economic policy

ENABLING ACTS FOR AN ERA OF GREED - The Money Party at Work

ENABLING ACTS FOR AN ERA OF GREED

The Money Party at Work

Michael Collins

Huge majorities in both houses of Congress voted for legislation to allow the biggest bank heist of all time.   But this time, it was the banks pulling the heist.

Our financial system looks ruined beyond repair.  The credit default swaps crisis is 40 or so times bigger than the real estate meltdown over subprime derivatives.  The top 25 banks in the United States are loaded down with $13 trillion in credit default swaps and the deal is coming unraveled.  If we accept the highly dubious assumption that the debt from the financial meltdown needs to be repaid by us, were looking at $43,000 a citizen right now.  And we're just starting.

It didn't get that way by accident.  There was special legislation that enabled the current crisis.

This evening compared to Franklin Roosevelt

June 27, 1936: “What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.” March 21, 2009: “... the rest of us can't afford to demonize every investor or entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit.” The Washington Post has available the full text of President Obama’s press conference this evening. Near the end of his remarks, the President said:

Bankers and executives on Wall Street need to realize that enriching themselves on the taxpayers' dime is inexcusable, that the days of outsized rewards and reckless speculation that puts us all at risk have to be over.

Why “have to be over”? Why not “are over”?

At the same time, the rest of us can't afford to demonize every investor or entrepreneur who seeks to make a profit. That drive is what has always fueled our prosperity, and it is what will ultimately get these banks lending and our economy moving once more.

From Franklin Roosevelt’s first fireside chat, “On the Bank Crisis,” Sunday, March 12, 1933

As a result we start tomorrow, Monday, with the opening of banks in the twelve Federal Reserve bank cities -- those banks which on first examination by the Treasury have already been found to be all right. This will be followed on Tuesday by the resumption of all their functions by banks already found to be sound in cities where there are recognized clearing houses. That means about 250 cities of the United States.