“The Banker fleecing the peasant” by Hieronimous Bosh
Ater the weekend’s global protests by various “Occupy” movements the mainstream media have decided it is not going away anytime soon and is becoming too large to ignore. Inevitably this cues a series of sneering articles deriding the movement for its lack of focus in its heads of complaint and the vagueness of its reforms.
My reading of the movement is that there is a very clear central core of grievance that is simply not being addressed by either the financiers or the politicians all of whom seem paralysed in the face of the chaos that is to come. The following is a pinch from The Reformed Broker via Whateverworks which I take the liberty to quote from as it is as eloquent a summation of the reasons why people are unhappy with the Banks, be they Retail, Investment or Central as I have seen.
“In 2008, the American people were told that if they didn’t bail out the banks, their way of life would never be the same. In no uncertain terms, our leaders told us anything short of saving these insolvent banks would result in a depression to the American public. We had to do it!
At our darkest hour we gave these banks every single thing they asked for. We allowed investment banks to borrow money at zero percent interest rate, directly from the Fed. We gave them taxpayer cash right onto their balance sheets. We allowed them to suspend account rules and pretend that the toxic sludge they were carrying was worth 100 cents on the dollar. Anything to stave off insolvency. We left thousands of executives in place at these firms. Nobody went to jail, not a single perp walk. I can’t even think of a single example of someone being fired. People resigned with full benefits and pensions, as though it were a job well done.
The American taxpayer kicked in over a trillion dollars to help make all of this happen. But the banks didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. The banks didn’t seize this opportunity, this second chance to re-enter society as a constructive agent of commerce. Instead, they went back to business as usual. With $20 billion in bonuses paid during 2009. Another $20 billion in bonuses paid in 2010. And they did this with the profits they earned from zero percent interest rates that actually acted as a tax on the rest of the economy.
Instead of coming back and working with this economy to get back on its feet, they hired lobbyists by the dozen to fight tooth and nail against any efforts whatsoever to bring common sense regulation to the financial industry. Instead of coming back and working with the people, they hired an army of robosigners to process millions of foreclosures. In many cases, without even having the proper paperwork to evict the homeowners.
. . . but millions of Americans are in a living hell. This is why they’re enraged, this is why they’re assembling, this is why they hate you. Why for the first time in 50 years, the people are coming out in the streets and saying, “Enough.”
The site is intelligent, informed well written, witty and well worth looking at and bookmarking.
Copyright David Macadam 2011