A lot of people lament the lack of upward mobility in the U.S. right now and I share those sentiments. However, equally important is downward mobility. What makes the concept of America unique is not merely the concept that the poor can become rich but that the rich can become poor. It is this second part that is the most dangerous to social cohesion when it disappears. Unfortunately, the system that we have today of an unholy alliance between Wall Street, Washington D.C. and the multi-national corporations (including the military industrial complex of course) stands there holding onto all the levers of power to serve as gatekeepers of their own empires.
Consider this when we think about how the game is “rigged” right now. From Matthew Cardinale of the
Inter Press Service on 28 Aug 2011.
Atlanta, Georga: The first-ever audit of the U.S. Federal Reserve has revealed 16 trillion dollars in secret bank bailouts and has raised more questions about the quasi-private agency’s opaque operations. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else,” U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, said in a statement. The majority of loans were issues by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY).
“From late 2007 through mid-2010, Reserve Banks provided more than a trillion dollars… in emergency loans to the financial sector to address strains in credit markets and to avert failures of individual institutions believed to be a threat to the stability of the financial system,” the audit report states. “The scale and nature of this assistance amounted to an unprecedented expansion of the Federal Reserve System’s traditional role as lender-of-last-resort to depository institutions,” according to the report. The report notes that all the short-term, emergency loans were repaid, or are expected to be repaid.
The emergency loans included eight broad-based programs, and also provided assistance for certain individual financial institutions. The Fed provided loans to JP Morgan Chase bank to acquire Bear Stearns, a failed investment firm; provided loans to keep American International Group (AIG), a multinational insurance corporation, afloat; extended lending commitments to Bank of America and Citigroup; and purchased risky mortgage-backed securities to get them off private banks’ books.
Overall, the greatest borrowing was done by a small number of institutions. Over the three years, Citigroup borrowed a total of 2.5 trillion dollars, Morgan Stanley borrowed two trillion; Merryll Lynch, which was acquired by Bank of America, borrowed 1.9 trillion; and Bank of America borrowed 1.3 trillion. Banks based in counties other than the U.S. also received money from the Fed, including Barclays of the United Kingdom, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (UK), Deutsche Bank (Germany), UBS (Switzerland), Credit Suisse Group (Switzerland), Bank of Scotland (UK), BNP Paribas (France), Dexia (Belgium), Dresdner Bank (Germany), and Societe General (France).
“No agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the President,” Sanders wrote. In recent days, Bloomberg News obtained 29,346 pages of documentation from the Federal Reserve about some of these secret loans, after months of fighting in court for access to the records under the Freedom of Information Act. Some of the financial institutions secretly receiving loans were meanwhile claiming in their public reports to have ample cash reserves, Bloomberg noted. The Federal Reserve has neither explained how they legally justified several of the emergency loans, nor how they decided to provide assistance to certain firms but not others.
“The main problem is the lack of Congressional oversight, and the way the Fed seemed to pick winners who would be protected at any cost,” Randall Wray, professor of economics at University of Missouri- Kansas City, told IPS. “If such lending is not illegal, it should be. Our nation really did go through a liquidity crisis – a run on the short-term liabilities of financial institutions. There is only one way to stop a run: lend reserves without limit to all qualifying institutions. The Fed bumbled around before it finally sort of did that,” Wray said.
“But then it turned to phase two, which was to try to resolve problems of insolvency by increasing Uncle Sam’s stake in the banksters’ fiasco. That never should have been done. You close down fraudsters, period. The Fed and FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Commission) should have gone into the biggest banks immediately, replaced all top management, and should have started to resolve them,” Wray said.
For many years conventional wisdom has said that the whole world is controlled by the monied elite, or more recently by the huge multi-national corporations that seem to sometime control the very air we breathe. Now, new research by a team based in ETH-Zurich, Switzerland, has shown that what we’ve suspected all along, is apparently true. The team has uploaded their results onto the preprint server arXiv.
Using data obtained (circa 2007) from the Orbis database (a global database containing financial information on public and private companies) the team, in what is being heralded as the first of its kind, analyzed data from over 43,000 corporations, looking at both upstream and downstream connections between them all and found that when graphed, the data represented a bowtie of sorts, with the knot, or core representing just 147 entities who control nearly 40 percent of all of monetary value of transnational corporations (TNCs).
When we look to the East and watch our Arab brothers struggle against tyranny, I don’t think we connect their struggle to us. However, I assure you that the roots of that struggle was economic slavery, not unlike we, both in the US and the EU, are rapidly marching (or is it being herded?) toward at this very minute.
As we awaken to these facts, it is apparent that the PTB, who wish to continue their “project”, are having more and more of a difficult time unfolding “their solutions” to our problems. You know “solutions’ like raiding retirement and pension funds, eliminating worker’s unions, ending any “social programs” of any kind.
Probably the most important news story of September 7th won’t be reported by International MSM. No, it won’t be Obama’s speech on Jobs, nor will it be the outcome of the first games in the NFL. It will be this.
Seething discontent in Germany over Europe’s debt crisis has spread to all the key institutions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel no longer has enough coalition votes in the Bundestag to secure backing for Europe’s revamped rescue machinery, threatening a constitutional crisis in Germany and a fresh eruption of the euro debt saga.
Mrs. Merkel has cancelled a high-profile trip to Russia on September 7, the crucial day when the package goes to the Bundestag and the country’s constitutional court rules on the legality of the EU’s bail-out machinery. If the court rules that the €440bn rescue fund (EFSF) breaches Treaty law or undermines German fiscal sovereignty, it risks setting off an instant brushfire across monetary union.
The seething discontent in Germany over Europe’s debt crisis has spread to all the key institutions of the state. “Hysteria is sweeping Germany ” said Klaus Regling, the EFSF’s director. German media reported that the latest tally of votes in the Bundestag shows that 23 members from Mrs Merkel’s own coalition plan to vote against the package, including twelve of the 44 members of Bavaria’s Social Christians (CSU). This may force the Chancellor to rely on opposition votes, risking a government collapse.
Christian Wulff, Germany’s president, stunned the country last week by accusing the European Central Bank of going “far beyond its mandate” with mass purchases of Spanish and Italian debt, and warning that the Europe’s headlong rush towards fiscal union strikes at the “very core” of democracy. “Decisions have to be made in parliament in a liberal democracy. That is where legitimacy lies,” he said.
A day earlier the Bundesbank had fired its own volley, condemning the ECB’s bond purchases and warning the EU is drifting towards debt union without “democratic legitimacy” or treaty backing. Joahannes Singhammer, leader of the CSU’s Bundestag group, accused the ECB of acting “dangerously” by jumping the gun before parliaments had voted. The ECB is implicitly acting on behalf of the rescue fund until it is ratified.
Mrs. Merkel faces mutiny even within her own Christian Democrat (CDU) family. Wolfgang Bossbach, the spokesman for internal affairs, said he would oppose the package. “I can’t vote against my own conviction,” he said. The Bundestag is expected to decide late next month on the package, which empowers the EFSF to buy bonds pre-emptively and recapitalize banks. While the bill is likely to pass, the furious debate leaves no doubt that Germany will resist moves to boost the EFSF’s firepower yet further. Most City banks say the fund needs €2 trillion to stop the crisis engulfing Spain and Italy. Mrs. Merkel’s aides say she is facing “war on every front”. The next month will decide her future, Germany’s destiny, and the fate of monetary union.
I make all these points because we must think clearly and precisely now. No politics, nor economic religion, just fix this now, and we can. We start by taking some people DOWN. Start to put some balance back into the equation. I think the audit of the FED would be an excellent place to start that quest.
Secondly, we must be informed voters and place candidates that understand clearly the goals of restoring balance into our global economy through prudent but thorough regulatory changes. That must, by its nature, start with the political process elements of our societies. I cannot think of anything more important to you on a personal basis than this.