Economic Articles from 2017
The Federal Reserve Cartel: The Eight Families
By Dean Henderson
Posted July 9, 2017
The Four Horsemen of Banking (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo) own the Four Horsemen of Oil (Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, BP and Chevron Texaco); in tandem with Deutsche Bank, BNP, Barclays and other European old money behemoths. But their monopoly over the global economy does not end at the edge of the oil patch.
According to company 10K filings to the SEC, the Four Horsemen of Banking are among the top ten stock holders of virtually every Fortune 500 corporation.
So who then are the stockholders in these money center banks?
This information is guarded much more closely. My queries to bank regulatory agencies regarding stock ownership in the top 25 US bank holding companies were given Freedom of Information Act status, before being denied on “national security” grounds. This is rather ironic, since many of the bank’s stockholders reside in Europe. More…
What They Want to Hide Tells You Who They Are
By Liz Ryan Murray
Posted July 8, 2017
The Treasury Department has released their report on financial regulations they want to scrap. Spoiler alert: the Wall Street sharpies who Trump put in charge of our economy, who made fortunes on both ends of the housing collapse, think pretty much all regulations on banks, including home lenders, should go.
This report was driven by Craig Phillips, who packaged and sold billions in bundled home loans for Morgan Stanley before he moved over to hedge fund giant BlackRock. His boss is former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin, who made his bones by aggressively foreclosing on homeowners at IndyMac after the 2008 financial meltdown.
These guys think we should go a lot easier on the poor, poor megabanks, who’ve suffered enough, and toughen up on the real culprits — middle-class families. More…
SkyNet is Sentient and Will Destroy Your Investments and Pension
by Cognitive Dissonance
Posted June 19, 2017
If you never lose money when trading the markets, obviously the markets are rigged in your favor. But it’s all ‘legal’ so what’s the problem. Heads they win, tails you lose. It just doesn’t get any better than this.
The easiest way for the machines to make money is to push the market up. But when the tide turns, and it always eventually turns, the machines will shift to making money on the way down with the same speed and zeal they apply to the ‘up’ market.
Only ‘down’ markets tend to breed panic in the humans. When selling really ramps up, market conditions move very rapidly and markets can drop many percentage points in seconds, especially when you have machines making tens of thousands of trades a second and you have thousands of machines all doing this at the same time. More…
Nobody In Power Is Paying Attention To How Close We Are To The Edge
by Howard Kunstler
Posted June 18, 2017
As our politicos creep deeper into a legalistic wilderness hunting for phantoms of Russian collusion, nobody pays attention to the most dangerous force in American life: the unraveling financialization of the economy.
Financialization is what happens when the people-in-charge “create” colossal sums of “money” out of nothing — by issuing loans, a.k.a. debt — and then cream off stupendous profits from the asset bubbles, interest rate arbitrages, and other opportunities for swindling that the artificial wealth presents. It was a kind of magic trick that produced monuments of concentrated personal wealth for a few and left the rest of the population drowning in obligations from a stolen future. The future is now upon us. More…
A Mexican Town Is Giving Americans Something Donald Trump Can’t: Affordable Dental Care
by John Stanton
Posted June 18, 2017
Dentistry has never gotten much respect in the United States, where oral health was long seen as a cosmetic luxury rather than a necessity. Of course, that’s far from the truth — gum disease can cause serious complications with a host of life-threatening illnesses, and a rotten tooth can even kill you. It wasn’t until the 1980s that dental insurance became a standard part of workers’ compensation and that American mouths started getting the care they needed.
In the three decades since dental insurance has become common, it’s never been a serious part of any of the health care overhaul efforts Democrats or Republicans have undertaken. Obamacare expanded dental coverage requirements for children but didn’t mandate insurance for everyone. And dental plans available under the ACA cover almost nothing beyond a few X-rays and cleanings each year. More…
Poverty amidst plenty – The birth and death of money
by Alain Pilote
Posted June 15, 2017
The first idea that we keep alive in our minds, without really realizing it, is that there is one fixed quantity of money, and that it cannot be changed; as if it was the sun, or the rain, or the weather. This idea is utterly wrong; if there is money, it is because it was made somewhere. If there is not more, it is because those who made it did not make more.
Another prevalent belief about the origin of money is that the Government makes it. This is also incorrect. The Government today does not create money, and complains continuously about not having any. If the Government were the source of money, it would not have sat around idly for ten years in front of the lack of money. The Government takes and borrows, but it does not create money.
Now, we will explain where money begins and ends. Those who control the birth and death of money also regulate its volume. If they make much money and destroy little, there is more. If the destruction of money goes faster than its creation, its quantity decreases. More…
Why Society’s Biggest Freeloaders Are at the Top
By Rutger Bregman
Posted June 11, 2017
No, wealth isn’t created at the top. It is merely devoured there. This piece is about one of the biggest taboos of our times. About a truth that is seldom acknowledged, and yet – on reflection – cannot be denied. The truth that we are living in an inverse welfare state.
These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurialism that are helping to advance the whole world.
Now, we may disagree about the extent to which success deserves to be rewarded – the philosophy of the left is that the strongest shoulders should bear the heaviest burden, while the right fears high taxes will blunt enterprise – but across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top. More…
Amid Divestment Protests, More Cities Explore Public Banks
By Oscar Perry Abello
Posted June 9, 2017
Philadelphia City Council Member Cindy Bass was already thinking about how to cut the city’s ties with Wells Fargo when bank CEO John Stumpf testified last September before the U.S. Senate. Questioning Stumpf about the bank’s fraudulent accounts scandal, Senator Elizabeth Warren said, “So you haven’t resigned, you haven’t returned a single nickel of your personal earnings, you haven’t fired a single senior executive. Instead, your definition of accountable is to push the blame to your low-level employees who don’t have the money for a fancy PR firm to defend themselves.”
Search the U.S. Department of Justice website for “Wells Fargo” and “settlement” and you’ll get a litany of results: a $25 billion settlement for foreclosure abuse (a record), $1.2 billion for improper mortgage lending practices, and $184.3 million in compensation for steering black and Latino borrowers into predatory subprime mortgages. The 2016 hearing was the moment when the wheels fell off the stagecoach. More…
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