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And, yes, I DO take it personally: License to steal
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

License to steal

yes, i've been posting extensively on the rape and pillage of the economy and the rapidly-disappearing middle class being conducted by our super-rich elites... i'm not sure it's possible to give too much exposure to the outright coup that's been taking place for years but has escalated dramatically in the past few years...

robert scheer...

They do have a license to steal. There is no other way to read Tuesday’s report from the New York state comptroller that bonuses for Wall Street financiers rose 17 percent to $20.3 billion in 2009. Of course that is less than the $32.9 billion for bonus rewards back in 2007, when those hotshots could still pretend that they were running sound businesses.

The economy is anything but sound, but you would hardly know that from looking at the balance sheets of the big investment banks. The broker-dealer firms on Wall Street made a record profit, estimated at greater than $55 billion by the comptroller, and the only thing holding back even more grotesque bonuses was concern over criticism from a public that was hardly doing as well.

The enormous rewards last year come not from their having righted the ship of finance by lowering the rate of mortgage foreclosures for ordinary folks, one of four who are now “underwater” on their loans. Consumer confidence this month is the lowest in 27 years, and unemployment is expected to hover near 10 percent for the next two years. No, they get bonuses because the Federal Reserve, backed by the Treasury, bought the toxic mortgage securitization packages that Wall Street banks were left holding. They, and they alone, were made whole.

The way the scam worked is that the Treasury deposited taxpayer dollars with the Federal Reserve, which in turn purchased a whopping $1.25 trillion in toxic mortgages. That’s the figure after the Treasury on Tuesday committed to depositing $200 billion more with the Fed to increase spending on this program—one that was ostensibly designed to increase credit availability to small businesses and others but has hardly accomplished that goal. Credit is still very tight because the big financiers have used the low-cost cash they received from those charitable government programs to solidify their own positions through acquisitions and the like.

those of us privileged to live in the united states (and i say "privileged" because, despite the abominations taking place in my country, it's still a much better place to live overall than so many other places, places such as kosovo, for example, where i am currently sitting, writing this post) are understandably loath to face facts when they undermine the glorious image of our country that's been pounded into our heads from the time we learned to talk... but, it's a fact... we're being robbed, virtually at gunpoint, as mr. scheer rightly points out... however, we must also understand that it's not just us getting the shaft... these same people are perpetrating the same financial and economic devastation around the world... what's more, they serve as role models for such behavior... how, for instance, can i do effective work here in kosovo, a country awash in corruption and self-serving behavior from its leaders, when everyone can see what's happening in the very country that's preaching ethics and responsible behavior... it's maddening...

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