U.S. middle class taxpayers are continuing to get the worst of these financial industry bailout deals: "investing" in risky financial institutions with none of the benefits of oversight, control and transparency. It's time to nationalize large banks and model them after credit unions. And regulate bank lending practices so that interest rates on mortgages, credit cards and other loans more closely match bank borrowing levels.
First we endured the savings and loan crisis which ultimately cost the U.S. taxpayer over $160 billion and now we have the subprime debacle which might end up costing us trillions. Let's not wait for the third strike down the road -- what will our deregulated financial industry think up next?
The hoped for "trickle down" effect of these bailouts is not reaching main street. Instead, we are enabling the financial industry to continue gorging at the trough with more bonuses, ponzi schemes and huge margin spreads on interest rates. Financial executives are still living lavish lifestyles while we are cleaning up the mess they created from years of excess: McMansions, private jets, Mega Yachts... more Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous!
And now we hear from Huffington Post's Sam Stein that:
Three days after receiving $25 billion in federal bailout funds, Bank of America Corp. hosted a conference call with conservative activists and business officials to organize opposition to the U.S. labor community's top legislative priority.
Is this new Great Depression feeling more like class warfare everyday?
Along with unequal tax policies that favor the upper class (even Warren Buffett has said he should be paying more taxes than his middle class Secretary), the banking / investment system are main conduits for transferring wealth up the ladder.
Frankly, banks have been ripping-off the middle class for years. In addition to a variety of user fees, the middle class pays banks large spreads on mortgages, credit cards and other types of debt. In turn, banks take this money (along with our deposits which earn a small return) to drive investment ponzi schemes, dole out outrageous bonuses for management, make sweet corporate back room deals and lobby Congress for beneficial tax and legislation terms.
Do you think banks would ever return the tax payer's bailout kindness? Of course not! If *you* hit hard times, they will kick you out of your home, raise your credit card rates and force you into bankruptcy. It's all about the numbers, not about evaluating and adjusting to individual circumstances.
If a smart, driven individual wants to get rich in America, then they can start a business, innovate, create something tangible. The days of kids right out of college making $100,000 a month on Wall Street for shuffling papers and numbers around should be over. Banks should not be unregulated greed-driven profit centers.
Banks are no longer the community based institutions they once were decades ago. Credit unions have taken over as the cooperative financial institutions that invest in their owner members' lives and businesses. Most credit unions offer a variety of services (including financial / bankruptcy counselors) to help members experiencing difficult financial circumstances to stay in their homes and remain solvent.
Credit Unions Defined (from Wikipedia):
A credit union is a cooperative financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members, and operated for the purpose of promoting thrift, providing credit at reasonable rates, and providing other financial services to its members. Many credit unions exist to further community development or sustainable international development on a local level.
Credit unions differ from banks and other financial institutions in that the members who have accounts in the credit union are the owners of the credit union and they elect their board of directors in a democratic one person-one vote system regardless of the amount of money invested in the credit union. Credit unions offer many of the same financial services as banks, often using a different terminology; common services include: share accounts (savings accounts), share draft (checking) accounts, credit cards, share term certificates (certificates of deposit), and online banking.
And, even better, banks fear credit unions because they know if enough customers discovered the benefits of credit unions, they would be out of business:
When credit unions were first organizing in the United States in the early twentieth century, the banking industry was opposed, remaining so ever since. Despite the fact that credit unions continue to hold a very small share of the financial services market, banks and bank trade associations consistently put anti-credit union legislation at the top of their agendas.
If you would like to take a stand against the greed of the banking industry and these current bailouts, consider putting your money in a credit union instead. Even the Wall Street Journal recognizes that credit unions are better places to borrow money and store your savings. Plus, credit unions are largely untouched by the subprime debacle. It's time to take more control of your financial destiny America!