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Senator Bernie Sanders on the Federal Reserve’s secret Wall Street bailout:
After years of stonewalling by the Fed, the American people are finally learning the incredible and jaw-dropping details of the Fed’s multi-trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and corporate America….
What have we learned so far from the disclosure of more than 21,000 transactions? We have learned that the $700 billion Wall Street bailout signed into law by President George W. Bush turned out to be pocket change compared to the trillions and trillions of dollars in near-zero interest loans and other financial arrangements the Federal Reserve doled out to every major financial institution in this country. Among those are Goldman Sachs, which received nearly $600 billion; Morgan Stanley, which received nearly $2 trillion; Citigroup, which received $1.8 trillion; Bear Stearns, which received nearly $1 trillion, and Merrill Lynch, which received some $1.5 trillion in short term loans from the Fed.
We also learned that the Fed’s multi-trillion bailout was not limited to Wall Street and big banks, but that some of the largest corporations in this country also received a very substantial bailout. Among those are General Electric, McDonald’s, Caterpillar, Harley Davidson, Toyota and Verizon.
Perhaps most surprising is the huge sum that went to bail out foreign private banks and corporations including two European megabanks – Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse – which were the largest beneficiaries of the Fed’s purchase of mortgage-backed securities.
Sanders has some obvious biases here, but he deserves credit for broaching the inexplicably taboo subject of criticizing the Federal Reserve. And the revelations that he has uncovered are absolutely appalling, but honestly, is anyone surprised by this? It should be readily apparent to anyone with eyes and a brain that our government was long ago transformed into a vehicle for protecting and expanding corporate wealth and power. Main Street is the recipient of endless platitudes and a paltry, ineffective stimulus package; Wall Street and the corporate elite receive virtually anything they desire. As John Dewey wisely stated, our government is merely the shadow cast by big business.
One wonders why exactly McDonald’s required a cash infusion from the Federal Reserve. Judging by the greasy cardboard they serve, it would appear their only expense is the seven bucks per hour they are forced to begrudgingly pay their wage-slaves. General Electric is reaping billions of dollars from the state of perpetual war that began during the Bush era and has been gleefully continued by the Obama administration. Caterpillar and Toyota are perhaps the most successful companies within their respective industries. And what about Harley Davidson? Was it considered “too big to fail”? As absurd as these lesser-known bailouts might appear to be, they make perfect sense within the context of our plutocracy; what is truly outrageous is that so few people seem to care. (Which reminds me, where the f*ck are the Teabaggers?)
Sen. Sanders continued by highlighting the possibility of still more corruption:
I intend to investigate whether these secret Fed loans, in some cases, turned out to be direct corporate welfare to big banks that used these loans not to reinvest in the economy but rather to lend back to the federal government at a higher rate of interest by purchasing Treasury Securities. Instead of using this money to reinvest in the productive economy, I suspect a large portion of these near-zero interest loans were used to buy Treasury Securities at a higher interest rate providing free money to some of the largest financial institutions in this country. That is something that we have got to closely examine.
It almost a certainty that this happened, given what we know about the insatiable greed and unfathomable depravity of corporations everywhere. Such lust for profits – at whatever cost – is the inherent nature of the modern corporation, as they are bound by law to maximize short-term profits, with very little external oversight. If there is any depth to which a corporation could possibly sink to realize greater profits, we should assume that it has. To think otherwise would be dangerously naive.
While I applaud Sen. Sanders for his courage in openly approaching the issue of unethical behavior by the Federal Reserve, his investigation and subsequent critique takes far too much for granted. Sen. Sanders hinted at a veil of secrecy enshrouding the Reserve, but his implications do not go nearly far enough. The Federal Reserve is an innately corrupt organization and should not even exist. In considering corruption within the Reserve, our most basic premise should be the fundamental realization that it is a parasite, a festering lesion, a malignant growth on the very throat of society which feeds off our blood while mercilessly strangling us.
The only way to constructively discuss the Federal Reserve is to understand first and foremost that this wretched amalgamation of entrenched banking and corporate interests exists only to leech off the masses while enriching an incomprehensibly wealthy – and powerful – elite. Anyone who does otherwise, no matter how noble his intentions, is doing us all a great disservice.