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Posts Tagged ‘Goldman Sachs’

Like its conservative brethren, the LA Times, one of Wall Streets liberal bastions of deliberately keeping the masses uninformed and misinformed, reported “This year there was a 23 percent increase in the overall number of people found on the streets countywide (Los Angeles County). For the city, that increase was 20 percent.” Reporter Dennis Romero reports LA rents have increased 32 percent throughout the Los Angeles County since 2000, while incomes have decreased 3 percent, and this accounts for the growing homelessness. This, of course, is total bullshit. See Homelessness Gets Worse as Rents Continue to Increase–LA Times

Romero then goes on to write, “The California Housing Partnership Corporation this month concluded that the county needs an additional 551,807 units for people on the edge of homelessness….The homeless figures make “it very clear that our continuing homeless crisis is being driven by a housing crisis,” L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said in a statement.” This statement, too, is total bullshit.

Being a good corporate reporter, Romero does not ask why there is a housing crisis in Los Angeles, as well as across the United States. Nor is he clever enough to ask why wages have gone down and rents have gone up.

Here are the real reasons rents and home prices have skyrocketed over the last several years. I’ll deal with declining wages another day.

The five biggest banks conspired together to drive the cost of rents and houses up by holding over half the stock of vacant houses off the market by 2011. As prices have illegally risen, the banks have slowly allowed more and more houses onto the market. This is called a conspiracy in restraint of trade, which is illegal, but profitable.

This means the price of homes and rents are illegally and artificially higher than they should be. Had the market been allowed to set prices after the Great Recession of 2007-09, it is very likely rents and housing prices would be half or nearly so of what they are now.

In other words, this conspiracy redistributed trillions of dollars of income from the 99 to the 1 percent, and this was done with the permission of the Obama Administration.

The current economic expansion is almost exclusively being powered by the illegally contrived boom in housing prices and rents, and so the latest housing bubble is largely powering the latest stock market bubble, and this is likely why both Obama and Trump have never had any desire to enforce anti-trust laws against the big banks since both are owned lock, stock, and barrel by the big banks. By the way you Hillary lovers! Clinton is completely owned by Wall Street too.

And this is how we are kept misinformed, misled, confused and uninformed by the corporate media.

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Goldman Sachs InvestigationWhat are the most stark differences between the administration of President Obama and the incoming president Donald Trump?

Wall Street’s Citigroup runs the white house under Obama, and would likely have done so under Hillary Clinton. Under Trump, Citigroup is out and Goldman Sachs is in. What a difference! Wall Street elites are still going to be determining US economic policy, which primarily consists of plots to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent.

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In other words, under Trump hope and change sound a lot like the same old failed policies Wall Street has been using to weaken the US economy by killing the middle class.

Wall Street powerhouse Citigroup played a powerful role in shaping Obama’s economic agenda, which meant pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would’ve lead to the exporting of millions of US jobs.

Michael Froman, now Obama’s U.S. trade representative, was an executive at Citigroup. On October 6 2008, he wrote an email to John Podesta, then co-chair of Obama’s transition team. The subject was “Lists.” Froman used a Citigroup email address. He attached three documents: a list of women for top administration jobs, a list of non-white candidates, and a sample outline of 31 cabinet-level positions and who would fill them. “The lists will continue to grow,” Froman wrote to Podesta, “but these are the names to date that seem to be coming up as recommended by various sources for senior level jobs.”

The cabinet list ended up being almost entirely on the money. It correctly identified Eric Holder for the Justice Department, Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security, Robert Gates for Defense, Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff, Peter Orszag for the Office of Management and Budget, Arne Duncan for Education, Eric Shinseki for Veterans Affairs, Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services, Melody Barnes for the Domestic Policy Council, and more. For the Treasury, three possibilities were on the list: Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Timothy Geithner.

In other words, Wall Street was calling all the shots in the Obama administration.

President-elect Trump so far has tapped former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive Steven Mnuchin (a co-investor with hedge fund billionaire George Soros) to be his Treasury secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross to lead the Commerce Department. Trump even met with Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn inside Trump Tower this week.

In the days following these announcements, shares of all the big Wall Street firms climbed, with Goldman Sachs rising more than 3 percent by noon in New York.

So it appears Goldman Sachs and billionaire investors other than Citigroup are going to be running the show in the White House. Now that’s not a whole lot of change.

Below is a Trump presidential advertisement that blamed Wall Street for wrecking havoc with the US economy, and now he has embraced everything they have stood for.

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As Donald Trump reeled from his latest stupidity, Wikileaks released over 200,000 emails of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign manager. There were several revealing statements about Clinton.

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According to the Daily Beast, “The statements by Clinton, which were gleaned from documents that have yet to be authenticated by The Daily Beast, were made in private settings to big banks and Wall Street firms. The speeches appear to paint her in the worst possible light: two-faced, out of touch, secretive and subservient to Wall Street. And in the most explicit way possible, validate Bernie Sanders’ criticisms of her during the Democratic primary.”

Perhaps the most damaging to Clinton—and most validating to Sanders—will be her fawning speeches about Wall Street—to Wall Street. In her remarks, Clinton appears to prove Bernie right. At a Goldman Sachs symposium in 2013, Clinton said that when she began traveling as Secretary of State, people would “yell at me for the United States and our banking system” causing the financial crisis.

“Now, that’s an oversimplification we know,” Clinton assured the Goldman Sachs audience. “But it was the conventional wisdom.”

“Was the conventional wisdom?” Wrong! Study after study puts the blame squarely on Wall Street for the economic meltdown of 2008.

In another excerpt, Clinton says those who work inside a regulated industry are best poised to then regulate the industry. “How do you get to the golden key, how do we figure out what works? And the people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry,” she allegedly said.

berniesanders-wallst Apparently, Clinton approves of the revolving door between Wall Street and government. So we know she doesn’t want much regulation of Wall Street, unless Wall Street appoints the regulators.

“Speaking about her prior run for president in 2008, Clinton also says she is beholden, in a way, to big special interests such as the big banks, because “it would be very difficult to run for president without raising a huge amount of money and without having other people supporting you because your opponent will have their supporters.”

“I’m kind of far removed,” Hillary said, from the struggles of the middle class and “growing sense of anxiety and even anger in the country” because of the “fortunes” that she and former President Bill Clinton currently enjoy.

The Clinton’s have made over $150 million from speeches to big business since President Clinton left office. That includes millions from Wall Street. I wonder where her loyalties are? It should be obvious about what Sanders says above. But he could’ve also said, “It is Wall Street that regulates congress and the president.”

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a corporate power grab, a 5,544-page document that was negotiated in secret by big corporations while Congress, the public, and unions were locked out.

Multinationals like Google, Exxon, Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, UPS, FedEx, Apple, and Walmart are lobbying hard for it. Virtually every union in the U.S. opposes it. So do major environmental, senior, health, and consumer organizations.

This agreement has virtually nothing to do with trade since tariffs between the twelve nations of the TPP are at historic low. This agreement is really about exporting jobs, raising prices and more bonuses for the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent.

The TPP will mean fewer jobs and lower wages, higher prices for prescription drugs, the loss of regulations that protect our drinking water and food supply, and the loss of Internet freedom. It encourages privatization, undermines democracy, and will forbid many of the policies we need to combat climate change.

The worst part is the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision, which allows a multinational corporation to sue to override any U.S. law, policy, or practice that it claims could limit its future profits. Secret panels of corporate lawyers and corporate lobbyists will decide these cases. Their judgments cannot be appealed, not even to the Supreme Court.

This provision will override your votes on the state and local levels. In other words, President Obama and Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden intend to suppress your voting rights, along with most of the Republican Party led by Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch.

Though the Obama administration touts the pact’s labor and environmental protections, the official Labor Advisory Committee on the TPP strongly opposes it, arguing that these protections are largely unenforceable window dressing.

On behalf of Wall Street and rich investors throughout the United States, President Obama is planning to call for a vote on the TPP in the US senate and the US House after the elections in November. Obama signed the TPP, a despicable income and political power redistribution scam, months ago. Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden will likely introduce the TPP in the senate. Wyden is Obama’s and Wall Street’s attack dog in the US senate in their war against the middle class. He has voted to redistribute trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent over the course of the his career in congress.

To learn more about the TPP, check out Citizen’s Trade Campaign, and Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Public Citizen. For labor-specific resources, try CWA, http://stopthetpp.org/, and the AFL-CIO, http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Trade.

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TOO BIG TO Fail: There Is No Such Thing

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Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail. That’s all you need to know. Lehman was one of the largest investment banks in the world. And yet, when push came to shove, the government allowed the company to die. It didn’t impact me or you one bit, unless you were heavily invested in the company.

What would’ve happened if Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan/Chase had been allowed to die? Nothing, except several of their hedge funds and a lot of superrich people would’ve been allowed to fail with them. Tens of billions of dollars would’ve evaporated with the implosion of these corporations that  have gone to corrupting government and both major political parties. Had they been allowed to fail, that probably would’ve been a good thing for 99.9 percent of all American citizens. Democracy would’ve been a little less corrupted.

The slogan “Too Big to Fail” should be changed to “Too Big to Exist.” If anybody thinks they’re too big to be allowed to fail, then the logical thing is that they should be broken up into more competitive pieces, which is what the Sherman Anti-Trust Act is supposed to do, if it were seriously enforced by the US government, which won’t do this because the politicians have been under the intoxicating influence of the billions of dollars of the big banks give them.

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A few years ago, congress approved and President Obama signed legislation called Dodd-Frank, which was supposed to regulate the actions of Wall Street banks by curbing the financial crimes and other unethical shenanigans of the big banks. Dodd-Frank was weak legislation, badly watered down by Wall Street lobbyists, so the press told us. What the corporate press didn’t tell us is that it was created to be ineffective.

That’s because of Hedge Funds. Hedge funds are unregulated investment firms not impacted by Dodd-Frank, or any other federal regulations.

The big banks all own hedge funds, which are many times larger than the big banks. So, for example, if Goldman Sachs is worth $20 billion, then its two hedge funds are worth closer to $100 billion each. That means only the front company of these investment banks are being “weakly” regulated.

Under the above scenario, only 8 percent of Goldman Sachs is being weakly regulated by Dodd-Frank and whatever other rules are in the federal books. The same holds true for Citibank, JP Morgan/Chase and all the other big banks that have hired the Clinton’s to give speeches on topics they don’t know much about.

In ballyhooing Dodd-Frank, the Democrats achieved virtually no regulations on Wall Street, but they did create a smokescreen by which they could claim they did something significant. Blow away the smoke screen, and they achieved almost nothing in the way of regulating Wall Street.

Hedge Funds were created in 1940. They were small wealth managing companies that were limited to having 99 clients or less via a loophole in the New Deal Reforms.

“The Investment Company and Investment Advisers Acts of 1940 prohibited firms operating with pools of investor money from engaging in risky practices like short sales (bets that a stock will go down instead of up), leverage (investing with borrowed funds to amplify returns and heighten risk), and corporate takeovers. Meanwhile, investment companies had to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), disclosing their portfolios and their corporate structures. The 1940 laws also restricted certain types of fund manager compensation. The purpose was to eliminate the kind of speculative risks with pools of capital that generated the Great Depression.”

Hedge Funds were never a big player in today’s financial markets until one day in 1996 “President Bill Clinton signed the National Securities Markets Improvement Act (NSMIA), which overhauled state and federal responsibility for securities market oversight. It was part of a series of financial market deregulations in the Clinton era, advanced with broad Wall Street support and almost no resistance in Congress: After bipartisan agreement, the House and Senate finalized NSMIA with a voice vote.”

BarclayHedge now estimates hedge fund assets under management in the third quarter of 2015 at $2.7 trillion, up from about $100 billion in 1995. And that doesn’t count the borrowed money also invested by the same firms, which likely total trillions more.

After Clinton left office, Wall Street investment banks rewarded Bill and Hillary Clinton for their loyalty by paying them millions of dollars in speaking fees. No doubt, President Obama will get the same deal if he can get the Trans Pacific Partnership passed through congress via partnership with the Republican Party.

The game is still rigged and Dodd-Frank is almost completely useless thanks to the big banks and their Hedge Funds.

As for Hedge Funds, they are now the preferred vehicle of ripping people off, manipulating markets via their trillions of dollars, helping the big banks keep millions of homes off the markets so as to create the current (as well as the last) housing bubble, and so much more.

The Clinton’s have exacerbated our current crisis of democracy. Vote Bernie Sanders!

As for the rest of the story, stay tuned.

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You know the Wall Street Democratic Party Establishment has pulled together and is pulling no punches and hitting low in the clinches when New York Times syndicated columnist and Economics Nobel Prize winner Paul Kruger launches a diatribe against the senator from Vermont by feigning ignorance of Wall Street crimes and complicity in the last economic disaster.

This suggests the Establishment and its presidential candidate are worried stiff over Bernie Sanders beating Hillary Clinton in the remaining primaries and winning the nomination. Sanders is gaining momentum while the Wall Street candidate continues to lose it. More and more African-American voters, for example, are voting for Bernie the more they get to know him.

Krugman was corrupt enough to write:

“The easy slogan here is “Break up the big banks.” It’s obvious why this slogan is appealing from a political point of view: Wall Street supplies an excellent cast of villains. But were big banks really at the heart of the financial crisis, and would breaking them up protect us from future crises?

Many analysts concluded years ago that the answers to both questions were no. Predatory lending was largely carried out by smaller, non-Wall Street institutions like Countrywide Financial; the crisis itself was centered not on big banks but on “shadow banks” like Lehman Brothers that weren’t necessarily that big. And the financial reform that President Obama signed in 2010 made a real effort to address these problems. It could and should be made stronger, but pounding the table about big banks misses the point.”

Let’s begin with Lehman Brothers. It was always a big bank on Wall Street. Now Krugman’s calling it a shadow bank. What stupidity! Apparently, Krugman also doesn’t know that Goldman Sachs was shorting home mortgage backed bonds while selling them to investors. Beside that point, Robert Reich landed a series of knockout punches to Krugman’s insanity.

Reich writes:

1. The biggest Wall Street banks did indeed precipitate the crisis on Wall Street in 2008 because of their gambling in newfangled financial instruments and fancy derivatives even they didn’t understand.

2. Their size did make a difference because they were so interconnected with other financial entities both in the U.S. and around the world that they were “too big to fail.” Today’s biggest Wall Street banks are much bigger than they were in 2008.

3. Size also has a bearing on their political influence. The reason the Glass-Steagall Act was scotched by Bill Clinton’s administration, and the Clinton administration wouldn’t agree with the CFTC to regulate derivatives, had a lot to do with the influence of Wall Street over the Clinton administration and over Congress. The political power of the biggest players on the Street is even larger today – as evidenced by their capacity to whittle back significant parts of Dodd-Frank in the regulatory process.

4. Breaking up the biggest banks isn’t a radical idea. In fact, many experts – including the current president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (who’s a Republican and a former executive of Goldman Sachs), and the former head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas — have called for exactly this.

5. Bernie’s other ideas — for a single-payer plan, and for free tuition at public institutions of higher education – are sensible, and also backed by many experts. It’s well-established that a single-payer plan would be far less costly and deliver far better care than our own system, which is based on private for-profit insurers. As to free tuition in public universities, we were well on the way to this goal in the 1950s and 1960s. It was and is a logical extension of free K-12 education.

I should like to point out that California had free college for resident’s until the federal government began redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent. So it has been done in the United States.

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