Remember back in 2008, when Uncle Ben Bernanke and Little Timothy Geithner went to the Hill and said they needed $700 B to bailout the banks or else the world economy would collapse? Yeah we all remember, there have been millions of articles, documentaries, and movies made about it.
Ok so when the Congress called Uncle Ben back to testify about what he did with the money and was asked to explain how the bailout had saved the economy, he REFUSED to disclose who got how much, defending his position by saying that divulging such information could jeopardize the public faith in the individual banks who had received monies. Congress said, ‘Oh OK that makes sense’.
Then, in 2009, the discussion was that if banks were too big to fail that those banks should also be too big to exist, as that would put us right back in the position that got us into the jam in the first place. Bernanke agreed, but offered no statements as to what should be done to prevent it. Some in CONgress did and the Dodd-Frank Bill was passed. At the time some said it was too weak as written, but hey, at least it was a start.
So, here we are now. How has Dodd-Frank or Federal Reserve policy worked? I do hope you are sitting down for this. You may also want to pour a stiff dink, if you are so inclined, or at least have a pair of vise grips handy to occasionally pinch yourself.
First, too big to fail has resulted in the following: Five banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. — held $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to central bankers at the Federal Reserve. Five years earlier, before the financial crisis, the largest banks’ assets amounted to 43 percent of U.S. output. The Big Five today are about twice as large as they were a decade ago relative to the economy! WHAT???? Yeah you read it correctly. Back in 1970, the 5 biggest U.S. banks held 17 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets. Today, the 5 biggest U.S. banks hold 52 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets. What say you Uncle Ben? What say you CONgress?
At a recent lecture at George Washington University, Mr. Benanke said ,according to CNNMoney, — “The bailouts of Bear Stearns and AIG were “distasteful” but still necessary. Meanwhile, the Fed was “helpless” when it came to saving Lehman Brothers, he said.
“Lehman Brothers was in itself probably too big to fail, in the sense that its failure had enormous negative impacts on the global financial system,” Bernanke said. “But there we were helpless, because it was essentially an insolvent firm.”
In a lecture about the Fed’s emergency efforts during the financial crisis, Bernanke explained that the central bank was willing to bail out AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) and Bear Stearns because it expected both firms would eventually be able to pay back their loans. Bear Stearns was ultimately acquired by JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500).
Lehman Brothers, on the other hand, had no collateral to put up in exchange for the Fed’s assistance.
“It was very difficult and in many ways distasteful intervention that we had to do on the grounds that we needed to do that to prevent the system from collapsing,” Bernanke said. “But clearly, it is something fundamentally wrong with a system in which some companies are ‘too big to fail.’”
Oh! Then I guess we really had no choice except to fork over the $700 Billion. It was exactly $700 Billion though, wasn’t it Uncle Ben? It took a court case by Bloomberg (because CONgress wouldn’t or couldn’t demand the info) to reveal the true number of the bailout. Vise grips and shot glasses at the ready, here are the real numbers we are all on the hook to the FED for.
Citigroup – $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley – $2.041 trillion
Bank of America – $1.344 trillion
Goldman Sachs – $814 billion
JP Morgan Chase – $391 billion
OMG that’s $7.1 TRILLION and then with the bailouts of foreign banks, yes most of the major banks in Europe, and yes we did those too, but you know the information is “so sensitive”. The total is $16.115 TRILLION and that is more than the annual GDP of the entire country!
But this has been good for the economy right? I mean if we, as the American people, throw that much money at the problem things are getting better. I mean the banks did the responsible thing to fix the problem, after all we have trusted them with an entire year’s worth of labor by everyone and every company in the US. Well…..consider these two facts.
1). Over the past few years, big Wall Street banks have made huge amounts of money speculating on the price of food. This has caused food prices all over the globe to soar and it has caused tremendous hardship for hundreds of millions of families around the planet. The following is from a recent article in The Independent….
Speculation by large investment banks is driving up food prices for the world’s poorest people, tipping millions into hunger and poverty. Investment in food commodities by banks and hedge funds has risen from $65bn to $126bn (£41bn to £79bn) in the past five years, helping to push prices to 30-year highs and causing sharp price fluctuations that have little to do with the actual supply of food, says the United Nations’ leading expert on food.
Hedge funds, pension funds and investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital now dominate the food commodities markets, dwarfing the amount traded by actual food producers and buyers.
Goldman Sachs alone has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from food speculation.
2). According to the New York Times, the too big to fail banks have complete domination over derivatives trading. Every month a secret meeting that includes representatives from JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup is held in New York to coordinate their control over the derivatives marketplace. The following is how the New York Times describes those meetings….
On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan. The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.
When the derivatives market fully implodes, there will not be enough money in the world to bail everyone out. According to the Comptroller of the Currency, the too big to fail banks have exposure to derivatives that is absolutely outrageous. Just check out the following numbers….
JPMorgan Chase – $70.1 Trillion
Citibank – $52.1 Trillion
Bank of America – $50.1 Trillion
Goldman Sachs – $44.2 Trillion
That’s over $200 TRILLION dollars, more than 3 ½ TIMES the global GDP! And that is just the Big Five’s exposure to the derivatives market.
This is beyond insane and would be funny except we are being enslaved to keep it floating. When you combine these facts with the current crisis in the EU, and the fact CONgress has gutted Dodd-Frank and even voted down the Volcker rule that would not allow banks to speculate with our deposits, it doesn’t even make sense to a brick wall.
I write this article because the banksters are counting on us not understanding how well they have fleeced our global economy with no hopes of any recovery. They hope we will all just say this is high finance and we don’t need to understand it. You would understand if your teenage ran up $5,000 in credit card bills wouldn’t you? And I am certain what you would say and do to your irresponsible teenager who did such a thing. THEY would be grounded for LIFE, and you certainly wouldn’t give them any more of your money! For each and every one of us, we need to understand this is the very same thing, only the irresponsible teenagers in this scenario are the FED, the banksters, and our CONgress, and I am being nice. Criminals could also be used to replace irresponsible teenager in this real life scenario, lots of criminals. So what are we going to do about this, DAD? MOM? There really isn’t anybody else stepping up, nowhere in the world. Sorry to be such a bummer, but it is what it is.