Sunday, October 9, 2011

To every action, expect an opposite reaction

The most brazen disdain for democracy in modern times, Simon Jenkins, The Guardian, January 12, 2010
"There will be a tidal wave of rage. Over the next two weeks the executives of the leading British and American banks will announce that some £50bn is to be taken from accumulated profit and handed over, not to shareholders or taxpayers, but to themselves. It will be the most outrageous contempt of ­democratic authority in modern times.

"The sums will be breathtaking, starting with Friday's predicted payout of £18bn at the American bank, JP Morgan Chase. This is almost exactly what it cost the US taxpayer to rescue the bank a year ago. A similar sum is predicted at Goldman Sachs. This is happening at the heart of the western economy that has just endured its worst crash for 30 years, almost entirely through the doings of these banks and executives..."
Attorneys General Settlement: The Next Big Bank Bailout? TAIBBLOG, Matt Taibbi, Rollling Stone, October 5, 2011
"...this settlement is not about getting money from the banks. The deal being contemplated is actually the opposite: a giant bailout.

"Any foreclosure settlement will allow the banks to pay one relatively small bill to cover all of their legal liabilities stemming from the monstrous frauds they all practiced in the years leading up to the 2008 crash (and even afterward), when they all schemed to create great masses of dicey/junk subprime loans and then disguise them as AAA-rated paper for sale to big private investors and institutions like state pension funds and union funds.

"To recap the crime: the banks lent money to firms like Countrywide, who in turn created billions in dicey loans, who then sold them back to the banks, who chopped them up and sold them to, among other things, your state’s worker retirement funds.

"So this is bankers from Deutsche and Goldman and Bank of America essentially stealing the retirement nest eggs of firemen, teachers, cops, and other actors, as well as the investment monies of foreigners and hedge fund managers. To repeat: this was Wall Street hotshots stealing money from old ladies.

"Along the road to this systematic thievery, a great many other, sometimes smaller offenses were committed...

"But the Obama administration’s current plan is to let them all walk after paying a few shekels apiece into a $20 billion kitty.

"...If the Obama administration was serious about helping actual human beings through this settlement, then it would be fighting for homeowners to get the same bailout the banks would get. If the banks are getting a trillion or more dollars of legal immunity, why shouldn’t homeowners get that much debt forgiveness? Or, half that much? A quarter?"
Protesters Against Wall Street, New York Times Editorial, October 8, 2011:
"...The initial outrage has been compounded by bailouts and by elected officials’ hunger for campaign cash from Wall Street, a toxic combination that has reaffirmed the economic and political power of banks and bankers, while ordinary Americans suffer.

"Extreme inequality is the hallmark of a dysfunctional economy, dominated by a financial sector that is driven as much by speculation, gouging and government backing as by productive investment.

"...Income gains at the top would not be as worrisome as they are if the middle class and the poor were also gaining. But working-age households saw their real income decline in the first decade of this century. The recession and its aftermath have only accelerated the decline.

"There are plenty of policy goals to address the grievances of the protesters — including lasting foreclosure relief, a financial transactions tax, greater legal protection for workers’ rights, and more progressive taxation. The country needs a shift in the emphasis of public policy from protecting the banks to fostering full employment, including public spending for job creation and development of a strong, long-term strategy to increase domestic manufacturing."
What Do They Want? Justice, Robert Scheer, Truthdig, October 6, 2011
"How can anyone possessed of the faintest sense of social justice not thrill to the Occupy Wall Street movement now spreading throughout the country? One need not be religiously doctrinaire to recognize this as a “come to Jesus moment” when the money-changers stand exposed and the victims of their avarice are at long last offered succor.

"...But the Wall Street titans escaped being held accountable for the excesses of their greed: They got their lackeys in government to throw them a lifeline bailout while their victims among the unemployed and foreclosed were abandoned.

“We bailed out the banks with an understanding that there would be a restoration of lending. All there was was a restoration of bonuses” is the way Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz described it in speaking to the protesters on Wall Street...."


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