Sep 19, 2008

Nationalizing the worst part of our banking system.

Amy Goodman interviews investment banker turned journalist, Nomi Prins, and Michael Hudson, president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends in the video. The transcript of the interview can be read here. Some of the choice quotes from the interview below:

NOMI PRINS: It’s insane, actually. It’s bad math, and it’s a bad precedent, because they’re not simply bailing it out with putting taxpayers’ money through the Fed into taking on the risks of these companies; they’re taking on risks. They’re not bailing out and selling debt; they are taking on the risk. They’re becoming-the Fed is continuing to become a larger and larger hedge fund. And it’s doing it with taxpayer money, and it’s doing it with the future debt of the United States.

So, for the one thing, they’re not attaching any rules to these bailouts. You know, you bail out Bear Stearns, effectively you’re putting up $30 billion to take Bear Stearns’s junk and say, “Alright, we’ll back the junk. JPMorgan Chase, you take Bear Stearns. We’ll back whatever junk is there.” But there’s no decision to say, “But, you know, you’ve got to tell us what’s there. And JPMorgan, by the way, as you’re taking on this bank, you have to explain to us what you really have. And Bank of America, you have to explain to us what your risks are.”

I know that at Bank of America they were struggling with their own risks and trying to figure out what was going on in their own company, and now they have assumed Merrill Lynch. That creates a tremendous institution, where the Fed is now obligated, when that starts to have more and more trouble, which it will.

Our government is nationalizing private debt. Too many people, progressives included, are saying these moves by the Fed are needed to keep our economy stable. Yet our government refuses to take care of, or bail out, the Social Security system. A system which takes care of the elderly and disabled. Our government will NOT be bailing out the pension funds, the labor funds or the small investors who are being bankrupted by the current financial meltdown.

So, how is giving billions to these private entities going to help the average joe and jill?

It won’t. Simply put…it will take years if not decades for pension funds and individual investors to recoup their losses, if they can at all.

And thats wrong on every damn level to me. This article in The Nation tells us who is taking the hard hit in this horseshit, and its not the banks, its people like you and me. Its people like Mildred:

She is not a rich woman and her retirement investments have been decimated by the perpendicular drop in the stock market. Despite a lifetime of working and saving, like a thrifty squirrel burying acorns in the backyard, she’s now broke.

One of the places she buried her acorns was AIG, thinking it would be hard to find a more conservative, rock-solid place to put her retirement money. She bought AIG preferred shares, that is, shares that are guaranteed to pay dividends and are thus ideal for retirement.

What none of the experts let the investors know was that somewhere along the path, AIG had stopped being rock-solid. Before Mildred knew it, the government had bought AIG and wiped out the stockholders. She, along with others, read in the papers that AIG’s new owners will not be paying preferred stockholders their promised dividends.(emphasis mine)

Where is Mildred’s parachute? It doesn’t have to be golden like the CEO’s get, just enough so she doesn’t have to work until the day she dies. Naomi Klein ties all this bullshittery to BushCo in the video below.

Profits are a private matter but losses are a public responsibility? Since when? Since our government bailed out the airline and insurance industries after 9/11. Where is the end of this process? The American automakers are now looking to the Federal Government now for their handout after years of getting their financial asses kicked by Japanese automakers. Will our federal government once again reward incompetence?

My guess is yes…they will. The only question remaining is:

Will regulation of these industries and financial systems be part of the bail out package? Will the Glass-Steagall act be resurrected?

Not if Phil Gramm has any say in the matter…

These bastards want to socialize something..socialize healthcare you scum-sucking bags of batshit! They sure hate socialism until they need it to cover their own greedy asses, don't they? Friggin amazing.

A Progressive Solution to this friggin mess:

Bring financial markets under control. Government must ensure that financial transactions are transparent and fundamentally fair. If a bank is too big to fail, then it must face public scrutiny and federal regulation. No private financial institution should be allowed to pocket its winnings and make the taxpayers responsible for its losses.

Keep the secondary mortgage market under control. There is no reason to re-privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae was a federal agency for thirty years. If it had remained a public body instead of a private one, the mortgage crisis would likely have been much less severe.

Focus on the economic wellbeing of Americans instead of the profits of rich corporations. It is irrational to bail out giant corporations that willfully took imprudent risks, while refusing to help average Americans who are feeling their economic pain. We must jump-start the economy by investing in clean energy; better schools; and safer bridges, highways and levees, simultaneously creating millions of new jobs.

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