Tuesday, June 7, 2011

LEGALIZED THEFT: "Taxpayers are STILL SUBSIDIIZING BILLIONAIRE bankers" - over and above "bailouts" and "Free Money from Fed" Quantitative Easing!

  The problem with the American economic crisis is simplicity itself:  if  Americans CONTINUE to be WILLFULLY IGNORANT about economic affairs - specifically, the INCREASE in INCOME INEQUALITY, and the   CONSOLIDATION of wealth and power in an "imperial Rome, increasingly concentrated in ever fewer  hands" manner  
(and of the  GENOCIDAL WARS being pushed by the  financial, neo-con elites to DISTRACT from the LOOTING of America) - then they (Americans)  will continue to be DEPRIVED of their wealth & property, as the treasonous, hyper-wealthy continue to ever more efficiently increase INCOME INEQUALITY by contracting the economy,  until America will resemble France on the eve of the French Revolution. 
Taxpayers are still subsidizing billionaire bankers

 by Timothy P. Carney,  Senior Political Columnist
    Follow Him @TPCarney 5 June 2011

 Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, and other giant U.S. banks have been profiting at your expense through an implicit taxpayer guarantee of their debt above and beyond the bailout funds they have already received, a recent report from credit agency Moody's shows.
Last week, the ratings agency announced a review of whether these bailout assumptions still apply after passage of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill. The Moody's review will be the truest test yet of President Obama's promise that the legislation -- derided by Republicans as a bailout bill -- can end the "Too Big To Fail" dynamic that has encouraged financial risk taking and given these banks an unfair advantage.
The implicit government guarantee these banks enjoy is    
 a SUBSIDY.   [ = SOCIALISM for the rich].    
     The "five notches of uplift from government support assumptions" that Moody's gives to Bank of America translate into real profits for Bank of America. Without a presumed [waiting in wings]  bailout, Bank of America's senior debt would be rated Baa3, just barely on the right side of the "Investment Grade"/"Speculative Grade" boundary. The presumed "government support" RAISES the bank's debt rating to A2, which is "very low credit risk." Even Wimpy from "Popeye" would be a "very low credit risk" if you could count on Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner to pay for his hamburger....
As a result, all the big banks pay lower interest rates than they would pay in a market environment. Put another way: Anyone lending money to big banks (by buying their bonds, for instance), does so on the assumption that if the bank cannot repay the loan, [then]  U.S. taxpayers will. It's hardly shocking that experts think our recently bailed-out and very politically connected banks are still too big to fail, but the Moody's report makes it official.
 Bank of America booked $2.05 billion in net income in its most recent quarter. Goldman's net last quarter was $2.7 billion. Citigroup beat them both with $3 billion for the quarter. Part of that profit is earned on the back of taxpayers who bear the risk of default so that these giants can borrow more cheaply, and so that the Masters of the Universe walking their halls can earn million-dollar bonuses.

....Democratic Sens. Ted Kaufmann and Sherrod Brown proposed an amendment capping bank size. The amendment failed badly in the Senate. One Republican, Sen. Judd Gregg, attacked the provision: "What it says is if you're successful ... you're going to break them up? I mean, where does this stop? Do we take McDonald's on?"
But there's a difference: If McDonald's fails, as opposed to Bank of America, there won't be a bailout. Former Sen. Gregg, by the way, now draws a paycheck from Goldman Sachs, whose 2008 bailout he championed.
 For banks, being big provides more political benefits than market benefits. For now, taxpayers are paying for those political benefits.

Timothy P.Carney, The Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Monday and Thursday, and his stories and blog posts appear on ExaminerPolitics