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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Banks exit the bailout to sidestep pay caps while they get even "too-BIGGER-to-fail," all on OUR money
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Banks exit the bailout to sidestep pay caps while they get even "too-BIGGER-to-fail," all on OUR money

hearkening back to sunday's "helpless" post, this has to be a case in point... we taxpayers are getting soaked for the tab in a scheme that only assures more rivers of money continue to flow to the already super-rich elites and yet we sit idly by finishing up our christmas shopping - if we're lucky enough to have any money to do it with - apparently content to allow this bald-faced robbery to go unchallenged...
Citigroup’s planned exit from the bailout — like Bank of America’s earlier this month — would be welcome if the banks were the picture of health. But their main motive is to get out from under the bailout’s pay caps and other restraints. The Treasury Department’s approval is a grim reminder of the political power of the banks, even as the economy they did so much to damage continues to struggle.

Mr. Obama was right when he said the banks owe “an extraordinary commitment” to taxpayers, and he got some promises to lend more. But that would have been more convincing if the administration had held the banks’ feet to the fire in the first place and had not agreed so quickly to freeing them from the bailout restraints. The truth is that the taxpayers are still very much on the hook for a banking system that is shaping up to be much riskier than the one that led to disaster.

Big bank profits, for instance, still come mostly courtesy of taxpayers. Their trading earnings are financed by more than a trillion dollars’ worth of cheap loans from the Federal Reserve, for which some of their most noxious assets are collateral. They benefit from immense federal loan guarantees, but they are not lending much. Lending to business, notably, is very tight.

What profits the banks make come mostly from trading. Many big banks are happy to depend on the lifeline from the Fed and hang onto their toxic assets hoping for a rebound in prices. And the whole system has grown more concentrated. Bank of America was considered too big to fail before the meltdown. Since then, it has acquired Merrill Lynch. Wells Fargo took over Wachovia. And JPMorgan Chase gobbled up Bear Stearns.

If the goal is to reduce the number of huge banks that taxpayers must rescue at any cost, the nation is moving in the wrong direction. The growth of the biggest banks ensures that the next bailout will have to be even bigger. These banks will be more likely to take on excessive risk because they have the implicit assurance of rescue.

hey, why WOULDN'T they continue to take on excessive risk...? they know they've got the government in their pocket... what's to worry about...?

meanwhile, out in the REAL world...

More than half of the nation’s unemployed workers have borrowed money from friends or relatives since losing their jobs. An equal number have cut back on doctor visits or medical treatments because they are out of work.

Almost half have suffered from depression or anxiety. About 4 in 10 parents have noticed behavioral changes in their children that they attribute to their difficulties in finding work.

Joblessness has wreaked financial and emotional havoc on the lives of many of those out of work, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll of unemployed adults, causing major life changes, mental health issues and trouble maintaining even basic necessities.

and that's just in the u.s... while our super-rich elites continue to amass untold wealth, over one billion people are going hungry...

have a happy holiday, banksters... rest easy knowing that you make scrooge look like a saint...

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