Financial Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Financial Media Articles from Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important banking and finance articles reported in the mainstream media suggesting a cover-up.
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IMF's epic plan to conjure away debt and dethrone bankers
2012-10-21, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
One could slash private debt by 100pc of GDP, boost growth, stabilize prices, and dethrone bankers all at the same time. It could be done cleanly and painlessly, by legislative command, far more quickly than anybody imagined. The conjuring trick is to replace our system of private bank-created money -- roughly 97pc of the money supply -- with state-created money. Specifically, it means an assault on "fractional reserve banking". If lenders are forced to put up 100pc reserve backing for deposits, they lose the exorbitant privilege of creating money out of thin air. The nation regains sovereign control over the money supply. There are no more bank runs, and fewer boom-bust credit cycles. That at least is the argument [in] the IMF study, by Jaromir Benes and Michael Kumhof, which came out in August and has begun to acquire a cult following around the world. Entitled "The Chicago Plan Revisited", it revives the scheme first put forward by professors Henry Simons and Irving Fisher in 1936 during the ferment of creative thinking in the late Depression. Benes and Kumhof argue that credit-cycle trauma - caused by private money creation - dates deep into history. The original authors of the Chicago Plan were responding to the Great Depression. They believed it was possible to prevent the social havoc caused by wild swings from boom to bust, and to do so without crimping economic dynamism. The benign side-effect of their proposals would be a switch from national debt to national surplus.
Note: This article is an incredible breakthrough in real reporting on the banking sector. It is most highly recommended to read the entire article and then explore our powerful Banking Corruption Information Center.
An Excerpt: 'Plutocrats'
Branko Milanovic is an economist at the World Bank. He first became interested in income inequality studying for his PhD in the 1980s in his native Yugoslavia, where he discovered it was officially viewed as a "sensitive" subject — which meant one the ruling regime didn't want its scholars to look at too closely. But when Milanovic moved to Washington, he discovered a curious thing. Americans were happy to celebrate their super-rich and, at least sometimes, worry about their poor. But putting those two conversations together and talking about economic inequality was pretty much taboo. "I was once told by the head of a prestigious think tank in Washington, D.C., that the think tank's board was very unlikely to fund any work that had income or wealth inequality in its title," Milanovic ... explained in a recent book. "Yes, they would finance anything to do with poverty alleviation, but inequality was an altogether different matter." "Why?" he asked. "Because 'my' concern with the poverty of some people actually projects me in a very nice, warm glow: I am ready to use my money to help them. Charity is a good thing; a lot of egos are boosted by it and many ethical points earned even when only tiny amounts are given to the poor. But inequality is different: Every mention of it raises in fact the issue of the appropriateness or legitimacy of my income." When the discussion shifts from celebratory to analytical, the super-elite get nervous.
Note: Excerpted from Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland. For revealing major media articles showing the stark gap between the uber-rich and the rest of us, click here.
A Startling Gap Between Us And Them In 'Plutocrats'
Journalist Chrystia Freeland has spent years reporting on the people who've reached the pinnacle of the business world. For her new book, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, she traveled the world, interviewing the multimillionaires — and billionaires — who make up the world's elite super-rich. Those at the very top, Freeland says, have told her that American workers are the most overpaid in the world, and that they need to be more productive if they want to have better lives.
"It is a sense of, you know, 'I deserve this,' " she says. "I do think that there is both a very powerful sense of entitlement and a kind of bubble of wealth which makes it hard for the people at the very top to understand the travails of the middle class." How are the super-rich ... different from the super-rich of the past — say, 1955? Well, there are many more of them, and they're a lot richer than they used to be. "One of the things which is really astonishing is how much bigger the gap is than it was before," she says. "In the 1950s, America was relatively egalitarian, much more so than compared to now." CEOs earn exponentially more now, compared with their workers, than they did 60 years ago. Freeland says she's worried about what she calls an inevitable human temptation — that people who've benefited from a mobile society, like America, will get to the top and then rig the rules to benefit themselves." You don't do this in a kind of chortling, smoking your cigar, conspiratorial thinking way," she says. "You do it by persuading yourself that what is in your own personal self-interest is in the interests of everybody else.
Note: For a fascinating excerpt from this book, click here. For revealing major media articles showing the stark gap between the uber-rich and the rest of us, click here.
The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent
2012-10-14, New York Times
In the early 14th century, Venice was one of the richest cities in Europe. By 1500, Venice’s population was smaller than it had been in 1330. In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the rest of Europe grew, the city continued to shrink. The story of Venice’s rise and fall is told by the scholars Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, in their book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, as an illustration of their thesis that what separates successful states from failed ones is whether their governing institutions are inclusive or extractive. Extractive states are controlled by ruling elites whose objective is to extract as much wealth as they can from the rest of society. Inclusive states give everyone access to economic opportunity; often, greater inclusiveness creates more prosperity, which creates an incentive for ever greater inclusiveness. The history of the United States can be read as one such virtuous circle. But as the story of Venice shows, virtuous circles can be broken. Elites that have prospered from inclusive systems can be tempted to pull up the ladder they climbed to the top. Eventually, their societies become extractive and their economies languish. That ... is the danger America faces today, as the 1 percent pulls away from everyone else and pursues an economic, political and social agenda that will increase that gap even further — ultimately destroying the open system that made America rich and allowed its 1 percent to thrive in the first place.
Note: The author of this article, Chrystia Freeland, wrote the book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, from which this essay is adapted. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on income inequality, click here.
U.S. sues Wells Fargo in mortgage fraud case
The U.S. government filed a civil mortgage fraud lawsuit on [October 9] against Wells Fargo & Co, the latest legal volley against big banks for their lending during the housing boom. The complaint, brought by the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, seeks damages and civil penalties from Wells Fargo for more than 10 years of alleged misconduct related to government-insured Federal Housing Administration loans. The lawsuit alleges the FHA paid hundreds of millions of dollars on insurance claims on thousands of defaulted mortgages as a result of false certifications by Wells Fargo, the fourth-biggest U.S. bank as measured by assets. "As the complaint alleges, yet another major bank has engaged in a longstanding and reckless trifecta of deficient training, deficient underwriting and deficient disclosure, all while relying on the convenient backstop of government insurance," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Bharara's office has brought similar cases in the past few years, including one against Citigroup Inc unit CitiMortgage Inc, which settled the case for $158.3 million in February, and against Deutsche Bank, which paid $202.3 million in May to resolve its case. The U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn brought the biggest such case, against Bank of America Corp's Countrywide unit, which agreed in February to pay $1 billion to resolve the allegations.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption, click here.
Heads or Tails, Some CEOs Win the Pay Game
2012-10-04, Bloomberg Businessweek
Most companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index pay their CEOs annual bonuses that are conditional on meeting specific goals. Yet companies often find ways to lower or reset the performance benchmarks to ensure that their CEOs get at least a portion of their bonus. The practice, which has become more frequent since the 2007 economic downturn, risks turning bonus plans into a “meaningless exercise,” says Carol Bowie, head of Americas research at ISS Governance. Bonus plans are “not simply a mechanism to deliver pay,” she says, “but they should be designed to focus executives on the kinds of operational metrics that are going to deliver value.” Companies often justify moving the goal posts as a way to protect executives from events out of their control—bad luck, such as a hurricane or rising fuel costs. Yet CEOs also benefit financially when good luck strikes. Departing from a bonus plan “only works if a board is willing to use it on the upside and the downside,” says Blair Jones of Semler Brossy Consulting Group. “If it’s only used for the downside, it calls into question the process.” Several studies of U.S. CEO pay have confirmed the lopsided practice. One study, from researchers at Claremont Graduate University and Washington University in St. Louis, found that executives lost far less pay for bad luck than they gained for good luck.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption, click here.
Fighting Recession the Icelandic Way
Few countries blew up more spectacularly than Iceland in the 2008 financial crisis. The local stock market plunged 90 percent; unemployment rose ninefold; inflation shot to more than 18 percent; the country’s biggest banks all failed. Since then, Iceland has turned in a pretty impressive performance. It has repaid International Monetary Fund rescue loans ahead of schedule. Growth this year will be about 2.5 percent, better than most developed economies. Unemployment has fallen by half. Iceland’s approach was the polar opposite of the U.S. and Europe, which rescued their banks and did little to aid indebted homeowners. Nothing distinguishes Iceland as much as its aid to consumers. To homeowners with negative equity, the country offered write-offs that would wipe out debt above 110 percent of the property value. The government also provided means-tested subsidies to reduce mortgage-interest expenses: Those with lower earnings, less home equity and children were granted the most generous support. In June 2010, the nation’s Supreme Court gave debtors another break: Bank loans that were indexed to foreign currencies were declared illegal. Because the Icelandic krona plunged 80 percent during the crisis, the cost of repaying foreign debt more than doubled. The ruling let consumers repay the banks as if the loans were in krona. These policies helped consumers erase debt equal to 13 percent of Iceland’s $14 billion economy. Now, consumers have money to spend on other things.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the collusion of most major governments with the financial sector whose profiteering contributed to the global economic crisis, click here.
Money-Laundering Inquiry Said to Aim at US Banks
2012-09-15, CNBC/New York Times
Federal and state authorities are investigating [several] major American banks for failing to monitor cash transactions in and out of their branches, a lapse that may have enabled drug dealers and terrorists to launder tainted money. Regulators, led by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, are close to taking action against JPMorgan Chase for insufficient safeguards. The agency is also scrutinizing several other Wall Street giants, including Bank of America. In addition to the comptroller, prosecutors from the Justice Department and the Manhattan district attorney’s office are investigating several financial institutions in the United States. The surge in investigations, compliance experts say, is coming now because authorities were previously inundated with problems stemming from the 2008 financial turmoil. Until now, investigators have primarily focused on financial transactions at European banks. The authorities accused several foreign banks of flouting American law by transferring billions of dollars on behalf of sanctioned nations. As the investigation shifts to American shores, the Justice Department and the Manhattan district attorney’s office are moving beyond those violations to focus on money-laundering, in which criminals around the globe try to hide illicit funds in United States bank accounts.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption, click here.
Carter: 'Financial Corruption' Harms US Elections
2012-09-12, ABC News/Associated Press
Former President Jimmy Carter issued a blistering indictment of the U.S. electoral process ..., saying it is shot through with "financial corruption" that threatens American democracy. Carter said "we have one of the worst election processes in the world right in the United States of America, and it's almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money." The 39th president lamented a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited contributions to third-party groups that don't have to disclose their donors. The dynamic is fed, Carter said, by an income tax code that exacerbates the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of the electorate, allowing the rich even greater influence over public discourse and electioneering. He added that he hopes the "Supreme Court will reverse that stupid ruling," referring to the case known as Citizens United. He said the United States should return to publicly financed elections for president. The system technically is still in place, but it is voluntary and both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have chosen to bypass the taxpayer money because they can amass far more on their own. "You know how much I raised to run against Gerald Ford? Zero," Carter said, referring to his 1976 general election opponent. "You know how much I raised to run against Ronald Reagan? Zero. You know how much will be raised this year by all presidential, Senate and House campaigns? $6 billion. That's 6,000 millions."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on our dysfunctional electoral system, click here.
Once-jailed banker gets $104 million whistleblower payout
2012-09-11, NBC News
Attorneys for jailed former Swiss banker Bradley Birkenfeld announced [on September 11] that the IRS will pay him $104 million as a whistleblower reward for information he turned over to the US government. The information Birkenfeld revealed detailed the inner workings of the secretive private wealth management division of the Swiss bank UBS, where the American-born Birkenfeld helped his US clients evade taxes by hiding wealth overseas. Tuesday's announcement represents an astonishing turn of fortune for Birkenfeld, who was released from federal prison in August after serving 31 months on charges relating to his efforts to help a wealthy client avoid taxes. Birkenfeld attorney Stephen Kohn said the information the former Swiss banker turned over to the IRS led directly to the $780 million fine paid to the US by his former employer, UBS, as well as leading over 35,000 taxpayers to participate in amnesty programs to voluntarily repatriate their illegal offshore accounts. That resulted in the collection of over $5 billion dollars in back taxes, fines and penalties that otherwise would have remained outside the reach of the government. Birkenfeld's disclosures also led to the first cracks in the legendarily secretive Swiss banking system, and ultimately the Swiss government changed its tax treaty with the United States. UBS turned over the names of more than than 4,900 U.S. taxpayers who held illegal offshore accounts. Investigations into those accounts are ongoing.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the collusion between financial corporations and government regulators, click here.
Big Banks: No Crime, No Punishment
2012-08-26, New York Times
When the Justice Department recently closed its criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs, it became all but certain that no major American banks or their top executives would ever face criminal charges for their role in the financial crisis.
Justice officials and even President Obama have defended the lack of prosecutions, saying that even though greed and other moral lapses were evident in the run-up to the crisis, the conduct was not necessarily illegal. But that characterization of the financial industry's actions has always defied common sense - and all the more so now that a fuller picture is emerging of the range of banks' reckless and lawless activities, including interest-rate rigging, money laundering, securities fraud and excessive speculation. The financial crisis, fomented over years by big banks and presided over by executives, involved reckless lending, heedless securitizations, exorbitant paydays and illusory profits, all of which led to government bailouts and economic calamity. Is it plausible that none of that broke the law and that none of the people in positions of power and authority knew what was going on? The statute of limitations, generally five years for securities fraud and most other federal offenses, is running out, precluding the possibility of bringing many new suits dating from the bubble years. The result is a public perception that the big banks and their leaders will never have to answer fully for the crisis. The shameless pursuit of Wall Street campaign donations by both political parties strengthens this perception, and further undermines confidence in the rule of law.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the collusion between government and the big banks, click here.
SEC whistle-blower program starts paying off for agency, tipsters
2012-08-22, Los Angeles Times
For the last year, whistle-blowers deep inside corporate America have been dishing dirt on their employers under a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission program that could give them a cut of multimillion-dollar penalties won by financial regulators. A new bounty program has been an intelligence boon to the securities industry regulator, which has struggled to redeem itself after failing to stop Bernard Madoff's epic Ponzi scheme and rein in Wall Street before the 2008 financial crisis. Motivated by cash and the chance to rat out wrongdoers, tipsters are dropping more than names. Whistle-blowers and their attorneys are turning over boxes of documents, copies of emails and even audio recordings of alleged fraud or illegal overseas bribery. "We are getting very, very high-quality information from whistle-blowers," said Sean McKessy, director of the SEC's whistle-blower office. In the program's first year, 2,870 tips — or about eight a day — rolled in as of Aug. 12. And on Tuesday, one of them finally led to the agency's first payout: $50,000 to an informant who alerted regulators to an investment fraud. They declined to specify the case, careful to avoid identifying the whistle-blower. Some say shielding identities could pose a challenge for publicizing the program, but the anonymity probably will yield more information.
The flood of new information doesn't necessarily mean the SEC will be more effective. In the case of Madoff, one whistle-blower repeatedly sounded the alarm years before the scheme blew up — to no avail.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the collusion between government and the big banks, click here.
Bank scandals: Somebody must go to jail
2012-08-18, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson, 1816. When Thomas Jefferson spoke those words, banks were local and very small compared with the financial behemoths of today. Banks are more dangerous now than in Jefferson's time, and they are totally out of control. During the Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt referred to banks as the "money changers in the temple of our civilization," and little has been done since. It is well past the time that people on Wall Street live by the rule of law - not just pay fines - and some executives go to jail for their conduct. In 2008, the much-publicized Troubled Assets Relief Program bailed out banks and Wall Street to the tune of $700 billion with taxpayer money. While the banks were bailed out of the trouble they caused, they continued to pay out enormous executive bonuses with taxpayers' money in multimillion-dollar year-end gifts. JPMorgan received $25 billion from the government in 2008 and gave out nearly $9 billion in bonus money that year. When the derivative-driven housing market collapsed in 2008, Citigroup and Bank of America, the major banks in that market, and eight other top Wall Street firms got $1.2 trillion in then-secret loans of taxpayer money from the Federal Reserve. The Fed even went to court in an attempt to hide the identities of those banks from the public. Regulating the banks and bringing the rule of law to Wall Street banks is necessary now. Sending a few Wall Street banksters to jail would stop some of the abuse as well.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the corrupt relationship between government and the financial sector, click here.
The unrepentant and unreformed bankers
2012-08-18, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Money laundering. Price fixing. Bid rigging. Securities fraud. Talking about the mob? No, unfortunately. Wall Street. These days, the business sections of newspapers read like rap sheets. GE Capital, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Wells Fargo and Bank of America tied to a bid-rigging scheme to bilk cities and towns out of interest earnings. ING Direct, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank facing charges of money laundering. Barclays caught manipulating a key interest rate, costing savers and investors dearly, with a raft of other big banks also under investigation. Not to speak of the unprecedented wrongdoing that precipitated the financial crisis of 2008. Yet, it's clear that the unrepentant and the unreformed are still all too present within our banking system. A June survey of 500 senior financial services executives in the United States and Britain turned up stunning results. Some 24 percent said that they believed that financial services professionals may need to engage in illegal or unethical conduct to succeed, 26 percent said that they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, and 16 percent said they would engage in insider trading if they could get away with it. That too much of Wall Street remains unchanged is not surprising. Simply stated, the banks and their leaders have paid no real economic, legal or political price for their wrongdoing and thus have not felt compelled to change.
Note: The author of this article, Phil Angelides, is a former state treasurer of California and the chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the corrupt relationship between government and the financial sector, click here.
Billionaires Soros, Paulson Bet Big on Gold
2012-08-16, ABC News blog
Once again John Paulson is choosing to heavily invest in gold and fellow billionaire George Soros is making a similar bet. Paulson & Co. and Soros Fund Management bumped up exposure to SPDR Gold Trust to 21.8 million shares and 884,000 shares, respectively. The decision by Soros is an interesting one. In 2010, Soros called gold “the ultimate bubble” during an appearance on Reuters television. Paulson & Co. now has 44 percent of its $24 billion fund exposed to bullion. Peter Sorrentino, a senior portfolio manager at Huntington Funds, ... said consumers should not rush out and buy gold. “Historically these moves span roughly a decade and while the last phase is typically the most explosive, the risk is getting out before it rolls over. Sorrentino said ... “the fundamentals behind gold such as available supply coming to market and end demand have not changed in any material way. In fact, gold purchase by central banks in the pacific rim, India and Russia have reached new highs. So from an investor psychology and supply/demand perspective, this looks like every cycle before it during the last decade.” But, despite big bets by two of the nation’s billionaires, he continued, “…There is an old saying among Wall Street traders; ’It’s said with a whisper and not with a shout, when the widows and orphans get in, it’s time to get out.’”
Note: A Fox News report also shows unusually high purchases of gold from central banks, mostly those of developing nations. Yet the price of gold has remained relatively stable in the last 10 months (between $1,550 and $1,800/oz) after rising from around $250/oz in 2002 up to $1,900/oz in August of 2011. Could these purchases be indicators of rocky financial times in the near future? A gold dealer informed WTK founder Fred Burks that gold prices tend to stabilize in election years, which you can verify using the charts at this link.
Why Goldman Sachs, Other Wall Street Titans Are Not Being Prosecuted
2012-08-14, The Daily Beast/Newsweek
On [August 9] the Department of Justice announced it will not prosecute Goldman Sachs or any of its employees in a financial-fraud probe. Despite the Obama administration’s promises to clean up Wall Street in the wake of America’s worst financial crisis, there has not been a single criminal charge filed by the federal government against any top executive of the elite financial institutions. Why is that? In a word: cronyism. Take Goldman Sachs, for example. In 2008, Goldman Sachs employees were among Barack Obama’s top campaign contributors, giving a combined $1,013,091. [Attorney General] Eric Holder’s former law firm, Covington & Burling, also counts Goldman Sachs as one of its clients. Furthermore, in April 2011, when the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued a scathing report detailing Goldman’s suspicious Abacus deal, several Goldman executives and their families began flooding Obama campaign coffers with donations, some giving the maximum $35,800. The individuals the DOJ’s “Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force” has placed in its prosecutorial crosshairs seem shockingly small compared with the Wall Street titans the Obama administration promised to bring to justice. To be sure, financial fraud of any kind is wrong and should be prosecuted. But locking up “pygmies” is hardly the kind of financial-fraud crackdown Americans expected in the wake of the largest financial crisis in U.S. history. Increasingly, there appear to be two sets of rules: one for the average citizen, and another for the connected cronies who rule the inside game.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corporations' control over government, see our Banking Bailout archive here.
Washington's Wall Street Sugar Daddies
2012-08-14, Yes! Magazine
How much is democracy worth to you? If you’re like most people, it’s priceless. But for the hedge funds and insurance companies on Wall Street, it does have a price tag: approximately $4.2 billion. That’s how much the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (F.I.R.E.) sector has invested in political influence through campaign contributions and lobbying since 2006. That comes to $1,331 a minute spent on political power. The new report is called “Meet the F.I.R.E. Sector: How Wall Street Is Burning Democracy.” It was developed by Elect Democracy, a nonpartisan effort ... to expose and challenge the impact of corporate money in U.S. politics. The report ... analyzes exactly how Wall Street has secured ... “industry-loyal voting practices” in Congress: by shoveling stacks of campaign cash in the direction of Congressional hopefuls from both major political parties. That money lets these industries get what they want in Washington. The F.I.R.E. sector contributed $879 million to members of Congress since 2006, and took positions on 383 bills during the 112th Congress. For instance, they supported Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Panama, and Colombia in 2007, and backed the bailout in 2008. Bills they opposed include the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, the Limited Homeowner and Investor Loss in Foreclosure Act of 2010, and the Stop Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2011. At every turn, the F.I.R.E. sector demands special treatment for Wall Street while consumers, homeowners, and students get stuck with the bills.
Note: Though not a major media source, Yes! Magazine is one of the very few media working towards positive, sustainable solutions to the problems of our world. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the corrupt relationship between government and the financial sector, click here.
Democracy falling prey to big money
2012-08-10, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Who's buying our democracy? Wall Street financiers, the Koch brothers, and casino magnates Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, among others. And they're doing much of it in secret. It's a perfect storm - the combination of three waves that are about to drown government as we know it. The first is the greatest concentration of wealth in America in more than a century. The 400 richest Americans are richer than the bottom 150 million Americans put together. The trend started 30 years ago, and it's related to globalization and technological changes that have stymied wage growth for most people, "trickle-down economics," ... tax cuts and the steady decline in the bargaining power of organized labor. The second is the wave of unlimited political contributions, courtesy of ... one of the worst decisions in Supreme Court history, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 ruling that held that corporations are people under the First Amendment, [meaning] that virtually any billionaire can contribute as much to a political campaign as he wants. The third is complete secrecy about who's contributing how much to whom. Political fronts posing as charitable, nonprofit "social welfare" organizations ... don't have to disclose their donors. As a result, outfits like the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS are taking in hundreds of millions from corporations that don't even tell their own shareholders what political payments they're making. Separately, any one of these three would be bad enough. Put the three together, and our democracy is being sold down the drain.
Note: The author of this article, Robert Reich, is a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and former U.S. secretary of labor, and author of the newly released Beyond Outrage: What Has Gone Wrong With Our Economy and Our Democracy, and How to Fix It.
CNBC Reports Financial System Changeover: “They’re Going to Put the Old System In a Coma”
Kevin Ferry: There are Libor subpoenas raining down on the New York branches of these foreign banks today. So I think you really have to watch it. The [British Bankers' Association] is now saying they are going to go into ‘overhaul’ mode. So as if we don’t have enough things going on, you’re going to start opening up a Pandora’s Box here in the Libor sector of the market. I think what they’re going to do ... is basically put the old system in a coma, and work to devise something that’s a little bit better, and it’s going to be tricky. Doug Dachille: So what are they going to do with the euro/dollar futures and all the outstanding notion of principal of contracts linked to Libor? I mean is everybody going to convert their Libor interest rate swaps to cost of fund funds or Fed fund basis swaps or some other index? KF: Are you asking me? I’ve asked that question as high as I could ask it and I get blank stares. DD: It’s not clear that every bank has exactly the same Libor exposure, so it’s not clear that that cartel, in setting Libor and manipulating it, actually is as powerful as the cartel that manages oil prices. Yet I don’t hear any outrage of people routinely trading commodity derivatives and commodity futures, as much as I hear the outrage over euro/dollar futures and Libor-based interest rate swaps. Everybody assumes that’s what goes on when you trade commodity futures, but nobody ever really thought that was going on when you were trading euro/dollar futures.
Note: The text above is an excerpt from a CNBC news video. Click on the link above for the full report. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption in the financial sector, click here.
French Lawmakers Pass Trading Transaction Tax
2012-08-01, Bloomberg Businessweek
France’s parliament passed President Francois Hollande’s revised 2012 budget, including a 0.2 percent transaction tax on share purchases that takes effect today. The bill’s passage into law marks “the first step toward fiscal reform and a move toward justice,” Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in a statement. With the vote, France becomes the first European country to impose a transaction tax on share purchases. The Hollande government is doubling the levy to 0.2 percent from the 0.1 percent tax initially advocated by former President Nicolas Sarkozy. Many institutional investors may escape the tax using so-called contracts for difference, or CFDs, offered by prime brokers that let them bet on a stock’s gain or loss with owning the shares. The transaction tax, aimed at curbing market speculation, will be paid on the purchase of 109 French stocks with market values of more than 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), including Pernod Ricard SA and Vivendi SA. The new budget law will be applied to transactions resulting in “a transfer of property” of companies trading in Paris, regardless of where the buyer or seller is based, and may be expanded next year along with some European partners. France estimated that the doubling of the tax will bring in an additional 170 million euros in 2012 and 500 million euros next year. The state will start collecting the tax in November, Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac’s press office said. The government estimated that the doubling of the tax will cut the volume of stock purchases to 800 billion euros from 1.05 trillion euros with a 0.1 percent levy and 1.3 trillion euros with no transaction tax.
Note: This exciting news is one of the most underreported events of the year. A universal FTT would stop much of the craziness in the derivatives market. The EU is also seriously considering implementing an FTT. Click here for more.