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When Does the Preferential Treatment of Banks Become Obscene?

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In my last post I said the 2012 Presidential election will be a referendum on whether the need for shared sacrifice during unprecedented income inequality in the second decade of the 21st Century of our nation is any way morally mandated by our Judea-Christian teachings and precepts. I then recited some economic stats illustrating the poverty, income, and wealth disparity currently prevailing in American society.

Some readers comments suggested that I was trying "use" teachings from the Bible and the Old Testament to "guilt" them to agree to the payment of higher taxes to fund government programs aiding persons in our country whose income and wealth were substantially and materially less than theirs.

I made a passing reference to the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the message it appears to be trying to send to Congress and the nation at large, and suggested that, perhaps, we should pay more attention to their messages.

My last blog was written before I read the recent report of Bloomberg News disclosing the magnitude on the 2008 Government Bail made available to the banks. After reading the report, there is no way to characterize what Paulson, Bush and later Obama, Fed Chairman, Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Geithner did to enable the banks to survive during their liquidity crisis as being anything other than "obscene". Obscene when measured against the critical financial resources then needed to avert nationwide housing foreclosures, loss of jobs, exhausted unemployment benefits and continued failed schools, rising poverty, especially among children.

Binyamin Appelbaum, in The New York Times article, "How the Fed Rescue Benefited Banks" discusses the details of a recent Bloomberg News report:

The central bank provided emergency loans, asset purchases and other aid totaling roughly $7.8 trillion during a two-year period ending in March 2009, easily the largest component of the government efforts to bulwark the financial system.



... (T)he aid allowed financial companies to book profits of roughly $13 billion during that period, largely by borrowing from the Fed at low interest rates and then using the money to make loans and investments with higher rates of return.



The benefit for the six largest American banks was about $4.8 billion... or roughly one-quarter of their total profits over the two years.

The profit estimate is based on the simple expedient of multiplying the amount each firm borrowed from the Fed by its net interest margin -- a key indicator of bank profitability that measures the difference between the amount the bank pays to get money and the amount it charges to provide money... banks invested the money they got from the Fed at roughly the same rate of profitability as money they acquired from other sources.

Excuse me! $7.8 TRILLION over a two year period. And, then they would not make loans available to small businesses except for those with triple A credit and who did not need the money. Many of these same banks have been also found to have foreclosed illegally on the homes of military families. Hello! Help me, somebody!

President Obama fought for $787 Billion in funding for the congressionally created American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). $787 Billion vs. $7.8 Trillion for the banks.

We were told that that there is not enough money to fund an Infrastructure Bank to repair of our roads and bridges and immediately put thousands of constructions workers back to work because funding such a bank would perilously increase our national debt.

Additionally, it is estimated that, over the next eight years, 20 percent of our tax revenues will be needed to service interest on our national debt!

Occupy Wall Street is aware of the same information I recite in this post and in the previous one. Some people think OWS is being "unreasonable" or exaggerating their complaints.

The political implications of this going forward, may be, for Obama to retain any credibility in dealing with the economy, to ask for the resignation of Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Geithner.

Obama, the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties and media pundits are pre-occupied with Herman Cain's latest alleged "marital infidelity," the Republican Party presidential primaries and mobilization of resources of people and money in connection with President Obama's campaign.

With all due respect to President Obama's fund raising and the deployment of Obama Reelection Campaign "foot soldiers "on the ground in anticipated contested States with the innovative use of new addressable communication technology, they should remember 1968. If President Obama comes to be regarded like Lyndon Johnson and presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey, there is a real danger that thousands of Occupy Wall Street participants may decide to opt out of the traditional two party election processes. OWS may decide that surrounding the Democratic Party Convention in Charlotte, NC is a better option. Or, prior to that they may seek to support a third party candidate whom they believe is more credibly responsive to their "99%" agenda.

Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Steward, in 1964, in speaking about what may be permissible to be shown in movie, said one can recognize "obscenity" when they see it.

It is not longer a question of whether shared sacrifice is morally appropriate in an age of income inequality. The real question is whether or not we will simply hold our noses and turn our eyes and ears away from the obscene use of taxpayer moneys turned over to our banking system. How long will we permit the major banks to "game" our economic system? Or, maybe it's time to frankly acknowledge they have become the De facto fourth branch of our government, without any amendment to our Constitution.

Can you recognize obscenity when you see it?

Around the Web

Study finds bank bailouts profitable for U.S. | Reuters

Bank Bailout Returns 8.2% Beating Treasury Yields - Bloomberg

As Biggest Banks Repay Bailout Money, the U.S. Sees a Profit ...