Something Happening Here…

Could it be that the game is still the same and only the players have switched uniforms?
I’ve written a lot in the past about my concern that President Obama’s economic team was composed of the same people who helped build the corrupt system on Wall St. that collapsed last year, instead of progressive economists who were not part of the “trickle-down country club”. I am only becoming more and more suspicious as we learn more his economic policies.
There are three legs to the Obama “plan” as I understand it: tax money to stabilize the financial institutions, tax money to stimulate the economy to create jobs and increased regulation to safeguard the economy and consumers. Six months into the program, it seems clear that the warnings of progressive economists, such as Nobel Prize winners Krugman and Stiglitz have come true: Wall St. is more powerful and profitable than ever before, and blue collar families are worse off. In other words, the Administration has changed, but the results are the same.
The bailout money has resulted in more powerful and profitable Wall St. firms with less competition (the Goldman-Sachs alumni in the Obama Administration allowed competitors like Bear-Stearns and Lehman Brothers to go bankrupt while Sachs was bailed out). If these Wall St. firms were too big to fail before, then the situation has only gotten worse. Most of the tax payer monies were transferred between the remaining firms and are unaccounted for except for executive bonuses which have continued at the same rates as before the bailouts. For example, AIG used their bailout money to pay out large bonuses and to pay back loans from Goldman-Sachs (who had already been given money for those same loans with their bailout money – they got paid twice!).
Banks used our money to buy other banks instead of bailing out foreclosed homes or lending to small businesses. Tens of billions of dollars went to stabilize foreign banks. Once again, tax payer monies are unaccounted for. Homeowners in foreclosure who couldn’t get their bank to lower their mortgage 2%, were forced to lend the same banks their tax dollars. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is selling back the tax payer ownership stocks to the banks at a fraction of their true value. Banks got essentially free loans from the same people who they were denying loans and have to pay only a fraction of the money back.
Finally the “regulatory reforms” announced to protect American consumers are being weakened to the point of irrelevance. For example, the law designed to set up an agency to protect consumers from credit card company abuses is being designed as “advisory only” with no enforcement ability. In other words, they can tell a credit card company that raising interest rates or imposing new fees are wrong, but can’t do anything to stop them.

Progressive economists warn that the bailout program would only result in less competition and money disappearing; the stimulus package was too small and so poorly designed that most of the money would not go to create jobs and that the regulations need to be enforceable by an agency in the Fed (i.e. not having the same coworkers enforcing the regulations). They were right, but President Obama is ignoring his own mistakes.
5% of Americans control the 90% of the wealth in America and the same 5% control the government – Republican or Democrat. How do we change this equation?

2 Responses to Something Happening Here…

  1. Patricia Jankowski says:

    Well said, Mr. Fieger.

    I just got through a 20 hour power failure, during which I read by kerosene lamp, sipped a bit of cabernet, and wondered what I’d do with all the frozen food if it did not come back on soon. Luckily, it came on today.

    Not having the usual theatre of technology, my mind felt vibrant, alive, and more quiet than usual. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the power is back on, but it did occur to me that perhaps, because of all the media and other influences around us, many of us have allowed our wits to become dull.

    It seems to me that there are very few people left in this world that have a sense of justice as acute as your own. But I agree wholeheartedly…the activities of the Democrats are too weak. Maybe they are being pragmatic…hoping to put at least SOME small change into effect. Creating change is like pushing a rock uphill. It is one of the hardest tasks I can imagine.

    But as you’ve pointed out, we need more than that for truly useful results. We need to rid ourselves of the old “trickle-down” ideas and realize that creating a just system requires effort, forethought, introspection, honest dialogue and planning, and that the only thing that trickles down by itself is shit. Gravity handles that. Please excuse once again my unladylike language.

    We need leaders who have open minds and not much agenda…people with real knowledge of the economy who are willing to look at the successes and failures of other countries and other civilizations throughout history to find the answers. We also need to realize that we are all connected, and that everything that one group does affects everyone else, now more so than ever because of how small this world has become.

    We know that all of us have the same basic needs. We must not plan our societies in denial of this, or it will come back to haunt us.

    I loved Obama’s campaign ideals about planning our future out of hope, not fear.

    But even as I heard him speak, I knew that times would come when he would probably give in to fear.

    Sure enough, they’re here. It’s almost an inevitable part of the human condition and a thing that happens in the human experience to all of us.

    ALMOST inevitable, but not totally.

    I pray that, with our support, he and all the Dems in office will have the strength to get past it, and I’m so grateful to you for putting out the things here that need to be said.

  2. Frank Cusumano says:

    This is dead on right. It is interesting that the enormous concentration of wealth in the top 5% of the population (reported by the Huffington Post to be the greatest concentration in the history of the republic)is going unreported by the slavish corporate press. If you think about it, a thought crosses one’s mind. Conventional wisdom is that the Federal Reserve’s tightening (“throttling”) of the money supply, a mere 3% over four years caused the Great Depression. Therefore, the Federal Reserve, and Treasury, must loosen money supplies to avoid a depression. Of course, this is accomplished though the Federal Reserve cronies of the banks. This is accepted without question thanks to Milton Friedman; but Milton Friedman’s other views, i.e. abolishing the Federal Reserves system in favor a a mechanical system to adjust the money supply are ignored. Imagine if you were a Wall Street Banker, what would be the best way to totally secure your position? Well, naturally, you’d write the history in such a way to insure that each inevitable bust cycle, contraction, or whatever you chose to call it, which you create (I call it the “harvest”), your bank/investment firm would be bailed out. Think about it: Silverado; the S&L Bailout; the recent Trillion Dollar Bailout; and the list could go on and on. The inescapable conclusion is NY Bankers runs the economy through the thoroughly brainwashed Congress and their blind trust of the Federal Reserve and Treasury. As Fieger points out, the most obscene part of the charade is to allow the “players,” i.e. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, to be rescued and the foes or competitors of the “players” to collapse. All on your dime, and diluting your savings, retirement accounts, and your childrens’ future.
    During the Republican Primary debates last Presidential election cycle, the topic was abortion, and Ron Paul off offhandedly dismissed it as not that important compared to what the Federal Reserve was doing. The CSPAN camera panned out and Mitt Romney and John McCain were exchanging glances and smirking at one another. I took it as, “oh boy, is he ever wasting his minutes,” but now I think they are on the inside and knew how completely controlled that area of political discourse is. I applaud Paul for talking about it. I think he is honest in his convictions and has nothing to gain by the argument. One year later, I think we should have listened. Bottom line, according to Paul, we will be a poorer nation very soon, and the entitlements (including corporate which he estimates exceed those to “poor people”) will be eliminated when foreign powers refuse to lend us any more money.

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