We are joined for the full hour by geopolitical financial expert and financial historian, Nomi Prins, to discuss her new book, Permanent Distortion: How Financial Markets Abandoned the Real Economy Forever, which highlights the huge gap between the high-flying stock market, versus back down here on earth, where average people struggle to make ends meet.
Ralph welcomes economist, attorney, and investigative journalist, James Henry for his expert take on what is going on in the banking system and what we can do to keep it from blowing up. And Professor and former Nader’s Raider, Alison Dundes Renteln, takes on the commercialization of our universities in her book The Ethical University: Transforming Higher Education.
Once again, government socialism – ultimately backed by taxpayers – is saving reckless midsized banks and their depositors. Silicon Valley Bank (S.V.B) and Signature Bank in New York greedily mismanaged their risk levels and had to be closed down. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), in return, to avoid a bank panic and a run on other midsized banks went over its $250,000 insurance cap per account and guaranteed all deposits – no matter how large, which are owned by the rich and corporations – in those banks.
Phil Murphy, the leading Democratic candidate for governor of New Jersey, has made a state-owned bank a centerpiece of his campaign. He says the New Jersey bank would “take money out of Wall Street and put it to work for New Jersey – creating jobs and growing the economy [by] using state deposits to finance local investments … and … support billions of dollars of critical investments in infrastructure, small businesses, and student loans – saving our residents money and returning all profits to the taxpayers.”
The sudden dramatic collapse in the price of oil appears to be an act of geopolitical warfare against Russia. The result could be trillions of dollars in oil derivative losses; and the FDIC could be liable, following repeal of key portions of the Dodd-Frank Act last weekend. Continue reading →
On the weekend of November 16th, the G20 leaders whisked into Brisbane, posed for their photo ops, approved some proposals, made a show of roundly disapproving of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and whisked out again. It was all so fast, they may not have known what they were endorsing when they rubber-stamped the Financial Stability Board’s “Adequacy of Loss-Absorbing Capacity of Global Systemically Important Banks in Resolution,” which completely changes the rules of banking. Continue reading →
Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report:
Derivatives… have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers…. While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now regularly paying public entities as little as a tenth of one percent on the outstanding bonds, with rates expected to remain low in the future. Over the life of the deals, banks are now projected to collect billions more than they pay state and local governments – an outcome which amounts to a second bailout for banks, this one paid directly out of state and local budgets.
Shock waves went around the world when the IMF, the EU, and the ECB not only approved but mandated the confiscation of depositor funds to “bail in” two bankrupt banks in Cyprus. A “bail in” is a quantum leap beyond a “bail out.” When governments are no longer willing to use taxpayer money to bail out banks that have gambled away their capital, the banks are now being instructed to “recapitalize” themselves by confiscating the funds of their creditors, turning debt into equity, or stock; and the “creditors” include the depositors who put their money in the bank thinking it was a secure place to store their savings.
Confiscating the customer deposits in Cyprus banks, it seems, was not a one-off, desperate idea of a few Eurozone “troika” officials scrambling to salvage their balance sheets. A joint paper by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Bank of England dated December 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; that they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland (discussed earlier here); and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds.
President Obama and Republican House speaker John Boehner are allegedly close to a $3 trillion deficit-reduction package as part of a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling before an Aug. 2 deadline. But the deal is coming under fire from both Congressional Democrats and Republicans — part of it calls for lowering personal and corporate income tax rates, while eliminating or reducing an array of popular tax breaks, such as the deduction for home mortgage interest.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on the government’s latest improvisation for propping up the banking system, called “loss-sharing”. Essentially, what it boils down to is that the FDIC encourages healthy banks to acquire failing banks by guaranteeing that it will cover 80% of any losses arising from the acquisitions. The Journal and others have correctly observed that this amounts to a taxpayer-funded giveaway to the acquiring banks. While it is certainly true that loss-sharing is yet another federal giveaway to banks, I believe that focusing on this part of the picture overlooks the most important aspect of the program.