Tag Archives | bailouts

The Bank Bailout Was Actually $8 Trillion

largeAh, free-market capitalism — the economic system that works best, provided that one infuses $8 trillion to stave off total collapse. The Atlantic Wire writes:

Remember the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program with which the federal government came to the rescue of faltering banks in 2008? Well, according to a Bloomberg report, that was just a fraction of the financial help the Federal Reserve Bank wound up doling out to troubled lenders. The real total was reportedly closer to $8 trillion, after you add up benefits outside TARP, including emergency loans given at below-market rates:

The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S.

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Greece’s Choice, And Ours: Rule By Democracy or Finance?

GreeceBank575A number of nations, including Greece and the United States, are in the process of deciding between being governed by democracy or by finance, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor Robert Reich writes:

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou decided in favor of democracy yesterday when he announced a national referendum on the draconian budget cuts Europe and the IMF are demanding from Greece in return for bailing it out.

(Or, more accurately, the cuts Europe and the IMF are demanding for bailing out big European banks that have lent Greece lots of money and stand to lose big if Greece defaults on those loans—not to mention Wall Street banks that will also suffer because of their intertwined financial connections with European banks.)

If Greek voters accept the bailout terms, unemployment will rise even further in Greece, public services will be cut more than they have already, the Greek economy will contract, and the standard of living of most Greeks will deteriorate further.

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Bank Of America Pays $410 Million To Settle Accusations Of Charging Illegal Overdraft Fees

2845694549_b181546fc7Can we charge Bank of America an overdraft fee?  The San Francisco Gate writes:

Bank of America has agreed to pay $410 million to settle a lawsuit in which the lender is accused of manipulating debit transactions to maximize overdraft fees. The agreement is believed to be the first financial settlement by a large bank in a case alleging deceptive overdraft practices. It may presage the outcome of related claims against 30 other lending institutions, including Wells Fargo, Citibank, Chase, Union Bank and U.S. Bank.

San Francisco’s Wells Fargo is embroiled in a separate lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco brought by California customers. That case started before the multistate legal action, but has not concluded because Wells has filed an appeal.

In August, U.S. District Judge William Alsup issued a scathing ruling ordering Wells Fargo to pay its California clients $203 million. He said the bank’s goal was to “maximize the number of overdrafts and squeeze as much as possible” out of customers.

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The Case Against Goldman Sachs

mainIn his usual clear, profane manner, Matt Taibbi lays out why Goldman Sachs’s executives must face criminal charges as soon as possible. Via Rolling Stone:

America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn’t leave much doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial.

To date, there has been only one successful prosecution of a financial big fish from the mortgage bubble, and that was Lee Farkas, a Florida lender who was just convicted on a smorgasbord of fraud charges and now faces life in prison. But Farkas, sadly, is just an exception proving the rule: Like Bernie Madoff, his comically excessive crime spree (which involved such lunacies as kiting checks to his own bank and selling loans that didn’t exist) was almost completely unconnected to the systematic corruption that led to the crisis.

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Capital Is The Real Of Our Lives

humanbeingVia Adbusters‘s Kick It Over project, philosopher Slavoj Zizek sums up the reality that the financial meltdown laid bare:

Although we always recognized the urgency of the problems, when we were fighting AIDS, hunger, water shortages, global warming, and so on, there always seemed to be time to reflect, to postpone decisions (recall how the main conclusion of the last meeting of world leaders in Bali, hailed as a success, was that they would meet again in two years to continue their talks…). But with the financial meltdown, the urgency to act was unconditional; sums of an unimaginable magnitude had to be found immediately. Saving endangered species, saving the starving children…all this can wait a little bit. The call to “save the banks!” by contrast, is an unconditional imperative which must be met with immediate action.

Do we need any further proof that Capital is the Real of our lives, a Real whose imperatives are much more absolute than even the most pressing demands of our social and natural reality?

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Fed Bailed Out McDonalds & GE – With Your Money

McDonald's logoGeneral ElectricSuppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself. — Mark Twain

Craig Torres and Scot Lanman writing for Bloomberg:

The Federal Reserve’s emergency lending during the financial crisis spanned the global economy, from the largest U.S. financial firms to community banks, hedge funds and a fast-food company.

The Fed, in compliance with orders from Congress, today named recipients of $3.3 trillion in emergency aid. Among them were U.S. branches of overseas banks, including Switzerland’s UBS AG; corporations such as General Electric Co. and McDonald’s Corp.; and investors like Pacific Investment Management Co. and computer executive Michael Dell.

Lawmakers demanded disclosure, over the Fed’s initial objections, as U.S. central bankers pushed beyond their traditional role of backstopping banks to stem the worst financial panic since the Great Depression. The Fed posted the data on its website to comply with a provision in July’s Dodd- Frank law overhauling financial regulation.

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