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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wall Street's Long Con swindle of America

I saw the reports of the changes in the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, before today. They were overshadowed by the swindle of Wall Street (Citibank lobbyists) putting in language making Tax Payers responsible for Bank bets. But they are part of the same long swindle that has been going on for more than 30 years. Back in 2009 I wrote about the PBGC in a Blog entry titled "Boomers and Our Grandparents". In that long ago blog entry I recounted the history of bucket shops:

"In the late 19th century and early 20th century ordinary people were encouraged to invest in the Stock Market through “Bucket shops” scattered all over the country. People also invested indirectly by depositing their money in banks, and the banks would invest in stocks or where-ever they thought they could maximize risk. There was no thought about risk. Some of this was through Bucket Shops. The way a bucket shop worked is that a local salesman would sell a derived security that allowed a number of investors to pool together to buy a security on wall street. This allowed ordinary people to play the stock market, and was sold as a way to protect their investments. Unfortunately the same stock could be sold 10 times and the profit pocketed by rich and well connected con men 9 times before anyone caught on. Some bucket shops actually bought stocks, but many of them turned into simply cons. And eventually even “legitimate” bucket shops would get caught short when the stock market did something expected and didn’t perform as expected. As a result of tens of thousands of people being scammed bucket shops were outlawed." [boomers and our grandparents]

These Bucket shops were a long con run by the giant banks with help from con artists around the country. Now we have another long con involving banksters who are happily transferring wealth from ordinary citizens to themselves.

"Even after the bucket shops were exposed, ordinary people were still encouraged to invest in the stock market. Worse, most people put their money in banks, and many of those banks over-leveraged (borrowed more than they had assets to cover) or invested in the Stock market. Eventually the stock market crashed, the banks closed. And ordinary folks realized that this whole idea was stupid, they’d been had. Meanwhile unemployment levels went to 30% while the rich, many of whom had created the casino in the first place, continued to live a life of inconsiderate luxury."

I was hoping that Obama was going to champion law and order and prosecute the latest round of swindles. I didn't expect that Wall Street would continue it's long term plans and just lie low until his last years. But that seems to be what they are doing. In the 20's Wall Street hoodwinked ordinary people directly. They had to have hucksters out there actually selling their worthless securities. Congress eventually passed Glass Steagle and other laws to ban these practices because they were fraudulent and risky. Wall Street was offloading risk so that they would have loaded coins. Like Batman's frenemy Two-face. It's Heads they win, Tails you lose. And I warned of what was happening with the PBGC in 2009:

"What most people didn’t understand is that getting people to invest in a casino is only good for the casino owners. As a result most of us now have inadequate 401K’s and Keogh’s and no pension plan. Those of us with pensions have them in the able hands of the PBGC, which usually has to cut benefits to keep them solvent. And we are facing a demographic disaster. And what are people doing? Blaming themselves. Well to a certain extent we deserve some blame. We are the ones who didn’t pay attention in history class." [boomers and our grandparents]

I was referring to a Washington Post article written by David Ignatious named The Baby Boomers' Retirement Bummer where David Ignatious was warning about what was about to happen:

"People have accused the baby boomers of being whiners almost since we were born. But just wait until we get to retirement age and discover that we don't have nearly enough money to take care of our "golden years." That's going to be the ultimate generational bummer." [The Baby Boomers' Retirement Bummer]

In 2009 PBGC was cutting future benefits. I thought that was wrong then. Wall Street and comfortable folks were fine with it because it wasn't their work being stolen and their future being swindled by the CEOs and investor class. It was the workers fault that the companies they work for won't pay them the worth of their labor. It's the retirees fault that companies chose to recklessly convert pensions to the pockets of insiders and CEOs -- according to Wall Street and savvy "pundits" who serve them. That was bad enough. What is different now is that they are cutting present benefits also thanks to the influence and clout of Wall Street money which the corrupt SCOTUS legalized in Citizens United. Either those benefits get cut, or Wall Street has to be forced to pay for it's privilege and power. In our current corrupt times which do you think will prevail? Well as Ignatious noted back in 2009 and it's only gotten worse since then:

"Let's start with the basic fact that only about half of Americans have any employer-sponsored retirement plan at all. The other folks will have to depend on Social Security. For a typical boomer worker, that would mean a monthly benefit of about $2,400 at a retirement age of 66 in 2020. On that, you won't be able to afford many Starbucks lattes."

So at least our corrupt congress is an equal opportunity economic stiffer. They are only stiffing about 1.5 million people. The rest of us have already been stiffed through direct theft from 401K and IRA accounts and simply not getting paid enough to have a surplus we can save. David predicted what is happening in 2009, when he noted:

"What's going to happen? Certainly, people will try to save more. But my guess, knowing my generational cohort, is that we'll want a government bailout to supplement our too-meager retirement savings. Unfortunately, the Treasury won't have enough money to fund our Medicare benefits, let alone a top-up in Social Security." [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/06/AR2009050603322.html]

All Part of a Long Con

I suspect what our elites have done is that they saw these provisions, publicly pay lip service to protecting the retirement of baby boomers, while privately agreeing with the investor class that it's our own fault and Wall Street gets a pass.

But the problem is that Treasury has plenty of money through the Federal Reserve to bail out Wall Street thefts, such as the Derivative fraud, but is owned by Wall Street and so has a double standard.

Wall Street crooks are running a long con. They snuck this provision in the same bill to protect themselves from bad bets that could quickly dwarf the entire amount of Baby Boom pensions. Our 1% was born with silver spoons in their mouths but will be darned if they will even let the rest of us folks keep the pewter ones the rest of us are stuck with.

"if there's another economic downturn, they can count on a taxpayer bailout of their derivatives trading business." [http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/spending-bill-992-derivatives-citigroup-lobbyists]

It's a long con folks. The fix is in, and we can only fight it -- by Fighting it

Further reading:

History of the Bailout Swindle of 2008 from Rolling Stone:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/secret-and-lies-of-the-bailout-20130104?page=2
Mother Jones Article:
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/spending-bill-992-derivatives-citigroup-lobbyists
Crooks and Liars
http://crooksandliars.com/2014/12/co-president-dimon-whips-votes-shameful

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