Financial Feudalism

 

The Wall Street Crash of 2008, the bailout, and the Fed’s Quantitative Easing (QE) intensified inequality in America.

And now they’re getting the band back together.

Behind all the focus on the human toll of the pandemic there are quiet moves being made on Wall Street and corporate boardrooms to effect another bailout of the reckless financial institutions and companies that are underwater due to their risky bets and stock-buybacks.

Corporate and financial lobbyists are hard at work promoting all kinds of bailouts. You might have heard that Uncle Sam is gonna mail you a $1200 check but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Congress is considering a multi-trillion dollar bailout plan, an attempt to calm free falling markets and shape the American economy for the foreseeable future.

That’s right. A bailout is coming and guess who will get the lions share? The same people as last time. Does anyone believe that the government directed bailouts and the credit lines, will not be channelled principally to the political élites and their allies?

What is going down is disturbingly reminiscent of the 2008 bailouts. Twelve years ago, capitalism teetered on the brink of the abyss, its structural flaws exposed for anyone who cared to look. The 2008 crash almost broke the global financial system. It was saved by us, the taxpayers. The government delved deep into the pockets of the American people and transferred our money to the banks. Or rather the banksters.

And now the Fed is already injecting trillions into the financial markets. A trillion here, a couple trillion there, using an alphabet soup of lending facilities to cloak the scope of the bailout to the underwater banks and hedge funds.

I have to ask, how is this money suddenly available–when we have repeatedly been told in the wake of the 2008 crisis that austerity must be the only answer?

These “masters of the universe” should have wound up in prison after the crash of 2008, yet thanks to the Obama Administration the banks were saved by “socialising” their mistakes and losses. These losses transferred to the public balance sheet, and we have paid for those bail outs ever since with pared down health and welfare systems, not to mention the millions of Americans who were turfed-out of their homes. Since then, all of the gains of the re-financialization of our economy have gone to the 1%.

As a country we better wake up fast and ask wether we’re going to allow another bailout of the richest most powerful elite?

If Obama had helped distressed and unemployed people pay their mortgages and rent, it would have kept them in their homes, propped up the underlying mortgages that tanked derivatives and, therefore, saved the banks indirectly. Reducing the number of evictions would have mitigated the real estate crash caused by the deterioration of vacant houses.

Instead, the federal government handed over $7 trillion interest-free, no strings attached, to the big banks in exchange for increasing liquidity in the credit markets — which they never did. It’s still too hard to get a mortgage or other type of loan.

Not only that but it was the Fed’s ultra low rates for the past decade that made the tidal wave of stock buybacks possible, a tidal wave which became a tsunami in 2018 and 2019 after Trump allowed companies to repatriate over a $1 trillion in offshore cash at negligible tax rates, which unleashed a record stock buyback spree that was used to boost executive compensation and reward shareholders.

There’s a simple way to ensure that the banks and corporations can’t loot the republic a second time in 12 years, as economist Thomas Ferguson explains. “Put simply, if the public is to be called upon for the second time in twelve years to bail out banks and businesses, it should get something back for its money. It can’t simply be asked to shoulder losses; it needs to share in any upside.”

This crisis is also a good opportunity to redistribute wealth to create a more equitable world than the one where a plutocratic class can just buy up entire governments and media organizations, and exert their will.

But instead we’re hearing from our ruling sociopaths saying it would be better for a few million older Americans to die than for the financial markets take any losses.

The end game is becoming clear: a corrupt takeover by the financial oligarchy deliberately impoverishing the rest of the population. But most of all, the crisis will give Trump and our corrupt Congress an excuse to give enormous bailouts to banks and companies that already were near insolvency as a result of their own debt problem. They hope to use the crisis not to revive the economy, but to just pound it into debt deflation, leaving the debts in place while bailing out the banks and the landlord class.

So basically the virus crisis is a fundamental restructuring of the US economy designed to strengthen the grip of the corrupt corporate-banking oligarchy while sacrificing the wage-earning population.

Welcome to the new financial feudalism.

Update: The bailout of Wall Street in 2008 resulted in mass outrage and Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Now the Senate passed a bailout 4 times larger and forever QE. But most of the nation is stuck inside on lockdown and unable to protest.

How convenient.

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