cash for trash” scam involves the US government lending private investors money to buy virtually worthless pieces of paper (misnamed “assets”) from banks. If the values of the pieces of paper eventually increase, the investors profit. If they plummet even more than they already have, the investors can walk.

Where can the rest of us get such a one-way deal?

Government takeover of the Zombie “too big too fail but too insolvent to be saved” financial institutions is the best of what are all bad choices. Democratization of financial institutions should be the one and only message to Congress. Once democratized, the public though the government should (for starters):

- Fire and bring to justice all the leadership responsible for triggering what has become the Global Financial Crisis.
- Audit where previous bailout funds went and recover those funds mis-spent on CEO bonuses and acquisition of other financial institutions.
- Wipe out all the financial “bad assets” -- the richest 1% investors who own virtually all of these will have to suffer the consequences of their risky past decisions.
- Use funds the government was going to give the financial corporations to directly help those facing foreclosures and offer low- or no-interest loans to help get the economy moving.

The super-rich investors and corporations who own the trillions of “bad assets” are terrified. Public outrage against the legalized heist of our financial present and future, currently personified by massive AIG bonuses, is real. It’s not a long intellectual bridge from public outrage to calls for real public control.

The big banks and insurance conglomerates have responded by trying to shift their terror onto us — that public control of money and credit is a bridge to political and economic devastation.

Consider the sources.

Form your own opinions based on studying the issue.

Read articles linked below, in previous posts, and from other sources.

Don’t be fooled.

Don’t be afraid.

Lawmakers soften opposition to bonuses at bailout companies
Posted by Associated Press March 25, 2009
The Big Takeover
The global economic crisis isn't about money - it's about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution
America's Fiscal Collapse
by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, March 2, 2009
Financial Reports Show Five Biggest Banks Face Huge Loss Risk
Monday 09 March 2009
by: Greg Gordon and Kevin G. Hall

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