Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why Do Those Entities Positively Reeking With Wealth Need Further Huge Tax Breaks? ("Lunatics? Simply Totalitarians")*

* (Linked at Krugman Online 12/15/2010)

Talk, talk, talk. When do we (enough of us to actually make a difference) decide we can't go on without a cataclysmic political turnaround? (Emphasis marks and some editing inserted - Ed.)

Bloomberg reported yesterday, “More than 70 percent of Americans say big bonuses should be banned this year at Wall Street firms that took taxpayer bailouts, a Bloomberg National Poll shows…”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon got a bonus package for 2009 valued at $17 million and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein received a $9 million all-stock bonus for last year, down from his Wall Street record $67.9 million in 2007.” . . . Why have there not been any prosecutions in the financial crisis? “Lawrence McDonald is as intimately familiar with how badly you’re being screwed by the American financial system, and how corrupt the government's decision making is to address not only reforming the financial system but servicing justice inside the financial system,” says Dylan (Ratigan).

. . . Dylan points to a recent article on ProPublica by Jesse Eisinger, Where Are the Financial Crisis Prosecutions?, saying that ”Eisinger talks about even this insider trading investigation as little more than a sideshow that is preventing anyone from Lehman, Merrill Lynch, CitiGroup to be criminally charged with anything. Not a single top executive at Bear Stearns has been indicted. All of the former AIG execs are running free and still have their money, and no big mortgage company executive has had to face the law.”

Larry explains why we haven’t seen any prosecutions yet.The SEC, these regulators, they love the low-hanging fruit. They love the insider trading cases. The complexity of the Lehman Brothers balance sheet and what went down — there were definitely criminal activities and horrific accounting moves that deceived investors. We raised in the spring of 2008 as Lehman was heading towards that iceberg — we raised $10 billion in equity and preferred stock. Those investors were absolutely vaporized,” says Larry. He continues, “like you said, nothing’s been done. They want to go after insider trading, kind of 20th century investigations instead of 21st century investigation."

Dylan asks, “but what could be more low hanging fruit, politically, than the obvious extraction using the executive compensation vehicles at the top of places like Lehman Brothers to wind up the most insane gambling parlor the world has ever seen? Then, when all the bad bets come back, jam them down the governments throat under the blackmail that you’ll blow up every pension in America?”

My buddy over at Washington's blog makes the no-brainer connections (again) for those who failed first grade (you remember, the place where you finally learned the consequences of bad actions you might have gotten away with at home).
Failing to Prosecute Wall Street Fraud Is Extending Our Economic Problems Bill Gross, Nouriel Roubini, Laurence Kotlikoff, Steve Keen, Michel Chossudovsky and the Wall Street Journal (fancy that - Ed.) all say that the U.S. economy is a giant Ponzi scheme.

Virtually all independent economists and financial experts say that rampant fraud was largely responsible for the financial crisis. See this and this.

But many on Wall Street and in D.C. - and many investors - believe that we should just "go with the flow". They hope that we can restart our economy and make some more money if we just let things continue the way they are.

But the assumption that a system built on fraud can continue without crashing is false.

In fact, top economists and financial experts agree that - unless fraud is prosecuted - the economy cannot recover.

From Robert Reich (Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and former U.S. Secretary of Labor) we learn about the financial people surrounding Obama (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., praises the President’s agreement with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts.

“If we’re going to strengthen our economy and grow jobs, this type of outreach — and cooperation between the administration, Congress, and the private sector — are critical,” says Dimon.

Dimon met last week with the President. Thirty other CEOs are meeting with him today.

Dimon’s compensation over the last three years has averaged $21,991,394 a year. The tax deal agreed to between President Obama and the Republicans will give Dimon and extra $1,179,000 next year, according to an analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice.

The bank Dimon heads was also the beneficiary of the giant Wall-Street bailout of 2007 and 2008. JPMorgan Chase & Co, along with other Wall Street banks, also poured millions of dollars into a lobbying campaign to water down the financial reforms Congress considered earlier this year.

The real question is: why do the U.S. taxpayers keep letting them get away with this? Didn't we learn enough about the scoundrels and thugs abounding within the Bush/Cheney Administration this past decade? How slow-witted is this population? Because the worse off you are, the more your taxes increase under Obama's latest tax-cuts-for-the-wealthy-and-poverty-for-the-rest bill. So we're all rich now? Cause who will admit to be among those poverty types who are getting stuck with the bill? (Maybe we'll just let the great-grandchildren worry about pulling us out of this spiral!) Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston elucidates (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

Well, you certainly cannot accuse the Republicans of leaving any money on the table. They got an extraordinarily good deal, that raises, I think, basic questions about the negotiating skills of the President. The bottom roughly 45 million families in America or households in America — and there are a little over 100 million households — they’re going to actually see their taxes go up. And that’s because President Obama’s Making Work Pay credit — $400 per person, $200 for a couple, and you got it even if you were retired or disabled — is going to go away.

And it’s going to be replaced by this temporary two percent reduction in the payroll tax, the Social Security tax. Well, for about 45 million households who make less than $20,000 a year, this is a tax increase of $150 to $200 each. So, it certainly seems to me it’s reasonable going forward, given how the Republicans have emphasized they will never raise taxes on anyone and they are the party of tax cuts, that the Republicans have now become the party of tax increases on the poor.

At the top end, if you’re a two-income couple and you make a little over $100,000 each, so you pay the most Social Security tax, you didn’t get Obama’s Making Work Pay credit. You were regarded as too well off.

But that Social Security payroll tax decrease is going to mean about a $4,200 tax cut for you. So, clearly, we could see the scheme of this is: the better off you are, the more help you get from the government; the worse off you are, your taxes go up.

Well there's a heartfelt holiday greeting! Another case in point that is a continuing unbelievable mess (at holiday time, no less) . . . is not neglected at The Business Insider:

. . . the Pentagon wastes so much money that it is almost incomprehensible. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once publicly admitted that the Pentagon lost track of 2.3 trillion dollars and cannot tell us how it was spent. Just imagine how your boss would react if you lost track of just 2.3 thousand dollars. So why wasn't there more of an uproar about losing track of 2.3 trillion dollars? Have we become so accustomed to military waste that we don't even care anymore?

. . . The U.S. military is spread so thin right now that they could not even respond adequately if a real threat did emerge. Trying to be the police of the world is not only incredibly costly, it is also strategic suicide. What possible justification could there possibly be for having U.S. troops in 130 different nations? Why in the world do we still need huge contingents of troops in Germany and Japan? It is funny when people talk about us pulling out of Afghanistan or Iraq, because we never even pulled out of Germany or Japan after World War II. Once the U.S. military gets boots on the ground somewhere, they very rarely ever leave. Read more here.

David Stockman (ex-liar Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981–1985) in Reagan Administration now trying to recoup some integrity) Explains To Dylan Ratigan How In Thirty Years America Spent Enough Debt To LBO Itself, And Ended Up Bankrupt
We have had a Fed-engineered serial bubble, that has created the appearance of wealth, that has caused people to consume beyond their means through borrowing, and that has flushed the income and wealth of our society up to the top, as a result of the Fed turning the financial markets into a casino.

These are pure casinos, they are not capital markets, they are not adding to the productive capacity of our economy, they simply are a bunch of robots trading with each other by the millisecond as a result of the Fed giving them zero cost overnight money, and giving them all kinds of hand signals on what to front-run.

The Fed is destroying prosperity by funding demand that we can't support with earnings and productions, causing massive current accounts deficits and the flow of funds overseas and the build up in China, OPEC and Korea of massive dollar reserves which is a totally unsustainable, unsupportable system, and we are coming near the edge of where that can continue to remain stable.

Please click on the title link above to see the video (It's dy-no-mite!). John Pilger to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! on the reality of the new world totalitarians (emphasis marks added - Ed.):
JOHN PILGER: Look, Amy, I thought you were reading out there several passages from 1984. I don’t think Orwell could have put it even better than that. Surely, we mustn’t think these things. I’m thinking it at the moment. So if I was over there, I must be guilty of something, and therefore I should be illegally taken out.

Look, there’s always been — as you know better than I, there’s always been a tension among the elites in the United States between those who pay some sort of homage, lip service, to all those Georgian gentleman who passed down those tablets of good intentions all that long time ago and a bunch of lunatics. But they’re powerful lunatics. They’re — perhaps "lunatics" is not quite right. They’re simply totalitarian people. And up they come in anything like this. I see — I read this morning that the U.S. Air Force has banned anybody connecting with it from reading The Guardian. So, everyone is banned from doing things and banned from thinking and so on.

They won’t get away with it. That’s the good news. They are hyperventilating, and they’re hysterical, and so be it, but they won’t get away with it. There are now two genuine powers in the world. We know about U.S. power. But that great sleeper, world public opinion, world decency, if you like, if I’m not being too romantic about it, is waking up. And the scenes outside the court yesterday went well beyond, I think, just the WikiLeaks issue. It is something else. WikiLeaks has triggered something. And I don’t think it will be the proverbial genie being stuffed back in the bottle, either.

John Pilger asks a finally attentive audience:

Why Are Wars Not Being Reported Honestly?

The public needs to know the truth about wars. So why have journalists colluded with governments to hoodwink us?

And what happens when we lose net neutrality as is almost certain to happen? (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)
Tomorrow, the FCC stops taking meetings and accepting official comments on its proposed Net Neutrality rules. But until then, we're using every minute we have to remind the FCC that the public overwhelmingly wants real Net Neutrality, not a fake compromise with the phone and cable companies that will effectively kill free speech and innovation online.

Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski released a proposal that is Net Neutrality in name only. While details are still scarce, the Genachowski proposal reportedly would not offer the same protections to wireless Internet users as it would to those using wired connections.

It would also open the door to "paid prioritization," which could allow phone and cable companies to create toll roads that would favor the traffic of a select few companies that can pay by slowing down everyone else.

And Genachowski is abandoning his prior commitment to make new rules under Title II of the Communications Act, instead pursuing rules under the more legally precarious Title I. Such an approach not only puts Net Neutrality at risk of being tossed out in court, but it raises serious questions about how the FCC plans to achieve any of the more ambitions goals of the National Broadband Plan.

Good news at holiday time? (For whom?) Suzan ___________________


Jolly Roger said...

The polling indicates that we're really not all that slow-witted. It's just that most of us do not believe that anyone we vote for is going to do anything but further the Plutocracy.

Solid majorities want to see the bankers punished, and the rich start paying their own way-but the politicians don't care. The idiots among us never miss an election. I wish the sentient ones would adopt the same attitude.

Cirze said...

Me too, JR. Me too!

The idiots among us never miss an election. I wish the sentient ones would adopt the same attitude.

The "slow witted" aren't us, of course! Ha ha. It's that happy-as-pigs-in-shit 40% that seems like 90% to me because I run into these fools on a daily basis.

I had one tell me after the election, "We won!"

I responded with, "But you always do."

She hasn't looked at me quite the same way since. Think she got the sarcasm?

Thanks for the comment.

Love ya,


Jolly Roger said...

Sarcasm is wasted on Klanservatives, most of who believe that Colbert is one of them.

Cirze said...

Now that is a sad (and perceptive) comment.

As usual.

Thanks again!