The Fix Is In For The Owners Of The Fed
Posted by Admin on January 28, 2010
The Fix Is In For The
Owners Of The Fed
From Joel Skousen
World Affairs Brief
|As the US Treasury Department continues to brag that the US has not yet been forced to make good on its guarantees of toxic debt held by the major insider banks (Citigroup, JP Morgan, Bank of America, etc) we find they have been using a back door to funnel money to their friends–AIG the world insurance giant holding the largest share of derivative contracts that guarantee those toxic debts against default.
In point of fact, those debts are defaulting in ever increasing number, and AIG is having to pay out billions. But, those billions are being replenished by additional bailout funds from the Treasury–while the rest of the nation suffers from lack of credit.
Why should the American taxpayer be bailing out gambling bets based on promises to pay that were utterly fraudulent? Now we find out that AIG is also the preferred avenue of funneling money into European banks.
Lastly, what do all these insider banks have in common? They constitute the private owners of the Federal Reserve. It all begins to make sense why only the largest banks are receiving these funds and why the regulators continue to squeeze the smaller banks with millions in new surcharges–forcing them into liquidation. The fix is in.
International law professor Richard Cummings, writing for Lew Rockwell.com, says, “Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has resisted calls from Congress that he release the names of the banks that were recipients of the bailout money the Fed gave to AIG to prevent it from collapsing.
AIG insured its counterparties against losses from mortgage-backed derivatives. The Fed poured $85 billion into AIG, which paid out $37.3 billion of that money to counterparties that had purchased a certain type of derivative-based protection from AIG, called multi-sector credit default swaps.
“The counterparties have never been disclosed but the Wall Street Journal reported that they included Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, UBS and Deutsche Bank. AIG and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York have unwound many of these contracts. To do this, they offered to buy the CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) that were originally insured by those agreements. The counterparties sold these assets at a discount, but were compensated in full in return for allowing AIG to extricate itself from the obligations. The counterparties also got to keep the $37.3 billion in collateral, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“While Bear Stearns was collapsing, Goldman Sachs boasted that it had insulated itself by buying insurance against the mortgage-backed derivatives. As it turns out, it was, in fact, rescued by the Fed when it bailed out AIG. In 2007, Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs’ CEO, received $70 million in compensation, including bonuses, $27 million in cash… At the time the New York Fed came to AIG’s assistance, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner was its head.
“Blankfein is still drawing down millions in compensation. The rationale for his compensation is the alleged profitability of Goldman Sachs, which raked in over $9 billion in 2006. It should also be noted that the bailout stopped Goldman stock from plummeting, thereby protecting not only Blankfein’s fortune, but that of Hank Paulson, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs, who was Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush.
“This is perhaps the greatest financial scandal in American history but most Americans are totally ignorant of it. On top of this, the AIG bailout enabled John Thain to pay out billions in bonuses while he headed Merrill Lynch, just prior to its sale to Bank of America, a recipient of billions of bailout money, this while the unemployment rate is headed towards ten percent and the market collapse has caused losses in the trillions. Were the names of the banks made officially public, there would be cries of outrage so loud as to be deafening, making any further bailouts dubious for political reasons.
“And while Bernanke has said that he would not permit the big banks to fail, the looting of America by some of the richest and most powerful people, such as Blankfein and Thain, goes on, with no end in sight. Pandit the bandit now says Citigroup is profitable, enabling its stock to rise above a dollar, generating a temporary euphoria in the market. The cheers going up on CNBC can be heard all the way to Warren Buffett’s coffers. And American tax payers are not only bailing out the American banks, they are also bailing out Europe.”
Toni Reinhold of Reuters answers “Who got AIG’s bailout billions?” “The Wall Street Journal reported… that some of the banks paid by AIG since the insurer started getting taxpayer funds were: Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Deutsche Bank AG, Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale, Calyon, Barclays Plc, Rabobank, Danske, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Banco Santander, Morgan Stanley, Wachovia, Bank of America, and Lloyds Banking Group.” I think it’s the large number of foreign banks that would be particularly irritating to the public if it knew the extent of this largess.
WHO OWNS THE FED?
Jim Quinn unravels for us the real link between all this insider dealing. Who really owns the Federal Reserve. It’s not the US government and its not you the taxpayer. “The average American does not know much about the Federal Reserve. The government and the Federal Reserve prefer to operate in the shadows. If the American public understood what their policies have done to their lives, they would be rioting in the streets. Henry Ford had a similar opinion: ‘It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.’
“Most Americans believe that the Federal Reserve is part of the government. They are wrong. It is a privately held corporation owned by stockholders. The Federal Reserve System is owned by the largest banks in the United States. There are Class A, B, and C shareholders. The owner banks and their shares in the Federal Reserve are a secret. Why is this a secret? It is likely that the biggest banks in the country are the major shareholders. Does this explain why Citicorp, Bank of America and JP Morgan, despite being insolvent, are being propped up by Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner?” It does, indeed.
Tony Rheinholt continues: “The U.S. Federal Reserve has refused to publicize a list of AIG’s derivative counterparties and what they have been paid since the bailout, riling the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald Kohn testified before that committee on Thursday that revealing names risked jeopardizing AIG’s continuing business. Kohn said there were millions of counterparties around the globe, including pension funds and U.S. households.” What this means is that AIG is only paying out on SOME of its obligations, and US Pension funds are NOT on that list. In other words, the bailout monies are only going to a select few. AIG has absorbed $180B so far, with no end in sight, no transparency, and no sign of changing this pattern.
Proof that we haven’t even turned the corner yet comes from Greg Gordon and Kevin G. Hall of McClatchy Newspapers (itself a losing enterprise like dozens of other print media): “America’s five largest banks, which already have received $145 billion in taxpayer bailout dollars, still face potentially catastrophic losses from exotic investments if economic conditions substantially worsen, their latest financial reports show. Citibank, Bank of America, HSBC Bank USA, Wells Fargo Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase reported that their ‘current’ net loss risks from derivatives —- insurance-like bets tied to a loan or other underlying asset —- surged to $587 billion as of Dec. 31. Buried in end-of-the-year regulatory reports that McClatchy has reviewed, the figures reflect a jump of 49 percent in just 90 days.”
Not counted in those write downs, of course, are the funds they are getting through the back door, which are not accounted for publicly. “While the potential loss totals include risks reported by Wachovia Bank, which Wells Fargo agreed to acquire in October, they don’t reflect another Pandora’s Box: the impact of Bank of America’s Jan. 1 acquisition of tottering investment bank Merrill Lynch, a major derivatives dealer.”
SQUEEZING THE SMALL SOLVENT BANKS
The next part of the fix is the most evil, in my opinion. The Fed and the US Treasury have given trillions of paper dollars to insider banks, and yet they are letting the FDIC run short of money so that this “insurer” of the public’s deposits ($250,000 and below) can have an excuse to jack up the insurance premiums (surcharges) to member banks. These new “temporary” fees are more than most small bank profits, and will ensure that these banks fail.
As Paul Kiel writes in ProPublica, “It’s looking increasingly like the FDIC will have to turn to Treasury to help it weather the storm… FDIC’s deposit insurance fund has plummeted in the past year as a growing number of banks have failed. The fund relies on fees from member banks, and Bair held out hope that a recent bump in those feeswould provide enough cushion. But if it doesn’t, Bair said, people shouldn’t be nervous about their FDIC-insured accounts: ‘It is important for people to understand, we’re backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. The money will always be there. We can’t run out of money.’” Then why has the fee increased? Why penalize the banks that have been conservative, and limited their growth for safety?
Bill Butler describes the “squeeze play” going on: “FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair announced last week that the quasi-public insurance monopoly would become insolvent in the next few months if it is not allowed to implement a one-time, draconian surcharge on all U.S. banks. This charge will, in some cases, wipe out last year’s profits. At the same time, the FDIC has requested an additional $500 billion ‘loan’ from Congress [notice that a loan requires the member banks to pay it off. A bailout would not. They choose to ask only for the loan as a justification for the surcharge].
“Small, solvent, well-run local and regional banks have objected. They rightly claim that they are not the problem. These banks have a solid and growing deposit base and many of them service their own loans and so did not get caught in the trap of originating bad loans and dumping them on the secondary mortgage market in federally-guaranteed bundles. Whether they know it or not, these banks intuit that, like Social Security, there is no FDIC “fund.” FDIC insurance, like social security, is just another government-coerced Ponzi scheme — a tax that, according to former FDIC commissioner Bill Isaac, goes immediately to the Treasury to buy “spending . . . on missiles, school lunches, water projects, and the like.”
“Rather than increasing their taxes and punishing their relatively good behavior, these small banks suggest that the FDIC look first to Bailout Banks, the Wall Street mega-banks that have received nearly a trillion dollars in unearned, government-supplied capital via the printing press, for any increased insurance premium/tax. Ms. Bair rejected these pleas by claiming that FDIC law does not allow her to ‘discriminate’ against banks based on their size. Clever [Actually, there is a basis for discrimination since the larger one's 1) caused the problem and 2) are the recipients of taxpayer backed funds]. What is really going is that the Bailout Banks are using the government and its insurance monopoly to help them gain market share by drastically increasing the operating costs of their smaller, better-run and scrappy competitors.” We are about to see the worst banks absorb the smaller sound banks–a great injustice, and totally engineered.
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