Monday, September 10, 2012

It's the BANKS, stupid!

Dateline NY, Sept, 7, 2012

"...after four years of studies, hearings, and round tables, the Securities and Exchange Commission late last month abandoned efforts to impose new regulations on money market funds intended to prevent another panic like the one that occurred in 2008 and eliminate the need for a taxpayer bailout of the multi-trillion-dollar funds."

It seems three of the five SEC Commissioners, two Republicans and one Democrat, indicated they would NOT support any new reform proposals.  Make that BANKERS, 1; all the rest of us, 0.  Game, set, match.

Here we are in the heat of another election year, our economy is still in the toilet, and the Democrats and the Republicans are both pointing fingers at each other saying, "It's all THEIR fault.  If you elect us WE'LL FIX THIS!"

Truth of the matter is, it's BOTH their faults, and until someone stands up to the bankers, NOTHING is going to get fixed!  Oh sure, they'll let us squabble over things like abortion and gay marriage and whether there should be prayer in public places, but when it comes to anything with a dollar sign attached, they (the bankers / financiers) call the shots.  And the outcome is pre-ordained:  They will win, and the rest of us will....well, they don't give a flip.

From 1999 (essentially the end of any meaningful banking regulations) until 2008, the bankers had things going exactly as they wanted, and they made BILLIONS along the way.  Then when their unrestrained speculation imploded in 2008, they (mostly) kept their winnings, hit the reset button (raided the taxpayer's piggy bank) and started over again.  (It's nice to know own the right people, huh?)

So which political party is most likely to get us out of this vicious financial cycle of boom (for them) and bust (for us)?  Let's review:

Mitt Romney is firmly in the banker's camp (he's actually one of them!) and his veep is their head cheerleader.  Now don't get to feeling too smug, Democrats, because Obama had his chance to stand up to them in March (?), 2009 and wimped out.  And the people he listens to most closely, such as Sec Treasury Geithner, are so far up the banker's asses all you can see are their shoelaces.

So who then?  There are a few brave, knowledgeable people out there such as former Fed Chmn. Paul Volcker and former Citibank CEO Sandy Weill who say publicly that our mega-banks all need to be reigned in and broken up into not-too-big-to-fail pieces.  Problem is they're older, retired, and not in policy-making positions.  They're non-factors.  (The premise is if the bankers know they won't be bailed out again....that they're not "too big to fail".... and know they're being watched over by regulators with teeth, they'll act more responsibly.)

We're gonna have to start from scratch.  I'll volunteer to stand out front, but I'll need about fifty million other uncorrupted citizens to stand up with me.  (Do we even have fifty million uncorrupted citizens?)  And we can't become fractured by other social issues.....we must stay focused on this one issue only.  So who's with me?

*que the music*

As John Belushi so eloquently said in the classic 1978 movie Animal House, "Our forefathers didn't back down when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, and we can't afford to back down now, either!"

Seriously, they're probably too rich / powerful to take on right now.  We'll have to catch them when they come calling again for a handout, and that day WILL happen.  Unfortunately I'm afraid the next crash could be even more devastating than it was in 2008.



  1. Your observations on the current state of American banking are undoubtedly right on. Things in this country have been going to hell since the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

  2. What we need to do is pull our money out of the big banks and put it in smaller banks like credit unions or just keep it in our mattresses. Though like when people suggest boycotting a gas station to lower prices I doubt there could be enough people to make it happen. But the big banks did get a taste of that when one of them, Bank of America maybe, tried jacking up fees and customers began to go somewhere else.

    Anyway, you're right that the Occupy supporters should be spending their energy by focusing on the big banks. Though I suppose part of the problem is so many of these banks now are huge conglomerates that are probably not American-owned.

    Did you ever see Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story"? He made a good point that most of the big players in the Bush and Obama administrations had ties to Goldman Sachs I think it was. So gee when Goldman Sachs needed a handout, who came to the rescue?

  3. PT....I doubt it would bring them to their knees, but as a matter pf principle I agree...let's all put our money in local credit unions. I do!

    Steve....Correcto. I really can't blame the average Fritz, though, as most were liquored up on sake at the time.

  4. We've used a credit union for 15 years - we love it!

  5. I would suggest the Libertarian Party. If their stance on things doesn't appeal, try the Greens, or Natural Law, or ANYBODY ELSE. It doesn't have to be just the D and R people.

  6. "Truth of the matter is, it's BOTH their faults", Amen to that one my Friend, neither party is any better than the other, as I have said before just two different arms on the same monster.

    I happen to agree with Suldog look at the Libertarian Party and the rest because until we start voting for them we will always be bound by the D and R's