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Financial Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Financial Media Articles in Major Media


Below are key excerpts of highly revealing banking and finance articles reported in the major media. Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These banking and finance articles are listed by article date. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


To See the Real Story in Brazil, Look at Who Is Being Installed as President — and Finance Chiefs
2016-04-22, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2016/04/22/to-see-the-real-story-in-brazil-look-at-w...

It’s not easy for outsiders to sort through all the competing claims about Brazil’s political crisis and the ongoing effort to oust its president, Dilma Rousseff. Brazilian oligarchs and their media organs are trying to install [current Vice President Michel Temer] as president. The New York Times’s Brazil bureau chief, Simon Romero, interviewed Temer this week. His excellent article begins: "One recent poll found that only 2 percent of Brazilians would vote for him. He is under scrutiny over ... a colossal graft scandal. Michel Temer, Brazil’s vice president, is preparing to take the helm of Brazil next month if the Senate decides to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial." The real plan behind Rousseff’s impeachment is ... protecting corruption, not punishing it. Who is going to take over Brazil’s economy and finances once Dilma’s election victory is nullified? Temer’s leading choice to run the central bank is the chair of Goldman Sachs in Brazil, Paulo Leme. Today, Reuters reported that “Murilo Portugal, the head of Brazil’s most powerful banking industry lobby” - and a long-time IMF official - “has emerged as a strong candidate to become finance minister if Temer takes power.” Temer also vowed that he would embrace austerity for Brazil’s already-suffering population. Brazilian financial and media elites are pretending that corruption is the reason for removing the twice-elected president of the country as they conspire to ... literally [hand] control over the Brazilian economy (the world’s seventh largest) to Goldman Sachs and bank industry lobbyists.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Why Is the Obama Administration Trying to Keep 11,000 Documents Sealed?
2016-04-18, Rolling Stone
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-is-the-obama-administration-try...

The federal government has been quietly fighting to keep a lid on an 11,000-document cache of government communications relating to financial policy. The Obama administration ... insisted that their release would negatively impact global financial markets. Unsealing some of these materials last week, a federal judge named Margaret Sweeney said the government's sole motivation was avoiding embarrassment. So what's so embarrassing? A sordid history of the government's seizure of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, also known as the government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs. Bailout-era Fannie and Freddie was turned into a kind of garbage facility for other Wall Street institutions, buying up toxic mortgages that private banks were suddenly desperate to unload. Even after the state took over the companies ... Fannie and Freddie continued to buy as much as $40 billion in bad assets per month from the private sector. Fannie and Freddie weren't just bailed out, they were themselves a bailout, used to sponge up the sins of private firms. The government ended up pumping about $187 billion into the companies. Within a few years ... Fannie and Freddie started to make money again. The GSEs went on to pay the government $228 billion over the next three years, or $40 billion more than they owed, [but] none of that money went to paying off Fannie and Freddie's debt. This ... prompted a series of lawsuits. In these suits, the government's pleas for secrecy were so extreme that it asked for, and received, "attorneys' eyes only" status for the documents in question.

Note: Why is no other media covering this important news?  For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Oxfam: Top U.S. Corporations Have Stashed $1.4 Trillion Offshore
2016-04-14, Time Magazine
http://time.com/4293728/us-companies-tax-evasion-oxfam/

The top 50 U.S. companies have stored $1.4 trillion in tax havens, Oxfam America reported Thursday. Oxfam released its new report, “Broken at the Top,” ahead of Tax Day in the U.S. and shortly after of the Panama Papers leak to show the extent to which major corporations such as Pfizer, Walmart, Goldman Sachs, Alphabet, Disney and Coca-Cola keep money in offshore funds. The use of over 1,600 subsidiaries lowered their global tax rate on $4 trillion of profit to an average of 26.5%, compared to the statutory minimum of 35%, according to Oxfam. Additionally, for every dollar of taxes these companies paid, they collectively received $27 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts - footed by American taxpayers. “The vast sums large companies stash in tax havens should be fighting poverty and rebuilding America’s infrastructure, not hidden offshore in Panama, Bahamas, or the Cayman Islands,” Oxfam America president Raymond Offenheiser said in a statement.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.


Swiss banker whistleblower: CIA behind Panama Papers
2016-04-12, CNBC
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/12/swiss-banker-whistleblower-cia-behind-panama-p...

Bradley Birkenfeld is the most significant financial whistleblower of all time, so you might think he'd be cheering on the disclosures in the new Panama Papers leaks. [He] was a banker working at UBS in Switzerland when he approached the U.S. government with information on massive amounts of tax evasion by Americans with secret accounts in Switzerland. By the end of his whistleblowing career, Birkenfeld had served more than two years in a U.S. federal prison, been awarded $104 million by the IRS for his information and shattered the foundations of more than a century of Swiss banking secrecy. In an exclusive interview Tuesday from Munich, Birkenfeld said he doesn't think the source of the 11 million documents stolen from [Panama City-based law firm Mossack Fonseca] should automatically be considered a whistleblower like himself. Instead, he said, the hacking ... could have been done by a U.S. intelligence agency. "The CIA I'm sure is behind this, in my opinion," Birkenfeld said, [pointing] to the fact that the political uproar created by the disclosures have mainly impacted countries with tense relationships with the United States. "If you've got NSA and CIA spying on foreign governments they can certainly get into a law firm like this," Birkenfeld said. "They selectively bring the information to the public domain that doesn't hurt the U.S.. That's wrong. And there's something seriously sinister here behind this."

Note: See this article for more. Read concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in banking and in the intelligence community.


Panama Papers: 1,000 secret Nevada firms, 2 overseas addresses
2016-04-08, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/04/07/1000-secret-nevada-firms-and-mo...

A USA Today analysis of more than 1,000 American-based companies registered by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers leak, casts the United States openly into an uncomfortable role: an offshore haven of corporate secrecy for wealthy business operations across the globe. Both Nevada and Wyoming have become secretive havens much like Bermuda and Switzerland have long been. And at least 150 companies set up by Mossack Fonseca in those states have ties to major corruption scandals in Brazil and Argentina. The corporate records of 1,000-plus Nevada business entities linked to the Panamanian law firm reveal layers of secretive ownership, with few having humans' names behind them, and most tracing back to a tiny number of overseas addresses. For about 700 of the American shell companies, the corporate officers are business entities rather than people, meaning no individual is linked to the Nevada firm in state records. Matthew Gardner, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, [said], “We should be thinking about this as a very American problem, and a problem that arguably is worse here in the states than it is in Panama.” In Wyoming, where Mossack Fonseca has also registered about two dozen companies, corporations are even harder to trace. Mossack Fonseca defended its practices and said incorporating companies in different jurisdictions is “the normal activity of lawyers and agents around the world.”

Note: A 2015 Guardian newspaper article further describes how the US helps the super-rich hide assets. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The U.S. emerges as a tax haven for tax cheats, alongside Switzerland the Cayman Islands
2016-04-06, U.S. News & World Report/Associated Press
http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2016-04-06/us-is-emerging-as-a-t...

The U.S. lambastes and strong-arms countries that help drug lords and millionaire investors hide their money from tax collectors. Critics say it should look closer to home. America itself is emerging as a top tax haven alongside the likes of Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and Panama. And states such as Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming, in particular, are competing with each other to provide foreigners with the secrecy they crave. "There's a big neon sign saying the U.S. is open to tax cheats," says John Christensen, executive director of the Tax Justice Network. America's openness to foreign tax evaders is coming under new scrutiny after the leak this week of 11.5 million confidential documents from a Panamanian law firm, [which] show how some of the world's richest people hide assets in shell companies to avoid paying taxes. Christensen's group, which campaigns for a global crackdown on tax evaders, says the United States ranks third in the world in financial secrecy, behind Switzerland and Hong Kong but ahead of notorious tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg. Under a 2010 law, passed after it was learned that the Swiss bank UBS helped thousands of Americans evade U.S. taxes, the United States demands that banks and other financial institutions disclose information on Americans abroad to make sure they pay their U.S. taxes. But ... American banks don't even collect the kind of information foreign countries would need to identify tax dodgers.

Note: A 2015 Guardian newspaper article further describes how the US helps the super-rich hide assets. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca leak reveals elite's tax havens
2016-04-04, BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-35918844

Eleven million documents were leaked from one of the world's most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. They show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax. 12 current or former heads of state and at least 60 people linked to current or former world leaders [are included] in the data. They include the Icelandic Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugson, [as well as] reveal a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring involving close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 107 media organisations - including UK newspaper the Guardian - in 76 countries ... have been analysing the documents, [which] shed light on how Mossack Fonseca offered financial services designed to help business clients hide their wealth. One wealthy client, US millionaire ... Marianna Olszewski, was offered fake ownership records to hide money. This is in direct breach of international regulations designed to stop money-laundering and tax evasion. An email from a Mossack executive to Ms Olszewski in January 2009 explains how she could deceive the bank: "We may use a natural person who will act as the beneficial owner ... and therefore his name will be disclosed to the bank. Since this is a very sensitive matter, fees are quite high." The data also contain secret offshore companies linked to the families and associates of Egypt's former President, Hosni Mubarak, former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Note: There are conflicting reports on this release. Some like this NBC News article state there is a dearth of US names, while others like this USA Today article give US names. Explore evidence in this article that the Panama Papers may have been deliberately released with political objectives in mind. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Former Economic Hit Man Returns to Take on the "Death Economy"
2016-03-10, TruthOut.org
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35161-john-perkins-the-former-economic-hit...

The pernicious influence of "economic hit men" has spread around the globe. John Perkins revealed his first-hand experience of this violent and coercive phenomenon. Now, in The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, he brings this story of greed and corruption up to date. The treacherous cancer beneath the surface, which was revealed in the original Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, has ... spread from the economically developing countries to the United States and the rest of the world; it attacks the very foundations of democracy and the planet's life-support systems. Although this cancer has spread widely and deeply, most people still aren't aware of it; yet all of us are impacted by the collapse it has caused. It has become the dominant system of economics, government, and society today, [and] created a "death economy" - one based on wars or the threat of war, debt, and the rape of the earth's resources. Although the death economy is built on a form of capitalism, it is important to note that the word capitalism ... includes local farmers' markets as well as this very dangerous form of global corporate capitalism, controlled by the corporatocracy. Despite all the bad news and the attempts of modern-day robber barons to steal our democracy and our planet ... when enough of us perceive the true workings of this EHM system, we will take the individual and collective actions necessary to control the cancer and restore our health.

Note: Read a revealing seven-page summary of Economic Hit Man and spread the word!


Congressional watchdog to probe lax Fed bank oversight
2016-03-04, CNBC/Reuters
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/04/reuters-america-exclusive-congressional-watchd...

A U.S. watchdog agency is preparing to investigate whether the Federal Reserve and other regulators are too soft on the banks they are meant to police. Ranking representatives Maxine Waters of the House Financial Services Committee and Al Green of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations asked the Government Accountability Office on Oct. 8 to launch the "evaluation of regulatory capture" and to focus on the New York Fed. The GAO said it has begun planning its approach. The probe, which had not been previously reported or made public, is the first by an outside agency into the perception that government regulators are "captured" by and too deferential toward the bankers they supervise, so that Wall Street benefits at the public's expense. Such perceptions have dogged the U.S. central bank since it failed to head off the 2007-2009 financial crisis. While the GAO has not yet determined the full scope of the investigation, the other main agencies that embed supervisors inside financial institutions are the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. In their letter, Waters and Green said they are particularly concerned about the New York Fed and reports of a "revolving door" between it and banks and "a reluctance to challenge" the firms.

Note: Are Goldman Sachs' suspicious ties to the New York Fed and the revolving door between Congress and Wall Street finally beginning to get serious attention? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Authorities have reached a $3.2 billion settlement with Morgan Stanley over bank practices that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis
2016-02-11, US News & World Report/Associated Press
http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2016-02-11/authorities-reach-32b...

Morgan Stanley will pay $3.2 billion in a settlement over bank practices that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis, including misrepresentations about the value of mortgage-backed securities, authorities announced Thursday. The nationwide settlement, negotiated by the working group appointed by President Barack Obama in 2012, says the bank acknowledges that it increased the acceptable risk levels for mortgage loans pooled and sold to investors without telling them. Loans with material defects were included, packaged into the securities and sold. The Justice Department said the $2.6 billion federal penalty to resolve claims about the bank's marketing, sale and issuance of those securities is the largest piece of settlements with the working group that have totaled approximately $5 billion. "Our work is far from over," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who co-chairs the group. "Communities across the country have not gotten back to where they were before the crash." Total settlements so far are about $64 billion, Schneiderman said. The working group previously reached major settlements with Citigroup for $7 billion, JPMorgan for $13 billion and Bank of America for $16.65 billion. The New York-based investment bank reported a fourth-quarter profit of $908 million.

Note: Since the bailout in 2008, the percentage of US banking assets held by the big banks has almost doubled. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


This is corporate tax desertion taken to a whole new level
2016-02-04, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/this-is-corporate-tax-deserti...

If you want an example of how bizarre U.S. tax laws can be - and how companies can game the system - look no further than the recently announced deal for Johnson Controls Inc. of Milwaukee to desert our country by combining with a previous corporate deserter, Tyco International PLC. Tyco is run out of Princeton, N.J., but for tax purposes it is based in Ireland, where the combined Johnson Controls PLC will be based. This [is] an especially aggressive transaction that, among other things, will let Johnson game the tax system by handing its shareholders about $3.9 billion in cash in order to get tax-free access to $8.1 billion in cash currently held overseas. Under our tax laws, if a U.S. company combines with a foreign company (or a nominally foreign company such as Tyco), it can play a variety of tax games, provided that the shareholders of the U.S. company own more than 60 percent but less than 80 percent of the stock in the new, combined company. However, the company can play far more games ... if the shareholders of the U.S. company own more than 50 percent of the combined company but less than 60 percent. By being in [this] sweet spot, Johnson PLC can get its hands on its offshore cash directly, instead of having to leap through various hoops. [Who knows] why it’s legal for Johnson to buy in a chunk of its shares to make the numbers work - but apparently, it is. So there you have it. Johnson, a vendor to the taxpayer-rescued U.S. auto industry, repays us by doing ... a mega-desertion.

Note: Under current US laws, in what the Washington Post calls a "corporate predator state", profitable multinationals often pay no US taxes at all. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why Prosecutors Don’t Target Thieving CEOs
2016-01-29, Time
http://time.com/money/4200133/elizabeth-warren-thieving-ceos-jail/

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren issued a stinging broadside against federal prosecutors on Friday, charging U.S. courts with throwing the book at mixed-up teenagers, while letting wealthy corporate executives who commit much larger and sometimes deadly crimes off with essentially no chance of punishment. In a new report, Sen. Warren’s office makes the case that CEOs and other top executives simply don’t face the same legal consequences as ordinary Americans, releasing a list of what it claims are 20 examples of corporate criminal and civil cases that prosecutors failed to pursue to the full extent of the law last year. Among the cases: scandals ranging from General Motors’ years’ long cover up of ignition switch problems to currency manipulation by large banks (including Citigroup and J.P. Morgan), to a mine explosion that killed 29 people - the only instance of misconduct which led to a conviction of a corporate executive. Such selective application of the law undermines the government’s moral authority: “If justice means a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but it means nothing more than a sideways glance at a CEO who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars, then the promise of equal justice under the law has turned into a lie,” Warren charges in the report. It’s not just a problem in the U.S. This week, U.K. prosecutors, after winning an initial conviction in their quest to prosecute bankers accused of fixing LIBOR - a key benchmark central to financial markets - failed to secure any further wins.

Note: Senator Elizabeth Warren was called "the champion of Main Street versus Wall Street" by the Boston Globe in 2014. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.


Elizabeth Warren: One Way to Rebuild Our Institutions
2016-01-29, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/opinion/elizabeth-warren-one-way-to-rebuild...

I just released a report examining 20 of the worst federal enforcement failures in 2015. Its conclusion: “Corporate criminals routinely escape meaningful prosecution for their misconduct.” In a single year, in case after case, across many sectors of the economy, federal agencies caught big companies breaking the law - defrauding taxpayers, covering up deadly safety problems, even precipitating the financial collapse in 2008 - and let them off the hook with barely a slap on the wrist. Often, companies paid meager fines, which some will try to write off as a tax deduction. Justice cannot mean a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but nothing more than a sideways glance at a C.E.O. who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars. Last year, five of the world’s biggest banks, including JPMorgan Chase, pleaded guilty to criminal charges that they rigged the price of billions of dollars worth of foreign currencies. No corporation can break the law unless people in that corporation also broke the law, but no one from any of those banks has been charged. The Securities and Exchange Commission ... is far behind on issuing congressionally mandated rules to avoid the next financial crisis. It has repeatedly granted waivers so that lawbreaking companies can continue to enjoy special privileges, while the Justice Department has dodged one opportunity after another to impose meaningful accountability on big corporations and their executives.

Note: Senator Elizabeth Warren was called "the champion of Main Street versus Wall Street" by the Boston Globe in 2014. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.


The Populist Revolution: Bernie and Beyond
2016-01-27, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-brown/the-populist-revolution-b_b_9080300...

The world is undergoing a populist revival. From the revolt against austerity led by the Syriza Party in Greece and the Podemos Party in Spain, to Jeremy Corbyn's surprise victory as Labour leader in the UK, to Donald Trump's ascendancy in the Republican polls, to Bernie Sanders' surprisingly strong challenge to Hillary Clinton - contenders with their fingers on the popular pulse are surging ahead of their establishment rivals. What Sanders is proposing ... is a real financial revolution, a fundamental change in the system itself. Banks today have usurped the power to create the national money supply. As the Bank of England recently acknowledged, banks create money whenever they make loans. Banks determine who gets the money and on what terms. How can banking be made to serve the needs of the people and the economy, while preserving the more functional aspects of today's highly sophisticated global banking system? We could have a system of publicly-owned banks that were locally controlled, operating independently to serve the needs of their own communities. Making these banks public institutions would differ from the current system only in that the banks would have a mandate to serve the public interest, and the profits would be returned to the local government for public use.

Note: Why is the only US presidential candidate talking seriously about bank reform being given little attention by mainstream media? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


World faces wave of epic debt defaults, fears central bank veteran
2016-01-19, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/davos/12108569/World-faces-w...

The global financial system has become dangerously unstable and faces an avalanche of bankruptcies that will test social and political stability, a leading monetary theorist has warned. "The situation is worse than it was in 2007. Our macroeconomic ammunition to fight downturns is essentially all used up," said William White, the Swiss-based chairman of the OECD's review committee and former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). "It will become obvious in the next recession that many of these debts will never be serviced or repaid, and this will be uncomfortable for a lot of people who think they own assets that are worth something," he told The Telegraph on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The warnings have special resonance since Mr White was one of the very few voices in the central banking fraternity who stated loudly and clearly between 2005 and 2008 that Western finance was riding for a fall, and that the global economy was susceptible to a violent crisis. Combined public and private debt has surged to all-time highs to 185pc of GDP in emerging markets and to 265pc of GDP in the OECD club, both up by 35 percentage points since the top of the last credit cycle in 2007. Mr White, who is also chief author of G30's recent report on the post-crisis future of central banking, said it is impossible know what the trigger will be for the next crisis since the global system has lost its anchor and is inherently prone to breakdown.

Note: Since the bailout in 2008, the percentage of US banking assets held by the big banks has almost doubled. Will big banks move to avert the next financial crisis when crisis has proven so profitable for them? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Goldman Sachs Will Pay $5 Billion To Settle Financial-Crisis Claims
2016-01-14, NPR
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/14/463107541/goldman-sachs-wil...

Goldman Sachs will pay about $5 billion to resolve state and federal investigations into its handling of mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, the bank said today. The agreement will settle "actual and potential civil claims" by the U.S. Justice Department and the attorneys general of New York and Illinois, as well as the Federal Home Loan Banks of Chicago and Seattle and the National Credit Union Administration. Goldman said the settlement, an agreement in principle, has not yet been finalized by the parties involved. If it is, it will reduce earnings for the last three months of 2013 by $1.5 billion. Ever since the subprime mortgage crisis upended the global financial system, authorities have been investigating a number of large financial institutions and their sale of mortgage-backed securities. The investigations have centered on whether the banks misrepresented the real value of the assets. Regulators have already won large multibillion-dollar settlements from several large banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. Last May, Goldman announced it was negotiating with federal and state authorities to resolve claims against it.

Note: Yet no individual goes to jail for their actions which costs taxpayers billions of dollars. Once again, those who commit white collar crimes go free. And since the bailout in 2008, the percentage of US banking assets held by the big banks has almost doubled. Could this possibly have been planned? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Robert Reich on the ‘Vicious Cycle of Wealth and Power’ He Says Threatens Capitalism
2016-01-11, Wall Street Journal
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/01/11/qa-robert-reich-on-the-vicious-cycl...

Robert Reich, former secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton and a professor of public policy at University of California, Berkeley, spent years warning of twin demons: Technology and globalization. Machines displaced ... workers whose routine jobs could be automated, and globalization meant the flight of manufacturing and service jobs to factories and call centers in emerging countries. The result was ever-widening inequality. In his latest book, “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few,” he’s changed his tune. While those two factors still play a role in growing inequality, he cites a new culprit: “the increasing concentration of political power in a corporate and financial elite that has been able to influence the rules by which the economy runs.” [Reich explains], "Capitalism is based on trust. It’s impossible to have a system that works well and is based on billions of transactions if people don’t trust that others are going to fulfill their obligations, or they fear someone will take advantage of them or exploit them. That’s when a system moves from production to protection. Economists have been documenting inequality using various measures, but I haven’t seen much documentation of this issue of power. Political scientists and economists are [reluctant] to get into this field. Economists look at market power and monopolies, but the other areas I’ve talked about - this vicious cycle of compounded wealth and power that changes the rules of the game - economists are really not taking it on."

Note: Read how the market is rigged to grow inequality in this summary of a Robert Reich essay that recently appeared in Newsweek. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions
2015-12-29, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/30/business/economy/for-the-wealthiest-private...

The very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists. All are among a small group providing much of the early cash for the 2016 presidential campaign. Operating largely out of public view - in tax court, through arcane legislative provisions and in private negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service - the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them. The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans. Two decades ago ... the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to I.R.S. data. By 2012 ... that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent, which is just slightly more than the typical family making $100,000 annually. Some of the biggest current tax battles are being waged by some of the most generous supporters of 2016 candidates. Whatever tax rates Congress sets, the actual rates paid by the ultra-wealthy tend to fall over time as they exploit their numerous advantages.

Note: The IRS now conducts only half as many audits of the super-rich as it did five years ago. Over half of the money contributed so far to 2016 US presidential candidates has come from just 158 families. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.


Bernie Sanders: To Rein In Wall Street, Fix the Fed
2015-12-23, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/23/opinion/bernie-sanders-to-rein-in-wall-stre...

Seven years ago, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department bailed out the largest financial institutions in this country because they were considered too big to fail. But almost every one is bigger today than it was before the bailout. If any were to fail again, taxpayers could be on the hook for another bailout. To rein in Wall Street, we should begin by reforming the Federal Reserve, which oversees financial institutions. Unfortunately, an institution that was created to serve all Americans has been hijacked by the very bankers it regulates. What went wrong at the Fed? The chief executives of some of the largest banks in America are allowed to serve on its boards. During the Wall Street crisis of 2007, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive and chairman of JPMorgan Chase, served on the New York Fed’s board of directors while his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Next year, four of the 12 presidents at the regional Federal Reserve Banks will be former executives from one firm: Goldman Sachs. We would not tolerate the head of Exxon Mobil running the Environmental Protection Agency. And we should not allow big bank executives to serve on the boards of the main agency in charge of regulating financial institutions. Financial reforms must not stop with the central bank. We must reinstate Glass-Steagall and break up the too-big-to-fail financial institutions. The sad reality is that the Federal Reserve doesn’t regulate Wall Street; Wall Street regulates the Fed.

Note: After the bailout in 2008, the percentage of US banking assets held by the big banks has almost doubled. Could this possibly have been planned? And why is the only US presidential candidate talking seriously about bank reform being given little attention by mainstream media? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


‘The Big Short,’ Housing Bubbles and Retold Lies
2015-12-18, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/18/opinion/the-big-short-housing-bubbles-and-r...

In May 2009 Congress created a special commission to examine the causes of the financial crisis. Some commission members sought to block consideration of any historical account that might support efforts to rein in runaway bankers. One ... wrote [that] it was important that what they said “not undermine the ability of the new House G.O.P. to modify or repeal Dodd-Frank,” the financial regulations introduced in 2010. Never mind what really happened; the party line, literally, required telling stories that would help Wall Street do it all over again. Which brings me to a new movie the enemies of financial regulation really, really don’t want you to see. “The Big Short” is based on the Michael Lewis book of the same name, one of the few real best-sellers to emerge from the financial crisis. It does a terrific job of making Wall Street skulduggery entertaining. Many influential, seemingly authoritative players, from Alan Greenspan on down, insisted not only that there was no bubble but that no bubble was even possible. And the bubble whose existence they denied really was inflated largely via opaque financial schemes that in many cases amounted to outright fraud - and it is an outrage that basically nobody ended up being punished for those sins aside from innocent bystanders, namely the millions of workers who lost their jobs and the millions of families that lost their homes. While the movie gets the essentials of the financial crisis right, the true story of what happened is deeply inconvenient to some very rich and powerful people.

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