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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review February 5, 2010 / 21 Shevat 5770

Why banks are certain that anti-fat cat rhetoric will never turn to action

By Jack Kelly

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said: "We face a deficit of trust — deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap, we have to take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue — to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; to give the people the government they deserve."


The day after the president uttered those words, a senior administration official offered private policy briefings to lobbyists on the administration's plans.


"In the upcoming elections, voters will face a choice between Republicans who are standing with Wall Street fat cats, bankers and insurance companies — or Democrats who are working hard to clean up the mess we inherited by putting the people's interest ahead of the special interests," Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a press release Jan. 27.


That weekend Sen. Menendez and 11 other Democratic senators hosted hosted a "winter retreat" at the Ritz Carlton South Beach resort in Miami for 108 prominent lobbyists, who paid up to $30,000 each to attend.


"The retreat's guest list is a marked contrast to Menendez's recent rhetoric, which has echoed the White House denunciation of 'special interests' and 'fat cats,'" noted Ben Smith of the Politico, who broke the story.


In a report issued Feb. 1 which drew remarkably little attention from the news media given its importance, Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the $700 billion bailout for financial institutions, said TARP has not done what it was supposed to do, and could be setting the stage for a worse fiscal meltdown in the future.

Letter from JWR publisher


"Even if TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding mountain road, but this time in a faster car," Mr. Barofsky wrote in his most recent quarterly report to Congress.


Gorged on taxpayer money, the banks that were "too big to fail" have gotten even bigger, Mr. Barofsky said. Implicit and explicit federal guarantees could encourage them to take ever more reckless gambles, he said.


You'll recall that Congress approved TARP, the single largest expenditure in the history of our republic, on the understanding the funds would be used to buy the so-called "toxic assets," the subprime mortgage loans that had gone bad. But no sooner was the ink dry on the legislation than Treasury shifted course, investing the money instead directly into the banks. Later, TARP funds were used to buy into General Motors and Chrysler.


This bait and switch has been a good deal for banks. Goldman Sachs, teetering on the edge of bankruptcy in September of 2008, has done so well since that its chief executive officer, Lloyd Blankfein, thinks he's entitled to a $100 million bonus.


Then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who preceded Mr. Blankfein as CEO of Goldman Sachs, justified the switch on the grounds it would make it possible for banks to keep open lines of credit to small business. But, according a report issued by Treasury in January, the 22 banks which received the most TARP funds cut their small business loan balances by $12.5 billion since last April.


The banks have been restoring their balance sheets because they've been lending the TARP money, which they received for virtually no interest, back to goverment "at a phenomenal markup of at least 3 full percentage points," said Henry Blodget of the Business Insider.


This system, in which we taxpayers bear the risk and costs, works very well for Wall Street, not so well for Main Street. So why has Barack Obama supported it?


OpenSecrets.org provides a clue. Employees of Goldman Sachs were the largest private sector source of contributions to Barack Obama's presidential campaign (second overall to employees of the University of California). Two other bailed out banks — Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, ranked 6th and 7th.


To get off "the same winding mountain road," the zombie banks need to be broken up, and strict limits placed on the amount of debt banks which accept federally insured deposits may incur. But these reforms would not be popular with the banksters whose contributions fill Democratic campaign coffers.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

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© 2009, Jack Kelly

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