There is no question that the financial industry is out to lunch and they have been for years. The Chamber of Commerce, on CNBC, literally came out and likened the angry statement by the President and the new legislation that will regulate banks…to an Alice in Wonderland moment. They think that the President and the rest of us taxpayers are living in a fantasy because we expect the return of all the money we lent to the now solvent banks. They think that, because they want to take huge multi-million-dollar bonuses before helping us put the economy back on track, from the 7 million jobs their imprudent investments cost us…we are being unreasonable….living in a fantasy world. It’s not fair, they say, to tax bonuses to help the economy.
Not fair? Now who is living a fantasy! American taxpayers not only contributed $700 billion, plus some undetermined amount that the Federal Reserve has yet to disclose (see the Alan Grayson interrogation of Federal Reserve officers below) but they also suffered the worst Recession and loss of jobs since 1929. All caused by foolish investments so that these Wall Street hucksters could get filthy rich.
While the Chamber of Commerce is lobbying as hard as it can with television commercials, non-stop, against the health care program, it is working with similar vigor to create an atmosphere that encourages Americans to regard the tax on huge, unwarranted bonuses as unreasonable. In addition, the Chamber, now employed by the Wall Street bankers as virtually a lobbying group, goes on CNBC’s Wall Street-pandering Larry Kudlow program using the age-old Republican argument that any tax on anything will take the economy into a tail spin. Of course, they should know. The Necons helped Wall Street take the economy into the tail spin it is in right now by totally de-regulating the financial industry. They are now doing their best to keep it there.
Kudlow and like-minded Neocon legislators like the insignificant Peter Roskam of Illinois, trying to make his bones with his fellow GOP lobbyist-legislators by taking the financial industry’s side against the taxpayers, argues that the banks will merely pass on these costs. It will slow the economy. Mr. Roskam would realize, if he were not hanging out with multi-billionaire Wall Streeters, that the economy is slow now, thanks to them. Giving them higher bonuses will not make things better, but worse.
The fact is that even now banks are not loaning the money that they are making. Small businesses cannot grow because money the banks should be more interested in loaning, they are using to trade investment vehicles among other financial institutions and not investing in business. But they still make huge bonuses. The average employee at JPMorgan-Chase will receive income of $373,000 for 2009, after bonuses are paid. That sounds impressive but not criminal until you realize that most people at these firms, and at JP Morgan-Chase, do not have their income based on bonuses at all. Most people are administrative and get very small bonuses, if any. Which means that the bonuses on which Congress wants to levy taxes…which Rep. Roskam calls merely a political diversion…are, in fact, an insult to the American people. Here’s the fact: We bailed them out while they screwed us and now they won’t lend money but want us to approve huge bonuses while 15 million Americans are out of work because of them. Why is this so difficult to understand for Mr. Roskam? He is supposed to be protecting his constituents rather than pandering for Wall Street.
With earnings of the Wall Street firms climbing into the mid-billions, and with their attitude of “screw you” disregarding individual citizens, the President and Congress have had enough. They are going to start taxing these excessive bonuses that have made multi-millionaires of mid-level executives by selling worthless investments to pension funds and foundations and endowments, making these arrogant punks rich and impoverishing the rest of society. Will a tax on intemperate bonuses disadvantage the banks and financial institutions and make them less able to loan money to small business? Not at all. But if they do try to retaliate by holding back funds, after the American People have bailed them out–while they caused a near Depression–one that most of us are still suffering through, then we should do what FDR did. We should regulate them until they have no way to make huge bonuses. We should separate wild, speculative investment from banks and make banking and finance a true career choice. That is, if you can’t afford to live without money in the first place, you shouldn’t take a job on Wall Street.
Of course, that last is a joke. But not completely. We must have solidarity, strength and integrity in our banking system again. And we need to put that into law, strict laws, that this industry is fighting all the way, just as hard as the health insurance firms are fighting health care reform. The cycle of speculation has already started. How else do you think firms like Goldman-Sachs and Citibank are already making billions while the economy can’t put a million new jobs together. And the economy is not. The investment firms are not. Only the excruciatingly difficult effort of the Obama Adminstration–yes, that is where all the jobs, any jobs are coming from–is keeping us out of a Depression.
The big public and private banks are deliberately loaning only to big corporations on perfectly safe ventures, reaping huge rewards, and paying themselves bonuses. That creates no new jobs. They are creating new derivative investments that they are selling to investment firms who are putting them into the same investment groups who lost on previous scams. We are being set up for another collapse.
The stock market has risen over 2500 points in the last year. Have you seen any evidence that the economy has grown by 25 to 30 percent? It hasn’t grown at all. The fed funds interest rate is still in minus territory. No one is borrowing. And that means that no private investment is being made. And that means that the Wall Street boys are setting us up again, and telling us, according to the Kudlows, and the Roskams and the Chamber of Commerce that it is we, not they, who are living in “wonderland.”
Well, we are wondering. We wonder when the American people are going to wake up and back this President against those smirking, arrogant bankers who think that they can continue to control this economy and make all our lives miserable.