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Posts Tagged ‘David Vitter’

Four Graphs that Will Make You Boiling Mad About the Trans Pacific Partnership–Or Why President Trump, former President Obama, along with executives from Nike, Microsoft, Apple and other US corporations Steadfastly Support China’s Currency Manipulations

income inequality

Originally published May 19, 2015 by John Hively

When China manipulates its currency vis-a-vis the US dollar it increases the profits of US job exporters that produce stuff in China and exports that cheap stuff to the USA.

That’s most likely why former President Obama said he will veto any congressional legislation that seeks to stop the Chinese government from manipulating its currency.

Why do President Obama and executives of US based multinational corporations, like Nike, want the Chinese government to manipulate its currency? And what does this have to do with the Trans Pacific Partnership and Fast Track Authority?

The answer to one of these questions is simple: the TPP will force China to manipulate its currency even more than is currently the case.

Take a look at the graph below. On the left side is the Yuan, which is the Chinese currency. On the bottom line is the dollar. Now look at the two intersecting lines, which is the supply and demand for dollars. In this example, 600 yuan can purchase $100 in the currency markets, which is roughly what the two currencies currently exchange for.

So when Nike, Microsoft or Apple Inc. manufacture a product in China that costs the consumers, say, 600 yuan in China, given the exchange rate, the same product will cost $100 in the United States, after, of course, it is exported from China to the USA. Assume these US corporations have a 25% profit margin. That means these companies get 150 Y profits in China per product, and $25 profit when they export their products to the United States.

The same is true for companies that manufacture products in the USA, and then export them to China. American manufacturing companies earn $25 per $100 of product sold in the USA, and 150 Y when their products are exported from the USA to China.

The government of China has been accused of manipulating the value of its currency. So what happens when it does this? It purchases dollars. This shifts the D1 line to the left, because there are less dollars on the market, which is shown in the graph below as line D2. This makes the Yuan less expensive in terms of dollars.

Why would President Obama encourage the Chinese government to manipulate its currency by threatening to veto US legislation aimed at stopping it? Why would Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden only pay lip service to the evil of Chinese currency manipulation, while apparently supporting it? Why are the higher up folks at Nike, Microsoft, Apple and every US corporation that is producing goods in China for export to the United States against any legislation that seeks to address Chinese currency manipulation? There is a very good reason they’re all for this.

Look at the example in the next graph below. When the Chinese government manipulates it’s currency by purchasing dollars, 800 Y will now purchase $75. Do the math; 600 Y will purchase now $56. What does that mean?

It means that when Nike manufactures a pair of shoes in China which costs 600 Y there, in the US it should cost $56 rather than $100, thanks to China’s currency manipulation, but that rarely happens. The US corporate propaganda machine will lie to you and tell you it makes Chinese imports less expensive. However, the truth is that China’s  manipulation increases the profits of Nike.

Nike still gets 25%, or 150 Y, in profits when its shoes are sold in China. When it exports the same shoes to the USA from China, Nike still gets 25% profit on $56, which is $14 dollars. However, Nike still sells it’s shoes for $100 in the United States, which means another $44 in earnings per pair, in addition to the $14.

That means Nike’s profit margin on a $100 pair of shoes goes from 25% at the old exchange rate to 58% at the new exchange rate. This sends its earnings and stock prices higher. The same thing occurs with Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, and every US corporation manufacturing in China, that are exporting their products to the United States.

So who pays the price for this?

You do; if you work for a living in the United States, or if you’re a  small or medium size business owner. Here’s how. Suppose you are a US manufacturer producing shoes in Oregon that sell in the USA for $100. You ship them to China at 600 Y for $100, and earn 150 Y, or $25, in profits. Now suppose the Chinese government, with the encouragement of your corrupt government and many US business leaders, manipulates its currency by purchasing tens of billions upon tens of billions of dollars. The supply of dollars on the international currency markets shrinks, making dollars more expensive, and as noted above, the D1 line shifts to D2, which represents the new supply of money. BTW, the space between D1 and D2 represents the amount of dollars the Chinese purchased.

Those $100 US made shoes now costs 1000 Y in China. Okay, my graph isn’t too high tech, but the actual figure is 1066 Y, if you do the math, but let’s stick with the 1000 Y, for simplicity sake. There’s still a 25% profit margin per pair of shoes, but at the 1000 Y price, there’s not a whole lot of buyers in China. The US manufacturer could lower the price of the shoes to 750 Y, but he or she isn’t making a penny at that price, and they’re still overpriced for the Chinese market. Say goodbye to the Chinese market for all US products at the new exchange rate.

US exports to China are going to shrink quite rapidly under this scenario. This means fewer American jobs, and less wages for everyone. It means less tax dollars going to schools and other government services, it means no retirement pay for a larger percentage of the 99 percent. Rich folks don’t need the money they’re going to steal from us, except to keep the latest stock market bubble surging, at least until it pops. However, greater profits mean the bubble can keep expanding for a while longer.

So how can US corporate leaders and their corrupt politicians encourage the Chinese government to manipulate its currency even more than it already has?

The scams that have been created to do this are called the Trans Pacific Partnership and Fast Track Authority. So what do these two things have to do with Chinese currency manipulation? More importantly, why would the Chinese

government want to engage in currency manipulation?

The answer in one word; Vietnam.

Vietnam is one of the nation’s involved in negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership. As you can see from the graph below, China’s annual minimum wage is nearly twice that of Vietnam. The wages in China at those Nike and Microsoft and Apple and Hewlett-Packard factories and their suppliers and contractors and subcontractors have been going up rapidly over the past fifteen years. Those labor costs have been able to go up because the Chinese government has increased the profit margins of its US manufacturers by manipulating its currency. But there’s another reason why China needs to manipulate its currency vis-a-vis the dollar.

As you can see from the map below, there are nearly 313,000 Nike workers toiling in Vietnam, and nearly 250,00 in China. Vietnam clearly has lower labor costs than those in China. The Chinese government, however, can offset its labor cost disadvantage by manipulating its currency. So it can keep those jobs in China, and still allow the wages of Chinese workers to expand. But that might not be the case should the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) become a reality.

Tariff is another word for tax. When a US company like Nike manufactures its products in Vietnam, and then exports them to the US, a tariff is charged against the products of between 10 and 15 percent. So another $10 to $15 dollars is added to the cost of a $100 pair of Nike’s Vietnamese made shoes exported to the USA. That means less profits, lower dividends, and lower share prices than would otherwise be the case without tariffs. The US tariffs on US corporate goods manufactured in Vietnamese factories helps to offset some of the Vietnamese labor cost advantages vis-a-vis the cost of Chinese labor.

Under the TPP, should it become law, those tariffs will likely be gone, giving Vietnam a much larger labor cost advantage over Chinese workers.

In which case, the Chinese government will have two options; let millions of Nike and Dell and Apple and Microsoft jobs head south to Vietnam, along with the jobs of contractors and subcontractors, or manipulate its currency even more, which means all of those US corporations manufacturing stuff in China for export to the US will see unprecedented and explosive growth of their profits; and all of this will occur at the expense of small and medium sized US companies that make stuff in the United States and export them to China.

That means several unpleasant things will occur to the US economy: US unemployment will grow with the TPP, as exports to China diminish, inequality in wealth and income will continue to increase during the reign of Obama and Wyden, the stock market bubble will continue to expand, the coming stock market crash will be even worse than imaginable, US businesses will need to export more US jobs to China, and all of these bad things will trickle down to more crowded classrooms, less government services, reduced wages, fewer jobs, more poverty, and much more negative stuff for the 99 percent. However, the super rich will become even more super rich. And Chinese currency manipulation will not be the only thing in the TPP contributing to all of these things. See https://johnhively.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/how-the-trans-pacific-partnership-will-destroy-american-jobs-by-destroying-us-exports/

The political game in the US over the TPP and Fast Track Authority currently being played out is a complete farce.

Start with Fast Track Authority, which President Obama, Nike, Microsoft, Ron Wyden, Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell and just about every major US corporate CEO and investor desperately want Obama to have. Fast track will limit congressional debate on trade deals, it will scuttle any possible congressional amendments, and eliminate the use of the filibuster in the senate to stop the TPP. Fast track needs to pass through both houses of congress.

As a condition for bringing Fast Track Authority to a debate on the floor of the US senate, on May 13, a number of Democrats who traditionally vote to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent (Ron Wyden, Harry Reid, Patty Murray, Heidi Heitkamp, Bill Nelson, Tim Kaine, Claire McCaskell, and Ben Cardin) agreed to first bring a vote for a bill by which the US will crackdown somehow on China for manipulating currency.

These folks know such a bill may not pass the senate, much less the house of representatives. If it did pass, then it will sit on Obama’s desk until Fast Track Authority passes both chambers of congress. Then he will veto the currency manipulation bill. There’s a ton of income to be redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent resting on his shoulders.

Then the above senators will pretend to the folks back home that they did all that they could, when in fact, they did nothing when they could have done something to protect the folks back home from the TPP.

Every US senator and every US house representative knows this is the game, and many are willing to play this deadly game so as to justify their support for giving President Obama Fast Track Authority, even though the TPP will likely rip out the guts of the middle class, as well as the US economy.

If the above named Democrats were at all serious about Chinese currency manipulation, then they would agree to wait until Wall Street President Barack Obama signed the bill into law before opening debate on fast track authority.  That won’t happen.

Fast Track Authority is the only way the president can ram the TPP through congress. It’s an income and political power redistribution agreement falsely marketed as a trade agreement. Most of those in the know say the TPP is dead if the president doesn’t receive fast track authority. So fast track is the key.

Save the United States. Fight against this madness called Fast Track Authority. The TPP will only create greater trade deficits in the future than is currently the case. As US Congressman Alan Grayson famously and recently said, “You will find that the largest fourteen trade deficits in the history of the world have been the US trade deficits in each of the last fourteen years….What sane person can look at these trade deficits and conclude we need more free trade?”

The political fight over the Trans Pacific Partnership, Fast Track Authority, and Chinese currency manipulation isn’t about sanity; it’s about greed and government corruption. It’s about raising the already soaring share prices, dividends and earnings of US corporations that have exported millions of US jobs to China and other third world nations, and doing so at the expense of everybody else. It’s about redistributing your standard of living to a small minority of overly rich people who have corrupted and rigged your government in favor of themselves. It’s about redistributing your income and wealth to the 1 percent so as to keep the current stock market bubble expanding. It’s about redistributing the American dream to the 1 percent. It’s about taking the opportunities that once existed for the majority of American citizens and wiping them out by giving 100 percent of all income growth to the 1 percent, and leaving more and more people in poverty.

Currently, the 1 percent steal 37 percent of all income produced in the United States compared to 8 percent in 1980, back when opportunities for financial advancement existed for most Americans. Now the big boys, and the politicians they’ve bought off in one way or the other, want to eliminate your opportunities, as well as those of your children.

Call your senators. Call your congressmen and congresswomen. Stop Fast Track in the senate. Stop the corruption. Stop the insanity.

Over the past fourteen years, since China was granted most favored nation trade status, Nike’s stock price has risen over a thousand percent, from $10 a share to over a $100. Chinese currency manipulation has helped fuel this bubble. So if you purchased a million shares of Nike in the year 2000, today the value of those shares would be over $10 million. With the TPP and Chinese currency manipulation, the value of Nike’s stock will continue to increase, but only at the expense of everybody else. Much of the US stock market bubble is fueled by the same force, and that goes for the stock prices of Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Adidas, Hewlett-Packard and more. And if the TPP goes through, more US manufacturers will need to shift production to China.

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There is a simple reason major US corporations have one of the highest tax rates in the world, and yet, they often pay no taxes, and they often receive billions of dollars in tax rebates from the government on taxes they never paid, as in the case of Bank of America in 2013.

1. By having a large tax rate on paper, the US media propaganda machine, representatives of US corporations, their lobbyists, and their US politicians can argue US corporations have the largest tax liability in the world, and then they will manipulate this lie to generate public support for changes to the corporate tax laws to lower their tax liabilities, which means US corporations will then receive larger tax rebates on taxes they never paid in the future.

2. US corporations enhance their profits with the rebates, which redistributes income from tax payers, i.e. the 99 percent, to the 1 percent. The 99 percent receive less government services by this redistribution, and the 1 percent receive more income. Taxes, coincidentally, are higher on working folks because somebody has to make up the difference between what the government should have in tax revenues, and what the government gives out in tax rebates to the rich. It should be pointed out that any tax rebates on taxes that aren’t even paid is called welfare for the 99 percent, and tax rebates for the 1 percent.

3. The importance of the rebates are massive for publicly traded limited liability corporations, such as Bank of America. The rebate in 2013 increased the bank’s profits by almost 50 percent. That fueled profits to the tune of $1.9 billion in this case, which provided enhanced dividends, as well as surging stock prices to shareholders, and bonuses to important bank officers.

4. Much of those profits, whether actual profits ($4.4 billion), or tax rebates ($1.9 billion), provides more money for Bank of America to purchase politicians of both major political parties, which fuels legislation that further redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent, which will then provide more tax rebates at your expense to Bank of America.

5. Fast Track is a current case in point. Fast Track is legislation pending in congress that will turn over congressional international trade authority to the president of the United States, which is something congressional Wall Street Republicans want to do despite their campaign against President Obama’s imperial presidency, which is, coincidentally, something the Republicans have allowed the presidency to become. That’s because the Wall Street wing of the Republican Party (Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, John Boehner, etc….) and the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party (Ron Wyden, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, etc…) are allies when it comes to working on behalf of Wall Street, and against the interests of the American people.

6. Fast Track will limit debate, not allow for any amendments to the looming international income and political redistribution agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and will not allow any filibuster of this income redistribution scam in the senate. In that way, the public will have less time to be informed of the scheme in congress, and it can pass with 50 votes in the senate, since no filibuster will be allowed, and in case of a tie, Vice President Joe Biden will make the decisive vote in favor of TPP. In other words, senators like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Sharrod Brown, David Vitter etc…. will be unable to filibuster the TPP.

7. We know from leaked documents the TPP is a massive income redistribution scam. The TPP has almost nothing to do with international trade. We know that;

* TPP will give incentives for US corporations to export millions of US jobs. The Federal Reserve estimates that 28 million US jobs were exported between 1990 and 2010.

* TPP will increase US income and wealth inequality. The 1 percent have already taken 95 percent of all income growth in the United States since 2009. Currently, the 1 percent are stealing 36+ percent of all income produced in the USA, compared to only 8 percent in 1980. International trade scams and other federal legislation have brought inequality about. For example, when the above jobs were exported, the difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower wages will go straight into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and surging share prices.

* Those lost jobs will no longer be paying the taxes for our infrastructure, social safety nets, schools, fire and police, but those lost jobs will push the stock markets higher.

* TPP will effectively eliminate your voting rights on local and state issues since it will unconstitutionally grant investors of the 0.01 percent special privileges to challenge labeling and health and safety local laws and regulations of the 99 percent, which most people call voter suppression, but in this case it should be called voter elimination,

* TPP will offer new monopolies for Big Pharma to raise medicine prices they charge you (which redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent),

* TPP will limit food safety standards (which redistributes and transforms your health into the profits of the 1 percent),

* TPP will block financial regulations aimed at preventing the next financial crisis (which will make it easier for Wall Street to redistribute your income and wealth to the 1 percent). Bank of America Stands to Gain From This. The bank will be able to steal more money from you with less regulations, which will increase its profits, dividends and share prices, not to mention CEO bonuses. Bank of America is also spending millions of dollars on lobbyists in support of Fast Track and TPP.

* TPP will destroy millions of jobs in Latin America (230,000 in the textile industry of El Salvador alone) forcing millions of undocumented immigrants into the United States.

* The result of the above will be to depress wages in both North and South America, all to the benefit of the 1 percent, and all at the expense of the 99 percent.

* And we can’t forget that TPP will increase the already massive US trade deficit with other nations, which is supposed to be a bad thing. The exported jobs will be producing goods overseas rather than here, and then US corporations will export their products from China and Vietnam into the United States, exacerbating the current trade deficit.

In other words, the TPP has almost nothing to do with trade. It’s about taking away your money, your voting rights, and giving them to the 1 percent.

TPP, in other words, is designed to put more of your money in the hands of the 1 percent, and this money will be used to corrupt government even more while impoverishing you, and redistributing your future and the future of your children to the 1 percent.

You can rest assured, if Fast Track passes, and the TPP passes with it, profits, as well as the tax rebates Bank of America receives, will become greater, and at your expense.

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Referring to the Democratic Party meltdown in allowing a provision sneakily put in the latest budget bill (by corrupt Wall Street Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder of Kansas) that allows Wall Street investment banks to gamble with taxpayer money and expect to be bailed out if their gamble fails, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine wrote on December 13;

“If the Democrats actually stood for anything other than sounding as progressive as possible without offending their financial backers, then they would do what Republicans always do in these situations: force a shutdown to save their legislation. How many times did Republicans hold the budget hostage to rescue the Bush tax cuts? But the Democrats won’t do that here, because they’re not a real (political) party. They’re a marketing phenomenon, a big chunk of oligarchical”…”single furiously-money-collecting/favor-churning oligarchical Beltway party…cleverly sold to voters as the more reasonable and less nakedly corrupt wing of a two-headed political establishment.”

The budget battle of December 2014 proved a particularly gruesome point; both political parties have been totally corrupted by big money unleashed by the Reagan tax cuts, as well as other tax cuts, and the politicians of the US government are absolutely corrupt, with few exceptions, such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley, Alan Grayson, and perhaps David Vitter. That’s why the political and economic game is totally rigged against the 99 percent.

For the rest of Matt Taibbi’s story, click the link below.

Dodd-Frank Budget Fight Proves Democrats Are a Bunch of Stuffed Suits Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/dodd-frank-budget-fight-proves-democrats-are-a-bunch-of-stuffed-suits–Rolling Stone Magazine

True story. The US government has caught major US banks laundering drug money time and time again and not a soul has gone to jail.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, filed an amendment that would strip a provision from the $1.1 trillion government spending bill that will allow Wall Street banks to gamble with taxpayer money on derivative investments and receive government bailouts when the gamble fails.

Wall Street’s Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a procedural move to kill the Warren/Vitter amendment.

Bipartisan support for the Wall Street giveaway at taxpayer expense, which will redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent, passed through the US Senate in the midst of a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will keep the government up and running. Whoever put the provision in the bill refuses to take credit for it.

Now President Obama, a complete Wall Street president, needs to sign the bill, which he will likely on Monday.

The political and economic game is now rigged against the 99 percent more than ever before.

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(Originally published in 2014)

Friday, on the floor of the US senate, US Senator Elizabeth Warren sounded like the one and only person who should be the next United States president. She sounded like the person who is truly giving us “hope and change” in fact rather than as a political slogan, and she sounded like the person Barack Obama should have been.

Everyday she’s sounding like the new Franklin Delano Roosevelt, sounding like the next great president, and the first great president since Harry Truman, or perhaps Roosevelt himself.

In the speech above, Warren excoriated President Obama, Republicans and Democrats for a House bill that will keep funding the government, but a provision within it will force the taxpayers to increase their bailouts of bad derivative investments by wealthy investors, including all of the big investment banks, and especially Citigroup. This provision allows Citigroup and other big banks to gamble with taxpayer money without any repercussions for their investment decisions.

President Obama, some Democrats, and most of the Republican Party are completely corrupt, which is why they support this giveaway for the rich and powerful. This provision is nothing more than a massive redistribution of income from the 99 to the 1 percent. That’s precisely why the president got on the telephone on Thursday and strong-armed some House Democrats into voting for this bill. The bill passed through the house and must now go through the senate.

The provision was written by Citigroup lobbyists, which nowadays is a bank that has the power to direct the majority of the Republican Party to demand maintaining the provision in the spending bill or shutting the government down by refusing to pass it.

During the final debate over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2010, before Warren was a senator, she was asked about an attempt to weaken the unborn agency. “My first choice is a strong consumer agency. My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor,” she said at the time. These comments were unsuccessfully used against her in her subsequent senate campaign.

This week, she fought to keep a major Wall Street giveaway out of a must-pass spending bill and by Friday night it was clear the fight in the House of Representatives was lost. So Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, took the Senate floor and unleashed a powerful punch on Wall Street giant Citigroup that will leave a mark for an awfully long time, especially on the grass roots, perhaps both grassroots Democrats and Republicans. Hopefully, we are all cheering her on, while Democrats such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden meekly stand by (and he will side with Wall Street since he always does) and do nothing since he is a Wall Street stooge pretending to be a senator that represents the people of Oregon.

Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana has voiced opposition to the provision. We’ll see if he puts his vote where his mouth is, or whether he’s simply pretending to oppose Wall Street.

In the speech above, after listing the top Citigroup executives who have gone on to work in the Obama administration, Warren addressed Citibank executives directly, noting that she agreed that Wall Street reform wasn’t perfect. “I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces,” she said.

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1acartoon-bank-bailouts

Many highly-respected Washington types have been running around for the last three years yelling that because of its large budget deficits, the United States is Greece. Then we learned a few weeks ago that the immediate danger is the United States becoming Cyprus.

Cyprus is a small island country with a financial sector that has run amok, following in the footsteps of Ireland and Iceland and the United States. The assets of its banks were eight times the size of the country’s economy, which is a little more than in the USA, but maybe not, since the Federal Reserve provided permanent loans to several banks to the tune of $26 trillion at zero percent interest. That’s one and a half times greater than the gross domestic product of the United States.

Anyway, in Cyprus, when the banks’ big bets went bad, there was no way Cyprus’ government could afford the price of the bailout. As a result, Cyprus was forced to go hat in hand to the European Central Bank and accept whatever offer was put on the table. However the Cyprus crisis is finally resolved, it is not likely to be a pretty picture for the citizens of Cyprus. The cost is a minimum ten percent of their savings. In other words, to bail out rich people who had invested poorly, the 99 percent of Cyprus are going to pay the price of the epic incompetence of the 1 percent who bet badly. It’s one of those, “Too big to fail moments.” But the real question is, who says that any business is too big to fail? Let me see. It’s the executives and their flunkies in political office that say so, just like they told us trickle down economics was  good for us. They lied then and they’re lying now in order to protect their worthless assets. What would happen if they were allowed to fail?

Investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Citibank would be in the dustbin of history. How would that effect the 99 percent? Executives of these banks would have less money to buy legislation from their paid plutocrats in congress and the white house to redistribute income from the 99 to the 1 percent. Geez, is that so bad? On top of that, there are other, better managed, businesses that would be happy to step into the financial breach. That’s called letting the market decide winners and losers. Instead, we have the specter of more financial depravity by Wall Street’s finest.

As the Cyprus crisis was unfolding, the report of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on JP Morgan’s losses at its “London Whale” trading division. The report chronicles a series of bad bets on derivatives that were compounded by traders doubling down their stakes. They concealed the size of their losses both to bank officers and regulators, so the officers and regulators claimed. The end result was a $6 billion loss.

JP Morgan is a huge bank and can swallow $6 billion in losses easy enough, but the incident showed as clearly as possible that the Dodd-Frank reforms are not working, which is precisely what they were intended to do: nothing. The London Whale’s losing trades were all done in the Dodd-Frank era. The bill’s provisions worked perfectly because they did not prevent JP Morgan from making massive bets and misleading regulators about their nature and the risks involved.

If the regulators were not able to catch the London Whale’s huge gambles before they went bad, why would we think they will catch the next crap-shoot from the Wall Street gang? It’s time that we looked at this seriously: the regulators lack either the will or the competence to rein in the big banks. The big banks are going to get away with everything they want, regardless of the timid and valueless provisions of Dodd-Frank.

If the big banks are really too big to regulate and, according to Attorney General Holder, too big to prosecute, then the only sensible course is to break them up. Of course, Holder is lying on behalf of his Wall Street buddies. Regardless, there have been some promising developments in this area.

At the top of the list is Elizabeth Warren’s election to the senate. Senator Warren has already made it clear that she will use her seat on the Senate banking committee to try to hold the banks and bank regulators accountable. The other important development is that Warren seems to have an ally in Louisiana Senator David Vitter.

At first glance, this might seem an unlikely alliance. Warren is clearly on the left side of the Democratic party and Vitter is to the right of center of a very conservative Republican party. But Vitter, apparently, takes his belief in the market seriously enough to realize that there is no place for “too big to fail” banks in a free market. The point is straightforward: if a bank’s creditors know that the government will cover its losses, the bank is gambling with the taxpayers’ money, not its own.

If there is ever going to be enough political force to break up the big banks, it will have to come from this sort of left-right coalition that moves in toward the center. As it stands, the leadership of both parties is too closely tied to the financial sector to take any steps that fundamentally threaten their interests.

This has nothing to do with political philosophy: the leadership of both parties is owned by the financial industry. However, if the outsiders in both parties can build up enough popular outrage over Wall Street’s shenanigans, the party leadership may be forced to follow.

There is precedent for this sort of left-right coalition. In 2009, Representative Alan Grayson, one of the most progressive members of the House, joined with Ron Paul, one of the most conservative Republicans, to co-sponsor a bill calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve Board by the Government Accountability Office.

Over the next year, the bill gradually got more co-sponsors until eventually an overwhelming majority of members had signed on. It was difficult to see why the operations of such an important government agency should be exempted from normal oversight. As a result of this pressure, an amendment was slipped onto the Dodd-Frank bill that required the Fed to release the details of the $16tn in loans that were made through its special lending facilities.

It will take the same sort of dynamic to create the political space where the big banks can be broken up. Of course, this effort will be much harder. It means pulling the big banks away from the public trough, not just releasing some embarrassing information.

We can also expect the elite media to provide the same sort of condescension and misinformation in the battle to break up the banks as they did in the battle over the Fed audit. Proponents of downsizing the banks will be ridiculed, regardless of their expertise in finance. The big banks will be given every opportunity to push their line, in spite of its absurdity and the lack of supporting evidence.

It will be a tough fight. On its face, it seems that the Wall Street crew is invincible. But the London Whale episode and the silly efforts at cover-up should provide some grounds for confidence. These people can be pretty brazen in their contempt for the law and the general public. This arrogance on the part of the Wall Street gang is exactly what we need to give democracy a chance.

Now think about this. Bear Stearns wasn’t too big to fail, and neither was Lehman Brothers. Those were two of the biggest Wall Street investment banks. General Motors? It’s the second largest vehicle manufacturer in the world, and a close second at that. According to Republicans, it wasn’t too big to fail, either. Now politicians are playing the “too big to fail game.” It’s a lie, but some people such as Warren and Vitter have bought into it. Let them break up Goldman Sachs. Then its executives won’t have that lying argument about being too big to fail. But then maybe they’ll claim some weird trickle down effect if their business is allowed to exist after making more incompetent decisions.

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Don’t you wish we had a real free press in the United States? All we’ve got are a bunch of corporate publications and television shows that are always trying to hide the truth from us. They helped to “fix” the facts in sending the US into war against Iraq, for example. In England, on the other hand, there is a free press, reporting not only the news, but the obvious. Check out an excerpt from the Guardian newspaper below.

“As the Cyprus crisis was unfolding last week, we also got to see the report of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (pdf) on JP Morgan’s losses at its “London Whale” trading division. The report chronicles a series of bad bets on derivatives that were compounded by traders doubling down their stakes. They concealed the size of their losses both to bank officers and regulators. The end result was a $6 billion loss.

JP Morgan is a huge bank and can swallow $6 billion in losses, but the incident showed as clearly as possible that the Dodd-Frank reforms are not working. The London Whale’s losing trades were all done in the Dodd-Frank era. The bill’s provisions did not prevent JP Morgan from making massive bets and misleading regulators about their nature and the risks involved.

If the regulators were not able to catch the London Whale’s huge gambles before they went bad, why would we think that they will catch the next crap shoot from the Wall Street gang? It’s time that we looked at this seriously: the regulators lack either the will or the competence to rein in the big banks. The big banks are going to get away with everything they want, regardless of the provisions of Dodd-Frank….As it stands, the leadership of both parties is too closely tied to the financial sector to take any steps that fundamentally threaten their interests.

This has nothing to do with political philosophy: the leadership of both parties is owned by the financial industry. However, if the outsiders in both parties can build up enough popular outrage over Wall Street’s shenanigans, the party leadership will follow.” Bold and Italics are mine.

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There is no free press in the USA. We only have the corporate press, and they always prefer to curb freedom of the press

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