Let Them Eat Cake: 10 Examples Of How The Elite Are Savagely Mocking The Poor

There is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard and making a lot of money, but there is something wrong with being completely arrogant and smug about it.  Today, many among the elite are savagely mocking the poor, and that is a huge mistake.  You shouldn’t kick people when they are down.  There are tens of millions of Americans that are deeply frustrated about losing their homes, losing their jobs or barely being able to survive in this economy.  These frustrations have been one of the primary reasons for the rise of the Tea Party movement and the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  What these movements have in common is that people in both movements are sick and tired of the status quo and they want something to be done about our broken system.  There are huge numbers of families out there right now that have just about reached the end of their ropes.  Instead of showing compassion, many of the ultra-wealthy have decided that it is funny to mock the poor and those that are suffering.  So how are all of these protesters going to respond to the “let them eat cake” attitude of the Wall Street elite?  The protesters are being told that nothing that they can do will change anything and that they should be grateful for what Wall Street and the ultra-wealthy have done for them.  They are essentially being told that they should just shut up and go home.  So will we see these protest movements become discouraged and die down, or will the patronizing attitudes of so many among the elite just inflame them even further?

Right now, there really are two different “Americas”.  In one America, the stock market is surging, corporate profits are soaring and BMW is operating factories at 110% of capacity just to keep up with demand.

In the other America, unemployment is rampant, millions of families are being kicked out of their homes and more than 45 million Americans are on food stamps.

There is more economic frustration in this country today than there has been at any other time since the Great Depression.  We are watching pressure build to very dangerous levels.

It is important to note that I certainly do not agree at all with the solutions being put forward by the organizers of the Occupy Wall Street protests.  As I have written about previously, collectivism is one of our biggest problems, and more collectivism is not going to solve anything.

But it is definitely understandable that people are incredibly upset about this economy and that they want to protest.  Most Americans realize that something is fundamentally wrong with our economic system.

Unfortunately, most of them do not understand how we have gotten to this point or what it is going to take to fix things.  That is one of the reasons why I write about economic issues so much.  We desperately need to educate America.

But what is undeniable is that there is a growing rage in this country that protest movements such as the Occupy Wall Street are giving a voice to.

Our system is badly broken.  The people out there protesting in the streets may not understand much, but they do understand that something needs to change.

The Wall Street elite should be taking these protests as a signal that they need to get their house in order.  The status quo just is not going to cut it.  But instead of taking leadership and calling for significant change, many among the elite are openly mocking the protesters.

The incredible arrogance displayed by so many on Wall Street and by so many in Washington D.C. is absolutely appalling.

The following are 10 examples of how the elite are openly mocking the poor in America today….

#1 According to an article in The New York Times, poor families that lost their homes to foreclosure were openly mocked during a Halloween party thrown by the law firm of Steven J. Baum.  This particular law firm represents many of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States….

The firm, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Photos from this Halloween party are posted on The New York Times website.  To say that they are appalling would be a huge understatement.  The following is how The New York Times described one of the photos….

In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.

#2 To many on Wall Street, the OWS protests are one big joke.  In fact, Wall Street executives have been spotted sipping champagne while watching the Occupy Wall Street protests from their balconies.

#3 In response to the Occupy Chicago protests, signs were put up in the windows of the building where the Chicago Board of Trade is located that spelled out this sentence: “We Are The 1%“.

#4 Many columnists for major financial publications have had no fear of mocking the Occupy Wall Street protesters.  For example, Doug Hirschhorn recently wrote the following for Forbes….

As your Occupation of Wall Street continues, you may want to grasp a few things. First, it is not going to change anything in the short term and probably not much in the long-term either.

I hate to be the bearer of that news, but money makes the world go round and “Wall Street” is all about money. Second, the top traders, banks and hedge funds are still going to out earn and generate substantial profits from speculating on the disconnects in the prices of things generated from all the moving parts in the global economy and it has nothing to do with why you lost your house or job or can’t find a job. If anything the successful ones are helping you, your pensions funds, retirement savings and the economy in general. If Wall Street stops. The world stops. Period.

#5 Instead of attempting a balanced report on the Occupy Wall Street protests, Erin Burnett of CNN openly made fun of them during a recent broadcast.  After being a stalwart on CNBC for so many years, Burnett has very close ties to Wall Street and apparently she does not like anyone criticizing her friends.  You can see video of Burnett mocking the Occupy Wall Street movement right here.

#6 Barack Obama continues to mock the poor by telling them to cut back on vacations and little luxuries like going out to eat while at the same time sending his own family out on incredibly expensive vacations.  The following is one example I noted in an article earlier this year….

Barack Obama recently made the following statement to American families that are struggling to survive in this economy: “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, or you might put off a vacation.” A few days after making that statement Obama sent his wife and children off on yet another vacation, this time to a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado.

Later on in that same article I mentioned another outrageously expensive vacation taken by the Obamas that was paid for by our taxes….

Back in August, Michelle Obama took her daughter Sasha and 40 of her friends for a vacation in Spain.

So what was the bill to the taxpayers for that little jaunt across the pond?

It is estimated that vacation alone cost U.S. taxpayers $375,000.

During a time when so many millions of American families are deeply, deeply suffering it is truly appalling that the residents of the White House would be so insensitive.

#7 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain recently declared that anyone that is unemployed or poor in America should only blame themselves….

“Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”

#8 Sometimes our politicians are so insensitive that it is almost hard to believe.  In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News while she was still the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi stated that we need poor people to have less children because it costs the government so much money to take care of them….

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.

#9 Warren Buffett has some interesting observations on class warfare.  He is one of the few wealthy Americans that is willing to say what everyone else is thinking.  Back in 2006, Buffett was quoted as saying the following in an article in The New York Times….

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Buffett was not taking pride in the fact that the elite have won, but there are many others among the elite that are very proud of what they have done and they are not afraid to look down on the poor.

The level of income inequality that we have in the United States today is absolutely amazing.  According to data from a few years ago, the average household income for the top 0.01% of all Americans was $27,342,212.  According to that same data, for the bottom 90% of all Americans the average household income was just $31,244.

#10 Every single day, our “representatives” in Washington D.C. are living the high life at our expense.  It is amazing that out of the entire population of the United States, we continue to overwhelming elect rich people to Congress.  As I noted in a recent article, more than half of all the members of Congress are millionaires, and the median wealth of a U.S. Senator in 2009 was 2.38 million dollars.

Without a doubt, the wealthy rule over us all and they intend to maintain control and perpetuate the system which has rewarded them so handsomely.

When necessary, they are not afraid to call in the police to bust some skulls.  Sadly, we are already seeing some brutally violent confrontations between law enforcement authorities and Occupy Wall Street protesters in many areas of the country.  The other day, I wrote about the horrific violence that took place in Oakland recently….

Unfortunately, the authorities are not just going to sit by and watch these protests happen.  In fact, they are already clamping down hard in many areas of the nation.  For example, police in Oakland recently used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the Occupy protest in that city.  When police opened fire, the streets of Oakland literally became a war zone for a few minutes.  You can see shocking videos of the violence here, here and here.

Power and wealth have become incredibly concentrated in the United States today.  As one scientific study demonstrated recently, the elite control almost the entire global economy.  In fact, the University of Zurich study discovered that there are just 147 gigantic corporations at the core of it all.

It is not a good thing that such a very small group of people completely dominates all the rest of us.

Once again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard, making great contributions to society and becoming very wealthy.

However, what we have today is a fundamentally broken system that funnels most of the wealth and most of the power into the hands of the ultra-wealthy and the gigantic corporations that they own.

It would be great if the American people could come together and work to make some positive changes to our system.

But right now, it appears that strife, discord and hatred are going to continue to rapidly grow in this country.  We have become a very divided nation and we are watching anger and frustration grow to very dangerous levels.

All of this is a recipe for mass chaos.  Our country is marching toward a date with disaster and right now we show no signs of changing course.

Please pray for America.

We definitely need it.

The Coming Derivatives Crisis That Could Destroy The Entire Global Financial System

Most people have no idea that Wall Street has become a gigantic financial casino.  The big Wall Street banks are making tens of billions of dollars a year in the derivatives market, and nobody in the financial community wants the party to end.  The word “derivatives” sounds complicated and technical, but understanding them is really not that hard.  A derivative is essentially a fancy way of saying that a bet has been made.  Originally, these bets were designed to hedge risk, but today the derivatives market has mushroomed into a mountain of speculation unlike anything the world has ever seen before.  Estimates of the notional value of the worldwide derivatives market go from $600 trillion all the way up to $1.5 quadrillion.  Keep in mind that the GDP of the entire world is only somewhere in the neighborhood of $65 trillion.  The danger to the global financial system posed by derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet once called them “financial weapons of mass destruction”.  For now, the financial powers that be are trying to keep the casino rolling, but it is inevitable that at some point this entire mess is going to come crashing down.  When it does, we are going to be facing a derivatives crisis that really could destroy the entire global financial system.

Most people don’t talk much about derivatives because they simply do not understand them.

Perhaps a couple of definitions would be helpful.

The following is how a recent Bloomberg article defined derivatives….

Derivatives are financial instruments used to hedge risks or for speculation. They’re derived from stocks, bonds, loans, currencies and commodities, or linked to specific events such as changes in the weather or interest rates.

The key word there is “speculation”.  Today the folks down on Wall Street are speculating on just about anything that you can imagine.

The following is how Investopedia defines derivatives….

A security whose price is dependent upon or derived from one or more underlying assets. The derivative itself is merely a contract between two or more parties. Its value is determined by fluctuations in the underlying asset. The most common underlying assets include stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, interest rates and market indexes. Most derivatives are characterized by high leverage.

A derivative has no underlying value of its own.  A derivative is essentially a side bet.  Usually these side bets are highly leveraged.

At this point, making side bets has totally gotten out of control in the financial world.  Side bets are being made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks are making a ton of money from it.  This system is almost entirely unregulated and it is totally dominated by the big international banks.

Over the past couple of decades, the derivatives market has multiplied in size.  Everything is going to be fine as long as the system stays in balance.  But once it gets out of balance we could witness a string of financial crashes that no government on earth will be able to fix.

The amount of money that we are talking about is absolutely staggering.  Graham Summers of Phoenix Capital Research estimates that the notional value of the global derivatives market is $1.4 quadrillion, and in an article for Seeking Alpha he tried to put that number into perspective….

If you add up the value of every stock on the planet, the entire market capitalization would be about $36 trillion. If you do the same process for bonds, you’d get a market capitalization of roughly $72 trillion.

The notional value of the derivative market is roughly $1.4 QUADRILLION.

I realize that number sounds like something out of Looney tunes, so I’ll try to put it into perspective.

$1.4 Quadrillion is roughly:

-40 TIMES THE WORLD’S STOCK MARKET.

-10 TIMES the value of EVERY STOCK & EVERY BOND ON THE PLANET.

-23 TIMES WORLD GDP.

It is hard to fathom how much money a quadrillion is.

If you started counting right now at one dollar per second, it would take 32 million years to count to one quadrillion dollars.

Yes, the boys and girls down on Wall Street have gotten completely and totally out of control.

In an excellent article that he did on derivatives, Webster Tarpley described the pivotal role that derivatives now play in the global financial system….

Far from being some arcane or marginal activity, financial derivatives have come to represent the principal business of the financier oligarchy in Wall Street, the City of London, Frankfurt, and other money centers. A concerted effort has been made by politicians and the news media to hide and camouflage the central role played by derivative speculation in the economic disasters of recent years. Journalists and public relations types have done everything possible to avoid even mentioning derivatives, coining phrases like “toxic assets,” “exotic instruments,” and – most notably – “troubled assets,” as in Troubled Assets Relief Program or TARP, aka the monstrous $800 billion bailout of Wall Street speculators which was enacted in October 2008 with the support of Bush, Henry Paulson, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the Obama Democrats.

Most people do not realize this, but derivatives were at the center of the financial crisis of 2008.

They will almost certainly be at the center of the next financial crisis as well.

For many, alarm bells went off the other day when it was revealed that Bank of America has moved a big chunk of derivatives from its failing Merrill Lynch investment banking unit to its depository arm.

So what does that mean?

An article posted on The Daily Bail the other day explained that it means that U.S. taxpayers could end up holding the bag….

This means that the investment bank’s European derivatives exposure is now backstopped by U.S. taxpayers. Bank of America didn’t get regulatory approval to do this, they just did it at the request of frightened counterparties. Now the Fed and the FDIC are fighting as to whether this was sound. The Fed wants to “give relief” to the bank holding company, which is under heavy pressure.

This is a direct transfer of risk to the taxpayer done by the bank without approval by regulators and without public input.

So did you hear about this on the news?

Probably not.

Today, the notional value of all the derivatives held by Bank of America comes to approximately $75 trillion.

JPMorgan Chase is holding derivatives with a notional value of about $79 trillion.

It is hard to even conceive of such figures.

Right now, the banks with the most exposure to derivatives are JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and HSBC Bank USA.

Morgan Stanley also has tremendous exposure to derivatives.

You may have noticed that these are some of the “too big to fail” banks.

The biggest U.S. banks continue to grow and they continue to get even more power.

Back in 2002, the top 10 U.S. banks controlled 55 percent of all U.S. banking assets.  Today, the top 10 U.S. banks control 77 percent of all U.S. banking assets.

These banks have gotten so big and so powerful that if they collapsed our entire financial system would implode.

You would have thought that we would have learned our lesson back in 2008 and would have done something about this, but instead we have allowed the “too big to bail” banks to become bigger than ever.

And they pretty much do whatever they want.

A while back, the New York Times published an article entitled “A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives“.  That article exposed the steel-fisted control that the “too big to fail” banks exert over the trading of derivatives.  Just consider the following excerpt from the article….

On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan.

The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.

So what institutions are represented at these meetings?

Well, according to the New York Times, the following banks are involved: JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup.

Why do those same five names seem to keep popping up time after time?

Sadly, these five banks keep pouring money into the campaigns of politicians that supported the bailouts in 2008 and that they know will bail them out again when the next financial crisis strikes.

Those that defend the wild derivatives trading that is going on today claim that Wall Street has accounted for all of the risks and they assume that the issuing banks will always be able to cover all of the derivative contracts that they write.

But that is a faulty assumption.  Just look at AIG back in 2008.  When the housing market collapsed AIG was on the wrong end of a massive number of derivative contracts and it would have gone “bust” without gigantic bailouts from the federal government.  If the bailouts of AIG had not happened, Goldman Sachs and a whole lot of other people would have been left standing there with a whole bunch of worthless paper.

It is inevitable that the same thing is going to happen again.  Except next time it may be on a much grander scale.

When “the house” goes “bust”, everybody loses.  The governments of the world could step in and try to bail everyone out, but the reality is that when the derivatives market comes totally crashing down there won’t be any government on earth with enough money to put it back together again.

A horrible derivatives crisis is coming.

It is only a matter of time.

Stay alert for any mention of the word “derivatives” or the term “derivatives crisis” in the news.  When the derivatives crisis arrives, things will start falling apart very rapidly.

 

Uh Oh: 90 Percent Of Americans Rate Economic Conditions In The U.S. As “Poor”

Uh oh – are we rapidly reaching another major economic tipping point?  According to a new CNN/ORC International Poll, 90 percent of the American people believe that economic conditions in the United States are “poor”.  This represents a significant increase from when the same question was asked in June.  Back then, 81 percent of the American people considered economic conditions to be “poor”.  To put this in perspective, only 11 percent of Americans rated economic conditions in the U.S. as “poor” back in January of 1999.  The Federal Reserve and the Obama administration keep telling us that we are in the middle of an “economic recovery”, but obviously what average Americans are experiencing on the street is a different story.  Millions of families have been absolutely devastated by mass layoffs, heartless foreclosures or bad debts.  All of the recent polls show that satisfaction with government is at an all-time low and anger at Wall Street and the financial community is rising to dangerous levels.  In the United States today, the economy is the most important issue for most Americans.  When you have 9 out of 10 Americans rating economic conditions as “poor”, that is a very troubling sign.

Many wealthy Americans consider it to be very painful when their investment portfolios go down by a few percentage points, but that is not the kind of economic pain that we are talking about.

The truth is that the vast majority of Americans in the bottom half of society do not even have investment portfolios.

What we are talking about is real economic pain.

As I have written about previously, the average American family is barely making it right now.  Tonight, a whole lot of American families will gather around their kitchen tables and will have some very nervous conversations about things such as making the next mortgage payment or how to pay the heating bill this upcoming winter.

Have you ever been at a point where you work as hard as you can and yet it is still not good enough to provide for your family?

If you have never been completely broke and at the end of your rope financially, then you should not judge the people who are going through it right now.

There are very real reasons why so many Americans are so incredibly depressed about the economy at the moment.

One recent poll found that 80 percent of the American people believe that we are actually in a recession right now.

Things have gotten so bad that Hallmark recently unveiled a 6 card line of “job loss” greeting cards.

Yes, that really is true.

Every month, tens of thousands of American families are still losing their homes to foreclosure, and we are on pace for record low new home sales once again in 2011.

Many families have gotten in debt up to their eyeballs in an effort to stay afloat.  According to a new study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.

In case you are wondering, that is not good.

Our founders intended for us to live in a capitalist system that allows all Americans to have an opportunity to better themselves, but instead what we have developed is a system where the vast majority of the money and the vast majority of the economic power are in the hands of the biggest banks and the biggest corporations.

If you work for the system and you are near the top of the pyramid, life is good.

For nearly everyone else, life is a struggle.

Back in 1980, the top 1% of all income earners in America brought in about 10% of all income.  Today, the top 1% of all income earners bring in about 20% of all income.

If the ranks of the top income earners were populated by a huge number of entrepreneurs and small business owners, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

But instead, the reality is that most of the very wealthy either work in the financial community or they work for the biggest corporations.

True capitalism is supposed to create a very healthy environment for small businesses.

Instead, our current system suffocates them out of existence.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006.  Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

Our entire system is now tremendously slanted in favor of “the big guy” and against “the little guy”.

Millions of Americans are starting to get sick and tired of all of the economic injustice and the vast corruption that is endemic in our financial system.

As the economy has continued to decline, the anger and the frustration of average of Americans has reached a boiling point.

This is a big reason why we have seen the rise of new political movements in recent years.

First, we saw the Tea Party arise to challenge the establishment in the Republican Party.  But sadly there are already signs that the establishment has taken over the Tea Party to a large extent.

Now, we are seeing the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Large numbers of frustrated Americans are flocking to these protests because they want an outlet for expressing the anger and frustration that they are feeling.  Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of evidence that the Occupy Wall Street movement was started and is being greatly aided by the liberal political establishment in this country.

What the American people need to do is to wake up and break out of the stale two party system.

Unfortunately, the American people have become so “dumbed down” that large chunks of them are absolutely clueless about what is really going on in this country.

For example, according to the new CNN/ORC International Poll mentioned above, 27 percent of Americans have never heard of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and 15 percent of Americans have no opinion about him at all.

Do you understand what that means?

It means that only 58 percent of Americans know enough about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to have an opinion about him.

According to the survey, the way that the 58 percent breaks down is that 28 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Bernanke and 30 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of him.

That is so sad.

Ben Bernanke has more power over our economic problems than anyone else in the country, and yet only 30 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of him.

Nearly as many Americans say that they have never heard of him as say that they do not view him favorably.

How pathetic is that?

That is one of the reasons why I write about the Federal Reserve so much.

We need to get the American people educated.

If the American people get educated, they will feel empowered.

Where there is a lack of knowledge, the people perish.

The other day, a 51-year-old father of three daughters up in Minnesota that had just lost his job locked himself in his car and shot himself in the head in front of some of his former co-workers.

I don’t want to see anymore of that.

We need to give the American people some hope.  We need to explain to them exactly why this economic crisis is happening and what can be done to turn things around.

We also need to reach out to people that are in pain and love them and let them know that there is always hope.

All of us know people out there that are really hurting right now.  Please don’t forget about them.  Please don’t let them quietly slip into depression.  Please don’t let them become the next victims of this economy.

There is always hope.  A reader of this column named “JD” went through all kinds of hell in recent years.  He lost his job, he lost his lady, he stayed in run down motels, he got meals wherever he could and he even slept in his car for a time.  But today he has a new job and his outlook on life is brighter than it has been in ages.

In 1941, Winston Churchill gave a speech during which he uttered the following words: “never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Things may not look good for you right now, but you must never give in.

No matter how bad things are, they can always be turned around.

Yes, the U.S. economy is going to continue to decline if we stay on our current path, but none of us must ever use that as an excuse to give up.

There is always hope.  You just have to keep on fighting.

Even Goldman Sachs Secretly Believes That An Economic Collapse Is Coming

Goldman Sachs is doing it again.  Goldman is telling the public that everything is going to be just fine, but meanwhile they are advising their top clients to bet on a huge financial collapse.  On August 16th, a 54 page report authored by Goldman strategist Alan Brazil was distributed to institutional clients.  The general public was not intended to see this report.  Fortunately, some folks over at the Wall Street Journal got their hands on a copy and they have filled us in on some of the details.  It turns out that Goldman Sachs secretly believes that an economic collapse is coming, and they have some very interesting ideas about how to make money in the turbulent financial environment that we will soon be entering.  In the report, Brazil says that the U.S. debt problem cannot be solved with more debt, that the European sovereign debt crisis is going to get even worse and that there are large numbers of financial institutions in Europe that are on the verge of collapse.  If this is what people at the highest levels of the financial world are talking about, perhaps we should all start paying attention.

There is a tremendous amount of fear in the global financial community right now.  As I wrote about the other day, the financial world is about to hit the panic button.  Things could start falling apart at any time.  Most of these big banks will not admit how bad things are publicly, but privately there is a whole lot of freaking out going on.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Brazil believes that “as much as $1 trillion in capital may be needed to shore up European banks; that small businesses in the U.S., a past driver of job production, are still languishing; and that China’s growth may not be sustainable.”

Perhaps most startling of all is what the report has to say about the debt problems of the United States and Europe.

For example, this following excerpt from the report sounds like it could have come straight from The Economic Collapse Blog….

“Solving a debt problem with more debt has not solved the underlying problem. In the US, Treasury debt growth financed the US consumer but has not had enough of an impact on job growth. Can the US continue to depreciate the world’s base currency?”

Remember, this statement was not written by some guy on the Internet.  A top Goldman Sachs analyst put it into a report for institutional investors.

The report also goes into great detail about the financial crisis in Europe.  Brazil writes about how the euro is headed for trouble and about how dozens of financial institutions in Europe could potentially be in danger of collapse.

But in any environment Goldman Sachs thinks that it can make money.  The following is how Business Insider summarized the advice that Brazil gave in the report regarding how to make money off of the impending collapse in Europe….

  • Buy a six-month put option on the Euro versus the Swiss Franc, thus betting the Euro will drop against the Franc (the Franc being the currency that an official Goldman report recently referred to as the most overvalued in the world)
  • Buy a five-year credit default swap on an index of European corporate debt—the iTraxx 9. This is a bet that some of these companies will default, and your insurance policy, the CDS, will pay off

This is so typical of Goldman Sachs.  They will say one thing publicly and then turn around and do the total opposite privately.

For example, prior to the financial crisis of 2008, Goldman Sachs was putting together mortgage-backed securities that they knew were garbage and marketing them to investors as AAA-rated investments.  On top of that, Goldman then often privately bet against those exact same securities.

The CEO of Goldman Sachs has even acknowledged that the investment bank engaged in “improper” behavior during 2006 and 2007.

For much more on the history of all this, please see this article: “How Goldman Sachs Made Tens Of Billions Of Dollars From The Economic Collapse Of America In Four Easy Steps“.

So will Goldman Sachs ever get into serious trouble for any of this?

No, of course not.

Yeah, they will get a slap on the wrist from time to time, but the reality is that the top levels of the federal government are absolutely littered with ex-employees of Goldman Sachs.  Goldman is one of the “too big to fail” banks and they are going to continue to do pretty much whatever they feel like doing.

Sadly, the power of the “too big to fail” banks just continues to grow.  At this point, the “big six” U.S. banks (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo) now possess assets equivalent to approximately 60 percent of America’s gross national product.

Goldman Sachs was the second biggest donor to Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008, so don’t expect Obama to do anything about any of this.

We have a financial system that is deeply, deeply corrupt and all of that corruption is a big reason why things are falling apart.

Sadly, the 54 page report mentioned above is right – we really are facing a global debt meltdown and we really are heading for an economic collapse.

You aren’t going to hear the truth from the mainstream media or from our politicians because “keeping people calm” is much more of a priority to them than telling the truth is.

The debt crisis in the United States is unsustainable and the debt crisis in Europe is unsustainable.  Right now we are in the calm before the storm, and nobody knows exactly when the storm is going to strike.

But let there be no doubt – it is coming.

The amazing prosperity that we have enjoyed for the last several decades has largely been a debt-fueled illusion.  It was a great party while it lasted, but now it is coming to an end and the aftermath of the coming crash is going to be absolutely horrific.

Keep watch and get prepared.  We don’t know exactly when the collapse is going to happen, but it is definitely on the way and now even Goldman Sachs is admitting that.

Layoffs, Layoffs Everywhere You Look There Are Layoffs

The competition for jobs in the United States is absolutely brutal right now, and it is about to get worse.  A new wave of layoffs is sweeping across America.  During tough economic times, Wall Street favors companies that are able to cut costs, and the fastest way to “cut costs” is to eliminate employees.  After a period of relative stability, the employment picture in the U.S. is starting to get bleaker again.  New applications for unemployment benefits have now been above 400,000 for 15 straight weeks.  Finding a good job is kind of like winning the lottery in this economy. Our federal government and the state governments have made it incredibly complicated and extremely expensive to have employees on the payroll.  It is getting harder and harder to get a large enough return to justify the time and expense that hiring employees requires.  So many firms now find themselves trying to do more with the employees that they already have.  Other companies are turning to temp agencies as a way to reduce costs and increase workplace flexibility.  A lot of the big corporations are sending as much work as they can overseas where the wages are far lower and where the regulatory environment is much simpler.  All of this is really bad news for American workers that just want good jobs that will enable them to provide for their families.

When we first started seeing huge numbers of layoffs a few years ago, I encouraged people to look into government jobs because I thought that they would be a lot more stable in this economic environment.

But today that is no longer true.  In fact, state and local governments all over the United States are responding to massive budget problems by slashing payrolls in an unprecedented fashion.

Sadly, the reality is that the number of “secure jobs” is rapidly declining in America.  If you have a “job” (“just over broke”) right now, you might not have it for long.  That is one reason why everyone should be trying to become more independent of the system.

Once upon a time the U.S. economy produced a seemingly endless supply of good jobs.  This helped us develop the largest and most vibrant middle class in modern world history.

But now employees are regarded as “costly liabilities”, and businesses and governments alike are trying to reduce those “liabilities” as much as they can.

This summer the pace of layoffs seems to be accelerating all over the nation.  Just check out what has been happening over the past few weeks….

-Lockheed Martin has made “voluntary layoff offers” to 6,500 employees.

-Detroit is losing even more jobs. American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings has told the remaining 300 workers at its manufacturing facility in Detroit that their jobs will be ending in early 2012.

-Layoff notices have been sent to 519 employees of Milwaukee Public Schools, and more than 400 open positions are going to go unfilled.

-The Gap has announced that up to 200 stores will be closed over the next two years.

-Cisco has announced plans to lay off 9 percent of their total workforce.

-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says that 625 city employees will be losing their jobs as a result of cutbacks.

-Pharmaceutical giant Merck recently dumped 51 workers from an office in Raleigh, North Carolina.

-Perkins has revealed that they will be closing 58 restaurants.

-This week, Goldman Sachs announced that they will be eliminating 1,000 jobs.

-Cracker Barrel is rapidly reducing staff at its headquarters.

-Telecommunications and web marketing firm Crexendo has announced that it will be laying off about 30 percent of its workforce.

-Borders has announced that they will be shutting down their remaining 399 stores and that 10,700 employees will lose their jobs.

-Now that the space shuttle program has ended, thousands of NASA employees will be losing their jobs.

Sadly, there are hundreds of more examples of recent layoffs and job losses.  One website that tracks these layoffs daily is Daily Job Cuts.  It is pretty sad when there are entire websites that are devoted to chronicling how fast our economy is bleeding jobs.

What is worse is that it looks like the pace of layoffs is going to keep increasing.

One report that was recently released found that the number of job cuts being planned by U.S. employers increased by 11.6% in June.

That is not good news.

Things don’t look good for employees of state and local governments either.

State and local governments have eliminated approximately 142,000 jobs so far this year.

That is bad, but this is just the beginning.

UBS Investment Research is projecting that state and local governments in the U.S. will combine to slash a whopping 450,000 jobs by the end of next year.

Ouch.

Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke keep trying to tell us that the economy is improving, but that simply is not the case.  Yes, some of the largest corporations have announced big earnings, but that is not translating into lots of jobs for American workers.

Today, most large corporations only want to have as many U.S. workers as absolutely necessary.  In a world where labor has been globalized, it just doesn’t make sense for corporations to shell out massive amounts of money to American workers when they can legally get away with paying slave labor wages to workers on the other side of the globe.

So if it seems like it is far harder to get a good job in America today than it used to be, the truth is that you are not imagining things.

Our entire system discourages job creation inside the United States.  Every single year, even more ridiculous job-killing regulations are being passed on the federal and state levels.  It has become extremely expensive and ridiculously complicated to hire people.

So how are American families surviving?  Those that still do have jobs are finding that wages are not going up but the cost of living rapidly is.  Many American families are making up the difference by using their credit cards more.

In June, credit card purchases in the U.S. increased by 10.7 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

It looks like a whole lot of people have not learned their lessons about how bad credit card debt is.

Millions of other American families have fallen out of the middle class completely.  Today, one out of every six Americans is enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program.  The level of economic suffering in this country continues to soar.

In fact, the number of Americans that are now sleeping in their cars or living in tent cities remains at staggering levels.

What we are witnessing in this country is not just a “recession” or an “economic downturn”.  What we are witnessing are fundamental economic changes.

Until there are fundamental policy changes in the United States, there will continue to be huge waves of layoffs and millions of jobs will continue to be shipped out of the country.

In the old days, one could go to college, get a good job with one company for 30 years and retire with a big, fat pension.

Now, that way of doing things is completely and totally dead.

Today, there is virtually no loyalty out there.  It doesn’t matter how long you have been working at a particular job.  When it becomes financially expedient to get rid of you, that is exactly what is going to happen.

It is a cold, cruel world out there right now.  Don’t assume that you will always have a good job.  The world is rapidly changing.

Don’t get caught in the trap of believing that the way that things were is the way that things are always going to be in the future.

As The Obamas And The Ultra-Wealthy Live The High Life Most Americans Are Going Through Economic Hell

Barack Obama recently made the following statement to American families that are struggling to survive in this economy: “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, or you might put off a vacation.” A few days after making that statement Obama sent his wife and children off on yet another vacation, this time to a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado.  But the Obamas are not the only ones enjoying the high life.  Wealthy corporate executives and greedy Wall Street fatcats insist that profit margins are too tight to hire more American workers, and yet sales of luxury cars, private jets and vacation homes are soaring.  Meanwhile, most American families are going through economic hell right now.  In 2010, more Americans than ever before were living below the poverty line.  Over 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than a year, and over 5 million Americans are at least two months behind on their mortgage payments.  As the Obamas and wealthy corporate executives jet off to fancy ski resorts, half of all American workers are earning $505 or less per week and 55 percent of American families are living paycheck to paycheck.  Something is very wrong with this picture.

So is there anything wrong with working hard and enjoying the fruits of success?  Of course not, as long as it was done honestly and not on the backs of the American taxpayers.  But the truth is that many of the corporate executives that are enjoying luxury vacations right now would not even have companies to run if the American taxpayers had not stepped in and bailed them out during the financial crisis.  Thanks to the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, Wall Street bankers and top corporate executives are once again enjoying bonuses that most of us would consider obscene.

Meanwhile, most of the rest of the country is suffering very deeply.

Over the past several decades, the biggest financial institutions and the biggest corporations have worked really hard to “fix” the rules of the game in their favor.  The truth is that our economy is no longer a “free market” capitalist system.  Rather, what we have now is more accurately described as “corporatism” or “neo-feudalism”.  The big corporations dominate almost everything, and whatever they don’t dominate the government does.

One of the key features of a “corporatist” system is that it tends to funnel all the wealth to the very top.

Back in 1976, the top 1 percent of earners in the United States took in 8.9 percent of all income.  By 2007, that number had risen to 23.5 percent.

Ouch.

There are two different Americas today.  There is the America of the gated communities, the private planes and the good life, and there is the America of declining wages, thrift stores and rising desperation.

What is saddest of all is that the most vulnerable people in society often suffer the most from all of this.

According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.

Do you think that the Obamas are thinking about any of this while they are enjoying their stay at a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado?

The truth is that leadership is not just about words.  Leadership is about setting an example.

Back in August, Michelle Obama took her daughter Sasha and 40 of her friends for a vacation in Spain.

So what was the bill to the taxpayers for that little jaunt across the pond?

It is estimated that vacation alone cost U.S. taxpayers $375,000.

Hey, Barack Obama won the most votes in 2008 and so if he wants his family to get as much enjoyment out of these four years as they can that is his prerogative.

However, if he wants to tell American families that they “might put off a vacation” after all the vacations that the Obamas have taken over the past two years then he is just being a massive hypocrite.

According to the New York Post, Barack Obama enjoyed a total of 10 separate vacations that stretched over a total of 90 vacation days during the years of 2009 and 2010.

During his first two years in office, he also managed to play 29 rounds of golf.

Oh, but it is the rest of us that have to cut back on our vacations.

But it is not just the Obamas that are enjoying the high life right now.

The wealthy have recovered nicely from the “recession” and now they are spending money by the gobs once again.

According to Moody’s Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of households in the United States account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.

Life is very good in America if you have got enough money.

A recent article in USA Today detailed some of the things that wealthy corporate executives are spending money on in 2011….

Luxury and high-end marketers have picked up on what they hope is a growing trend, offering products that bank on a looming spending spree. Germany’s PG-Bikes is rolling out the $80,000 Black Trail, a battery-powered bicycle. Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille is selling $525,000 timepieces. Steinway has launched a John Lennon-themed grand piano — at $90,000 and up. After selling out a $245,000 model, automaker Porsche is planning the 918 Spyder, a hybrid car that could sell for more than $630,000.

Nearly all luxury brands experienced a resurgence in 2010.  Just check out some of the sales increases for luxury car brands….

Porsche: 29%

Cadillac 36%

Rolls-Royce 171%

At the exact same time, however, life is getting really, really hard for the rest of America.

As I wrote about yesterday, the U.S. middle class continues to be decimated even in the midst of this “economic recovery”.

There are tens of millions of Americans that would like to have a full-time job that are not able to get a full-time job.  The number of Americans on food stamps has gone from about 26 million at the start of 2007 to 43 million today and it continues to set a brand new record every single month.  One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.

Our economy has become a complete and total nightmare.

Over the past couple of days some of the readers of this column have been sharing some of their economic horror stories.  But they are far from alone.  There are literally millions of Americans with economic horror stories out there.  It is just that we don’t get to hear too many stories from the “other America” on our televisions.

The following stories of economic pain are from people just like you and me.  Times are incredibly hard for most of America right now, and they are only getting harder with each passing month….

Colin:

My mother is unemployed. She is 61 years old, has 25 years of experience working for a major telecommunications corporation, and has a four-year degree. I watch her send application after application to employers with no response. I watch her get contacted by recruiters who say she is a ‘perfect fit’ for a job and never deliver. I watch her slide into depression and staying in bed many hours of the day.

I am 38 years old, I have mental illness, and I recently lost my job as a delivery driver because the owner sold his business to a competitor.

I don’t believe that either my mother or I will ever be employed again. I am beginning to feel that I am permanently in the world of the unemployed.

Jeff:

I graduated college in May 2000 with a Bachelors degree in Broadcasting/Minored in History. I have worked for major corporations as an Enterprise Sales Consultant selling Servers. I was a Network Engineer for Qwest Communications. I even worked for the Federal Government and held a Security Clearance for 4 years. I also won Dell Small Business Sales Consultant of the quarter as well. But since I don’t have an active clearance anymore no one wants to hire me in D.C. I lost my job in 07/2010 and from 07/2010-Present I have been unemployed. My food stamps were also recently cut off last month since the State of Virginia decided that for a household of 1 you can’t make more than $1178 a month. I make $1250 a month in Unemployment compensation before taxes so according to the Government I am too rich to receive Food stamps now. My Rent, Gas and Car insurance is $1000 a month and I am holding on for dear life. I am currently in the process of declaring Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and using my tax return to pay the attorney $1500 to file. That leaves me with only #250 a month for food, water and cell phone.

I have a list compiled in my Google email with approximately 784 applications I have filled out for every government agency, defense contractor and job available in the Washington, DC area. I even applied to Carmax and my old job in college waiting tables at red Lobster and the moving company I used to work at during the summers in college. If its bad for someone like me with over 10 years of Sales, Server/computer experience, Investigations and Network Engineering than I can’t imagine how bad it is for people that just have a high school diploma. I have been on one interview out of the almost 1000 jobs I have applied to (It takes about 2 hours to apply to one job). The one interview I went on offered me less than my unemployment gives me at $8 an hour. I can sit at home and make more money on unemployment than 80% of the jobs that I have applied too and even those jobs don’t call me. Is this what America has become? Is this what I sacrificed 5 years of my life in college from 17 years old to 21 years old and spent $40,000 to get a worthless degree that won’t even get you hired?

Todd:

Well, My family has been ripped to shreds alright.

Overall combined (My father, and myself) make about 60k a year. We can barely survive we keep looking to cut things, and make things cheaper but it’s just not working fast enough.

My wife can’t find a job, and now student loans are starting to become issues. (won’t go in to further details).

Tax returns taken, and various other things, Can’t even afford dental care. We don’t even get to go out anymore, and lucky to get any type of snacks. Just so you know there are 5 people living in this house.

Sharonsj:

The only reason I am not out on the street is that when I had money I paid off my mortgage.

However, because I did that, my food stamp allotment is only $25 a month. The heating assistance I get only paid for less than one months’ heat out of the six months I need here in Pennsylvania. All other expenses use up what’s left, so you learn to eat at home; I try not to leave the house because it’s going to cost me money.

I blame Congress for destroying America. They have given tax breaks to themselves and their rich friends at our expense. Did you know that anybody who serves 5 years in Congress gets a FULL pension at age 62? Us peasants work for 45 years and then if we retire at age 62 we are forced to give up 25% of what we earned.

Niles:

I lost my house, my family was split, and all my savings is gone.

I have lost hope. I served in the military, went to college and have high tech skills. My country doesn’t give a ***** about me. The bankers are as evil as the communists and I hate them.

Michael:

I’m also 38, and have worked in IT since the mid 90s. I lost my full time job in April ’03, and have only been able to find short term temporary work since. The contracts started to get shorter and fewer as the years went on, so in spring ’10 I retrained to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) but have not been able to find work in the last 9 months. An ambulance company I applied with said that they have hundreds of applications in several Northern CA counties but no job openings. And health care jobs are supposed to be on the the only areas of growth. I deliver pizzas for cash on and off and am getting unemployment.

Mondobeyondo:

I lost track of how many resumes I’ve sent out during the past several months. My neighbors think I’m trying to win the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes or something (yeah, that would help too! Ha!)

Maybe I should go back to school and become an RLP (Rejection Letter Professional).

Dorothy:

The rent at the place I lived was so high that I couldn’t afford it on a school bus driver’s salary, which I was doing for the past few years, because in spite of 30 years clerical experience, where I performed every function from clerk typist to executive legal secretary, I could not find employment. So I applied for subsidized housing and was forced to move back to Chicago, where the crime rate is very high in certain areas.

Before I moved I was getting $200 in food stamps, but now that I am in subsidized housing, I have to go and reapply and if I get anything at all, I have heard that it will be about $52 a month! Although the rent is subsidized, I have to pay for my own heat, and the building in which I live is completely electric! Energy assistance doesn’t cover it. They give with one hand and take away with the other.

All of the people above are still “surviving”, but what do you think is going to happen to many of them as the cost of living goes up dramatically?  Brent crude just hit $108 a barrel and the UN says that the global price of food recently hit a new all-time high.

Americans on fixed incomes or that are on government assistance are going to be absolutely devastated if prices for basics such as food and gas rise substantially.

Not only that, but budget cuts on the federal, state and local levels are also going to hurt many of these people deeply.

But this is where we are at as a nation.  A small privileged class is enjoying the high life while a rapidly growing poverty class pleads for the government to toss them some more crumbs.

The American people deserve better than this.  They deserve an economy that will provide them with good jobs which will enable them to pay their mortgages and feed their families.

Unfortunately, the U.S. economy is dying.  The number of good jobs is actually declining.  The middle class is being systematically wiped out.

The answer is not to “tax the rich” so that we can toss the rapidly growing poverty class a few more crumbs.  The answer is to radically transform our economy back into the kind of economy our founding fathers originally intended.

But wealthy corporate executives and politicians such as Barack Obama are not going to have any of that.  Those sitting on top don’t want any real change to happen.  Sadly, the general population has become so dumbed-down that they don’t even know the questions that they should be asking.

So unfortunately it appears we are going to keep heading down the exact same economic path that we have been heading for decades.  The middle class will keep being ripped apart and politicians like George W. Bush and Barack Obama will just keep on smiling.

The Big Wall Street Banks Have Found A New Way To Strangle The American People: Predatory Property Tax Collection

It turns out that the big Wall Street banks have found a dirty new way to make loads of cash from U.S. homeowners, and they really, really don’t want to talk about it.  So what is this dirty new business?  America’s biggest financial institutions have become property tax collectors, and it is extremely lucrative.  From coast to coast, the big Wall Street banks are buying up thousands upon thousands of tax liens and are making a killing by socking distressed homeowners with predatory interest, outrageous penalties and almost unbelievable legal fees.  In some areas, the big banks are able to foreclose on these homes in as little as six months.  The elderly and the poor are the most common targets of these practices.  An absolutely brilliant expose in the Huffington Post has brought these issues to light, and it is creating quite a controversy in the financial world.  The big banks are doing nothing illegal here.  Local governments are offering to sell thousands of tax liens and somebody is going to end up buying them.  But something seems extremely unsavory about the big Wall Street banks capitalizing on the economic downturn that they were so instrumental in causing in such a predatory manner. 

Today, millions of American families are barely hanging on to their homes by their fingernails.  Millions are out of work and millions of others are barely making enough to put food on the table.  Meanwhile, property taxes have absolutely soared in most areas of the nation over the past decade.  Many Americans are finding that when that time rolls around they simply do not have a big chunk of extra money to pay a property tax bill. 

So millions of American families, including many that have completely paid off their homes, now find themselves in danger of being thrown out on to the street over an unpaid property tax bill.

For many local governments, the headache of trying to collect on thousands of property tax liens is just too much, so they are glad to “outsource” the work of collection.

So how do the big Wall Street banks get involved?  Well, it goes something like this….

1) The big Wall Street banks set up or invest in shell companies that will disguise who they really are.

2) These shell companies run around and buy up all of the tax liens that they can get their hands on.

3) Predatory levels of interest (in some states as high as 18 percent), fees and penalties rapidly pile up on these unpaid tax liens.  The affected homeowners quickly end up owing much, much more than what the original tax bills were for.    

4) If the collecting firm has to hire a lawyer, then that gets charged to the homeowner as well.  The bloated legal fees for some of these lawyers can end up being the biggest expense of all.

5) If the tax liens do not get paid, the collecting firms move in to foreclose as quickly as legally possible.       

According to the Huffington Post, Wall Street banks such as Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have been gobbling up several hundred thousand tax liens from local governments.  It appears that “distressed housing markets” are being particularly targeted.

Many of these tax liens are sold in online auctions, so it is unclear if many local government officials even realize who the big money behind many of these shell companies is. 

Once again, this is all perfectly legal, but it is more than a little distasteful.

The following video by the Huffington Post does a good job of summarizing what they found….

The truth is that there is a huge difference between the letter of the law and true justice.

Just consider the following tragic story from the Huffington Post article….

Barbara Carpenter, a 58-year-old disabled Ohio retiree, found herself in such a situation. The former worker for the American Red Cross struggled to save her Toledo home from a JPMorgan entity called Plymouth Park Tax Services, which in recent years has been among the nation’s top buyers of tax liens.

“It’s a great neighborhood and the house is in good condition,”said Carpenter, who paid $67,000 for the one-story home in 2004. But she fell behind in paying her taxes and a certificate for $1,500 in unpaid taxes was sold off to Plymouth Park, which is based in New Jersey.

Carpenter’s lawyer, Joseph Westmeyer, said Plymouth Park routinely charges an upfront fee of around $1,500 as soon as it buys the lien and 18 percent interest on the debt. If they don’t get paid, they foreclose.

“It’s not a good deal for poor customers,” said Westmeyer. Carpenter wound up selling the house in August for less than half what she had paid. Plymouth Park received about $12,000 in legal fees and other charges, including some additional taxes, Westmeyer said, quoting from court records.

Does that sound like an honorable way of making money to you?

Would you like to make your living by throwing elderly women out of their homes and into the street over unpaid tax bills?

Unfortunately, this problem is not going to go away any time soon.  One out of every six Americans is enrolled in a government anti-poverty program.  Tens of millions of Americans are barely hanging in there.  In addition, tens of millions of elderly Americans live on fixed incomes.  Meanwhile, property taxes just continue to go up in many areas of the United States.

Unless the U.S. economy experiences a dramatic turnaround, we are going to continue to see large numbers of Americans get behind on their property taxes, and the big banks will continue to be there to scoop up the tax liens.

Large numbers of poor and elderly Americans that don’t even have a mortgage will lose their homes and it will all be perfectly legal.  Executives at the big banks will be having a good laugh about their huge bonus checks as thousands upon thousands of our most vulnerable citizens are dumped out into the street.

But weren’t the big banks largely responsible for causing the housing crash and the economic meltdown that followed? 

Yes.

But so far none of them is really paying any kind of a price.  The big banks got bailed out by the U.S. government, and now it looks like the Federal Reserve is preparing another round of “backdoor bailouts” to help them out again.

But do the big banks show any mercy on the poor and the elderly who have gotten behind on their property taxes?

Not at all.

This is 2010 – a time when greed dominates the financial world and when most banks don’t seem to know a thing about kindness or mercy.

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