Then the president and Congress just aren’t that into you.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Forget now-defunct GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s rallying cry of 9-9-9. The battle cry for every American ought to be 7-7-7.
7-7-7: for the $7.7 trillion the Bush and Obama Administrations secretly funneled to the banksters.
Remember the $700 billion bailout that prompted rage from right to left? Which inspired millions to join the Tea Party and the Occupy movements? Turns out that was drop in the bucket, less than a tenth of what the Federal Reserve doled out to the big banks.
Bloomberg Markets Magazine reports a shocking story that emerged from tens of thousands of documents released under the Freedom of Information Act: By March 2009, the Fed shelled out $7.77 trillion to rescuing the financial system. That’s more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.
The national debt is currently a record $14 trillion. We knew the Fed and White House were Wall Street pawns. What’s new is the scale of the conspiracy.
Even the most jaded financial reporters were stunned at the extent of collusion: “The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates.”
Citigroup earned an extra $1.8 billion by reinvesting the Fed’s below-market loans. Bank of America made $1.5 billion. Bear in mind, that’s only through March 2009.
This stinks. It’s terrible economics. And it’s unbelievably cruel.
First the economics. The bank bailouts were supposed to loosen credit in order to encourage lending, investment, job creation and ultimately consumer spending. It didn’t work. Banks and corporations alike are hoarding cash. President Obama, who promised 4 million net new jobs by earlier this year, has been reduced to claiming unemployment would have been even higher without the bailouts.
Ask any business executive why nobody is hiring and they’ll blame lack of consumer demand. If the ultimate goal is to put more money into people’s pockets, why not just, you know, put more money into people’s pockets?
We the people got 0-0-0. But what if we’d gotten 7-7-7? Every man, woman and child in the U.S. would have received $24,000. A family of four would have gotten $96,000.
New U.S. Census Bureau data shows that 100 million American citizens – one out of three – subsists below or just above the official poverty line. Demographers, statisticians and economists were stunned. “These numbers are higher than we anticipated,” Trudi J. Renwick, the bureau’s chief poverty statistician, told The New York Times. “There are more people struggling than official numbers show.”
For four decades progressive economists have warned the U.S. would become a Third World country if income inequality continued to expand. They can stop. We’re there.
These poor and “near poor” Americans comprise the vast majority of the uninsured, un – and underemployed, and foreclosure victims. If the 7-7-7 Plan had gone to these 100 million mis rables instead of Citigroup and B of A, the IRS would have mailed out 100 million checks for $77,700 each.
This would have paid off a lot of credit cards. Kept millions in their homes, protecting neighborhood property values. Allowed millions to see a doctor. Paid for food. Sure a lot of money would have been “wasted” on new cars, Xboxes or maybe a renovation – all of which would have created a buttload of consumer demand.
Author Ted Rall posts commentary and political cartoons at www.rall.com.