If you are part of the Wall Street establishment, the economic recovery is moving along quite well. Many of the biggest firms on Wall Street just handed out record-setting bonuses, the Stock Market has been moving up steadily and the DOW is back up to around 11,000. Profits at the top banks have been quite impressive lately. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo combined for first quarter profits of $13.4 billion – the most in almost three years. Yes, life is quite good down on Wall Street these days. People are still buying fast cars, big yachts and homes in the Hamptons. It is almost as if “the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression” didn’t even happen. Things are quickly getting back to “normal” for the banking elite and to many it seems like there are a lot more smiles down on Wall Street than there have been in a long, long time. (Read More...)
Megabanks: The Banking Oligarchy That Controls Assets Equivalent To 60 Percent Of America’s GNP
Today financial power is being concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer individuals. In fact, the six biggest banks in the United States now possess assets equivalent to 60 percent of America’s gross national product. Back in the 1990s that figure was less than 20 percent. These six banks – Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo – literally dictate what goes on in the U.S. banking industry. These entities are the poster children for “too big to fail”, and they donate massive amounts of cash to the campaigns of both Republicans and Democrats to ensure that they will continue to receive favorable treatment. The vast majority of Americans have had a banking account, a credit card and/or a mortgage with one of these institutions at some point. If they acted in concert, these six banks could literally bring down the U.S. economy overnight if they wanted to. Together with the Federal Reserve, these six banks represent the real financial power in America. They are the 800 pound gorilla in the room that influences nearly every major financial deal that gets done and virtually every major political decision that gets made. As the last couple of years have demonstrated, top politicians from both parties (John McCain and Barack Obama for example) will instantly jump into action and start advocating that the U.S. government spend billions upon billions of dollars when the interests of these behemoths are threatened. The frightening thing is that the power of these megabanks is growing at a frightening pace. As dozens upon dozens of smaller U.S. banks are “allowed to fail”, they either go out of existence or the Feds actually encourage these smaller banks to sell themselves to one of the big sharks. In either event, the banking power in the United States becomes further consolidated in the hands of the megabanks. (Read More...)
Paupers In The Land Our Forefathers Conquered
A long time ago, in an America now far, far away, the majority of the American people owned the land that they live on. The term “my land” actually meant something back then. But today that has fundamentally changed. Now the majority of the American people owe on the land that they live on. In fact, most of them owe big money to the giant corporate banking interests that control the mortgage industry. So how did the American people come to be debtors and paupers in the land that our forefathers conquered? Today when someone says that they “bought a house” what they really mean is that they have signed up for 30 years (or more) of bloated mortgage payments which they care barely afford. As you will see below, the percentage of residential mortgage debt to total home equity (housing net worth) in the United States continues to rise at a staggering pace. In fact, thanks to the housing crash, for the first time in American history residential mortgage debt far surpasses the total home equity owned by all Americans. So what does that mean? It means that the big corporate banks have more of an interest in America’s homes than we do now. (Read More...)
Taxed Enough Already!
When you talk to most Americans about taxes, primarily what they think about is the U.S. government and the federal income tax. But while that may be the biggest tax that most Americans pay, the reality is that the truly insidious nature of the tax system in the United States is how it sucks money out of us in dozens of different ways until we don’t even feel it anymore. Instead of having one or two big tax bills, U.S. taxpayers face a “death by a thousand cuts” as tax after tax after tax just keeps coming. Most Americans don’t even realize how many kinds of taxes they pay. Before reading the rest of this article, try to estimate how many different kinds of taxes that Americans pay each year. Five? Ten? Twenty? Well, below we have listed over 50 different kinds of taxes that Americans pay. It is no wonder the Tea Party movement is growing so fast! People are sick and tired of constantly being financially drained by tax after tax. But even as you read this, members of the White House panel charged with reducing the U.S. national debt are considering recommending the adoption of a “European-style” Value Added Tax as a way for the U.S. government to bring in even more money. (Read More...)
America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
One of the key signs that we are in the early stages of an economic collapse and that we are heading towards another Great Depression is America’s crumbling infrastructure. The truth is that our infrastructure is literally falling apart all around us. Thousands of bridges are structurally deficient and there have already been some very high profile collapses. Over 30 percent of the highways and roads in the United States are in very poor shape. Aging sewer systems are leaking raw sewage all over the place. The power grid is straining to keep up with the ever-increasing thirst of the American people for electricity. There have already been some regional blackouts, and unless something is done quickly things promise to get even worse. The truth is that a nation’s infrastructure says a lot about who they are. So what does America’s infrastructure say about us? It says that we are a rusting, crumbling, decaying leftover from a better, more prosperous time. (Read More...)
It’s The Economy Stupid – Nearly 80 Percent Of Americans Say They Don’t Trust The Government
Back during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid” was a phrase that Clinton campaign officials used to keep the focus on the troubled U.S. economy. The truth is that Americans as a whole care about very few things more than their own economic well being, and by keeping the debate focused on economic issues, Clinton was able to defeat George H. W. Bush. Nearly 20 years later, that slogan is as true today as it ever has been. The American people care dearly about their own wallets and bank accounts. With the economy tanking badly and with unemployment at very high levels, dissatisfaction with the U.S. government is at record highs. In fact, acccording to a newly released poll byPew Research Center, just 22% of Americans believe that they can trust the government in Washington almost always or most of the time. Nearly half of the respondents said that the government has a negative effect on their daily lives. Only 25% of those responding expressed a favorable opinion of Congress, which was the lowest favorable rating for Congress in a quarter century of Pew Research Center surveys. (Read More...)
If The U.S. Economy Goes Into The Toilet Will It Result In A Complete And Total Collapse Of Society?
If the United States experiences a horrifying economic collapse (and it most definitely will), will that cause a complete and total collapse of society? Will we experience crime, violence, riots and social unrest on a scale that is unprecedented in U.S. history? Before you dismiss such notions as utter foolishness dreamed up by a few bloggers with too much time on their hands, perhaps you should consider what one of the biggest credit rating organizations in the world is saying. According to a report on sovereign debt by Moody’s, the world’s five biggest AAA-rated countries (including the United States) are all at risk of soaring debt costs and will have to implement austerity plans that threaten “social cohesion”. In case you are wondering what happens when “social cohesion” starts to break down due to economic factors, just check out the recent examples in Iceland and Greece. If even Moody’s is warning that there is a realistic possibility that “social cohesion” in the United States may break down due to economic factors, perhaps we should all start listening. (Read More...)
Wow! The SEC Formally Charges Goldman Sachs With Fraud
Wow! Just when you think the U.S. government is entirely incompetent and toothless when it comes to controlling the corruption on Wall Street something like this happens. For those who have not heard yet, on Friday the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit accusing Goldman Sachs of securities fraud. We’ll get into the details below, but first it is important to note how stunning all of this is. Goldman Sachs has had an extremely chummy relationship with the U.S. government over the past couple of decades. A whole host of former Goldman Sachs executives have been appointed to key government positions by both Republicans and Democrats in recent years. In addition, Goldman Sachs was Barack Obama’s number one campaign donor, and its employees gave $981,000 to his campaign. But in spite of all that, the SEC has decided to go after Goldman Sachs. (Read More...)