Economic Articles from 2018
Looking Back on the Prosecution Failures after the 2008 Wall Street Crash
By James A. Kidney
Posted September 12, 2018
As the nation approaches the 10th anniversary of the demise of Lehman Brothers, which is popularly pegged as the beginning of the Great Recession, one is struck by the current events that tie back to the world-wide financial crisis of a decade ago.
Big Wall Street banks are as up to their necks in risky derivatives, as in 2008.
Once again, the political powers are reveling in a long bull market and listening to wealthy bankers proclaim a pressing need to be relieved of minimal regulation.
In the view of some, current threats to the market economy are reminiscent of 2008, along with pollyannaish predictions from lawmakers and regulators from the White House on down that all is sound. More…
Wall Street’s Derivatives Nightmare: New York Times Does a Shallow Dive
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted September 12, 2018
The New York Times published a 1300-word shallow dive into the byzantine, globally-interconnected world of financial derivatives in its print edition yesterday. After years of ignoring this seismic problem since it last blew up the U.S. financial system in 2008, what accounts for the New York Times’ newfound interest? We can sum up its 1300 word article using only three letters – CYA (CoverYourAss!)
What frightened the Times into this foray into the dark web of financial derivatives held by the biggest Wall Street banks was a frightening, 111-page deep dive into the subject by Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law. Greenberger knows a thing or two about derivatives, having previously served from 1997 to 1999 as the Director of the Division of Trading and Markets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under its head Brooksley Born. More…
The Myth Of Fed Independence
by Murray Rothbard
Posted September 11, 2018
By far the most secret and least accountable operation of the federal government is not, as one might expect, the CIA, DIA, or some other super-secret intelligence agency. The CIA and other intelligence operations are under control of the Congress. They are accountable: a Congressional committee supervises these operations, controls their budgets, and is informed of their covert activities. It is true that the committee hearings and activities are closed to the public; but at least the people’s representatives in Congress insure some accountability for these secret agencies.
It is little known, however, that there is a federal agency that tops the others in secrecy by a country mile. The Federal Reserve System is accountable to no one; it has no budget; it is subject to no audit; and no Congressional committee knows of, or can truly supervise, its operations. The Federal Reserve, virtually in total control of the nation’s vital monetary system, is accountable to nobody – and this strange situation, if acknowledged at all, is invariably trumpeted as a virtue. More…
The Whole System Is Rigged
by Chris Martenson
Posted September 7, 2018
Recently I’ve been frustrated by the efforts to convince Americans that our democracy is under attack by outside agents when there’s ample evidence — concrete, hard, firm evidence which I’ve repeatedly covered — that US elections have been spitting out improbable and even sometimes impossible election results for the past 14 years, ever since insecure, low-integrity eVoting platforms and central tabulators were introduced.
Yes, nefarious agents may well indeed be undermining our democracy. But the real villains appear much more domestic than foreign.
There’s nothing more poisonous to the notion of democracy than fraudulent election outcomes. Nothing. And yet the number of people rising up in protest on this issue may as well be zero, as long as we’re rounding to the nearest whole percentage. Meanwhile millions are up in arms about the still-unproven allegations that Russia tipped the recent presidential elections with a laughably tiny amount of social media ads. More…
The cashless society is a con – and big finance is behind it
by Brett Scott
Posted September 3, 2018
All over the western world banks are shutting down cash machines and branches. They are trying to push you into using their digital payments and digital banking infrastructure. Just like Google wants everyone to access and navigate the broader internet via its privately controlled search portal, so financial institutions want everyone to access and navigate the broader economy through their systems.
I recently got a letter from my bank telling me that they are shutting down local branches because “customers are turning to digital”, and they are thus “responding to changing customer preferences”. I am one of the customers they are referring to, but I never asked them to shut down the branches.
There is a feedback loop going on here. In closing down their branches, or withdrawing their cash machines, they make it harder for me to use those services. I am much more likely to “choose” a digital option if the banks deliberately make it harder for me to choose a non-digital option. More…
America’s One-sided Domestic Financial War
By Raymond Matison
Posted September 1, 2018
Domestically, there are two institutions which are capable of starting, executing, and managing a domestic or a global financial war. The first is the Federal Reserve System, which with its banks has the unfettered power to print money, create credit, and set interest rates. The second is our own government which through its elected officials sets foreign policy that includes its demonstrated power to influence foreign elections, covertly remove uncooperative foreign leaders from office, and to wage war both physical and financial without any formal declarations.
America’s participation in the Korean War over seventy years ago was defined as a police action rather than a war which would have required Congressional approval, and conflicts since then have mostly eluded the requirement for congressional approval. However, no financial war has required a formal declaration nor Congressional approval, as they are initiated against any targeted country without visible bloodshed, frequently on a clandestine basis. More…
We Are All Hostages of Corporate Profits
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted August 21, 2018
We’re in the endgame of financialization and globalization, and it won’t be pretty for all the hostages of corporate profits.Though you won’t read about it in the mainstream corporate media, the nation is now hostage to outsized corporate profits.
The economy and society at large are now totally dependent on soaring corporate profits and the speculative bubbles they fuel, and this renders us all hostages: “Make a move to limit corporate profits or speculative bubbles, and your pension fund gets a bullet in the head.”
Not just pension funds, of course; tax revenues will also be taken out and shot as most of the state and federal income taxes are paid by high-earners and those skimming capital gains from stock options and stock-based compensation packages. More…
After long career bailing out big banks, Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner
by Jake Johnson
Posted August 17, 2018
“Your economy, rigged to redistribute wealth to the top.” After a lengthy government career defined by his central role in bailing out predatory Wall Street banks as former President Barack Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner appears to have found his true calling in the private sector, where he now heads a large financial institution that exploits the economic struggles of poor Americans for profit.
As president of Warburg Pincus – a major New York private equity firm – Geithner helps manage a lucrative predatory lending outfit called Mariner Finance, which mass-mails loan checks to low-income Americans, hides exorbitant interest rates in the fine print, and quickly sues those who fail to repay the loan and interest in time, according to a detailed Washington Post report published late Sunday. More…
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