Friday, January 23, 2009

Nationalize The Banks And Hang The Banksters


Carmen & John Thain are laughing all the way to the bank... AT YOU!

I heard an NPR host start a show today by saying "No one wants to see the banks nationalized..." We don't? No one? What do we want? To be pillaged and plundered until we're starving and slavery starts looking good? Do we want to just pay our money directly to the John A. Thains of the world, and other self-entitled criminal banksters? Thain ran Merrill Lynch... into the ground. He lost $15.3 billion in the fourth quarter alone.

But before Thain basically gave his failed company to Bank of America, he took billions of dollars in taxpayer finds and divided it up among his cronies... bonuses. For jobs well done? Like the $40 million dollar bonus Thain himself demanded in October-- a nice follow-up to the signing bonus in 2007, part of the sweet $83 million compensation package he received in 2007 as his company was falling apart) and the $1.2 million dollar renovation for his personal office last year (after Merrill Lynch ousted its then-corrupt and failed CEO Stanley O'Neal, who shuffled out the door with a hefty $161 million dollars. Take a look at Zina Saunders' brilliant art work for Miracle on Wall Street.

Sorry for getting carried away. Where was I? Oh, yeah... none of us want to nationalize the banks. We love our banksters and how they steal billions and billions and billions from us. I mean, why steal millions when you can just as easily-- since there is never, ever, ever any accountability-- steal billions? I hope you read the piece economist Stirling Newberry wrote here yesterday. Obama is better than Bush in every way he can think of. But Obama is still one of them, has never been progressive, and never will be. His "solutions" are Insider for insiders, not, alas for us; we're outsiders. And, remember, we don't want to nationalize anything.

By the way, John Thain, his wife Carmen and their daughters Nicole and Victoria have been generous political donors, having given tens of thousands of dollars-- all but $2,000 of it to Republicans. Recently they donated $35,300 to John McCain, most of it illegally. Not only do we not want nationalization of banks, we don't want to end the most corrupt system of political financing the world has ever seen.

Yesterday's NY Times passed on some crazy, weirdo, lefty advice for us from the crazy, weirdo, lefty Swedes. They think we should nationalize the banks... temporarily. When Sweden's banks went bankrupt in the early 1990s the right-of-center government did just that. And it worked-- really well. Taxpayers actually made money on the deal!
Sweden placed its banks with troubled assets into a so-called bad bank, where they could be held and then sold over time when market and economic conditions improved. In the meantime, it used taxpayer money to provide enough capital to allow banks to resume normal lending.

In the process, Sweden wiped out existing shareholders.

By contrast, the United States government, so far, has bailed out banks without receiving large equity stakes in return, said Bo Lundgren, Sweden’s minister of fiscal and financial affairs during the Swedish bank takeover.

“For me, that is a problem,” said Mr. Lundgren, who called himself more of a free marketer than some Republicans. “If you go in with capital, you should have full voting rights.”

...In effect, the Swedish state took on all the assets that were worthless or impossible to value at the time, and then managed them or sold them with the aim of getting as good a deal as possible for the taxpayer.

“We hired real estate people,” said Lars H. Thunell, the former chief executive of Securum, the institution that became Sweden’s repository of all the underwater assets. “We hired industrial M.& A. people. We needed to manage real assets.”

The United States has become embroiled in a debate about creating its own bad bank after months of decisions to recapitalize American banks without taking control of them.

For all the billions of dollars committed to the banks by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve, American taxpayers have, in effect, used mostly loans to turn themselves into emergency creditors of the financial system.

For their part, bank shareholders have taken big hits as the stocks plummeted. But the government has largely avoided acquiring equity and diluting the value held by existing shareholders.

Former Swedish officials said that was a mistake, for political reasons if nothing else, because owners of bank stocks did so well in the boom years early in the decade.

Fears of bank nationalization are diverse-- skeptics worry that nationalization would cost too much, the government would not run banks effectively or nationalization would be too complicated. Mr. Lundgren, the former minister of financial affairs, said the costs of nationalization have to be measured against the perils a hobbled banking system creates for an economy.

Moreover, he said the mere threat of nationalization nudged some Swedish bankers to find creative solutions to their problems in the 1990s.

And as for the government not running banks effectively... compared to who? Thain? O'Neal? My Pet Goat? The GOP mantra that government does nothing right and private business interests are always the solution... that self-serving falisy died in the throes of the Enron, Halliburton and Katrina debacles... only the media never reported it so no one knows. We just know we don't want to nationalize the banks or take all those billions in taxpayer-funded bonuses and compensation packages back from the banksters. Right?

If you said "wrong, I wanna make a bank president twitch in a ditch" you're welcome to watch Mojo Nixon:

In a largely symbolic vote yesterday, the House passed an essentially meaningless resolution opposing spending the rest of the TARP funds. It's too late. 99 Democrats, including many of the most progressive and thoughtful members, like Alan Grayson (D-FL), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Larry Kissell (D-NC), John Conyers (D-MI), Bob Filner (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Eric Massa (D-NY), Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Mark Schauer (D-MI) Tom Perriello (D-VA), and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) joined virtually all the Republicans and the worst of the Blue Dogs to pass it 270-155.

Eric Massa explained his vote against spending the second half of the funds to his constituents:
Today I voted to prohibit the release of an additional $350 billion to the Troubled Asset Relief Program. I cast this vote knowing that it is largely symbolic because the outgoing Bush Administration allowed the Senate to make the decision to release those funds. The Senate has voted to release the TARP funds and this will happen. I feel it is critical to stand publicly in opposition, not only to this program but, regretfully on this matter, to the leadership of my own party.
We are still trying to figure out where the first half of the $700 billion was invested by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. I am glad that we voted to add more oversight to future TARP spending yesterday, but I still do not support spending these funds.
I opposed TARP when it was first passed because there wasn't enough oversight and that is still the case. That money was supposed to have been used to purchase toxic mortgage assets to free up capital so that loans could once again be given to families. Instead, many of the firms that received this capital refused to start issuing loans. The recession continued after the passage of the first bill and while we do need to address this crisis, I think we need to have more oversight.



The Republican's version of the DCCC, the NRCC, has a current page on their website devoted to the current economic crisis Republican Party dogma and policies have dragged the country into. The GOP view of the state of the economy and what to do about it are there for all voters to look at-- and I hope they do. It starts with a bang: "Thanks to Republican economic policies, the U.S. economy is robust and job creation is strong."

Republican tax cuts are creating jobs and continuing to strengthen the economy, yet there is still more to do so that every American who wants a job can find one. Congressional Republicans understand that many Americans are working hard to make ends meet. That is why the GOP continues to push for pro-growth policies that create jobs and oppose tax increases that would add a burden to working families and set back our economy. Republicans believe we should:
• Allow families to plan for the future by making tax relief permanent.
• Encourage investment and expansion by restraining federal spending and reducing regulation.
• Make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy through a comprehensive national energy policy.
• Expand trade and levels the playing field to sell American goods and services across the globe.
• Protect small business owners and workers from excessive frivolous lawsuits that threaten jobs across America.
• Lower the cost of health care for small businesses and working families through Association Health Plans, tax-free Health Savings Accounts, tax credits for employer contributions to Health Savings Accounts, Medical Liability Reform, and health information technology.

In other words, if you think everything is hunky-dory and on the right track, the Republican Party is the place for you. If, like more than 80% of Americans, you feel the country, and especially the economy, are headed in the wrong direction, this might be a good time to consider whose agenda brought us to where we are now and how we are going to climb out of the hole they have dug for us. The hair of the dog isn't the way.

A few hours after we posted this, the NRCC-- which had just updated it yesterday-- removed it from their site. Luckily, we kept a screenshot... for the historical record:


Don't just take my word for it. Zack Roth at TPM has all the gory, costly, Republican details, a John Thain Top Ten including the notorious commode on legs for the bargain price of a mere $35,115.

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At 11:30 AM, Blogger Dr. Know said...

Minor quibble:
We just no we don't want to nationalize the banks

Otherwise excellent.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Thanks, Doc! I meant "know," not "no" and I fixed it. (I can certainly see why this would be of particular concern to you!) More on the topic this evening.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Dr. Know said...

Just a coincidence, I assure you.

And at the risk of repeating myself, without guidlines and oversight, these moguls will horde the money and endeavour to aquire corporate equity and perks. Society must be punished for electing anyone who doesn't kowtow to the moneychangers. Remember Woodrow Wilson's words:

"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."

This, from the man who signed the Federal Reserve into existence.

At 1:48 PM, Blogger ordinaryperson said...

At the NRCC, they're not as good as Rove/Bush/Cheney at destroying evidence.

The economy page is still up, even if you can't click it directly from the issues page.

This way, when John Thain logs on from his diamond-encrusted computer, he will see exactly the policy stance he wants to see, as long as Tom Cole directs him to the right URL.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Jack Reylan said...

Bam-Bam Rubble complains about bank renovations when he spent so much on the hen auger hole. Just because he got Willma to rap resent him ain't gone and mean Fred won't move back in to Clitt stole he.


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