Friday, May 27, 2011

Too Big to Fail or Too Big For Their Britches?

HBO debuted "Too Big to Fail" the other night.  It's the story of the bank crises, the fed's involvement and the scare tactics used to convince Congress they had to pass emergency legislation to bail out some failing banks while others were left to fail.  I watched it with skepticism as it painted a somewhat heroic picture of then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, as well as Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.  Both men were appointed by George W. Bush.

Most of us were bamboozled into believing the bank bailout was the only way to save the economy, both domestic and foreign.  We were led to believe the money we gave the banks would be re-paid, credit loosened and the economy stimulated as banks used the money to lend again for new business loans, home purchases and the like.

But that didn't happen.  This rush to save the banks was much like the rush to invade Iraq after 9/11.  It happened too fast, there was too much pressure put upon Congress, no strict criteria for the banks to follow other than to pay back the money.  The American people?  We had little to say about the mess.  We barely understood it.  But we weren't consulted either. 

Thursday eve,  Huff Post led with this screaming headline and a story that supports what my gut told me at the time:

 The Fed Loses Cred (excerpt)  
In the midst of the global financial crisis in 2008, the Federal Reserve lent Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Scotland at least $30 billion each at interest rates as low as 0.01 percent with no public disclosure of the details, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.
The latest revelations about the covert infusions of credit provided by the Fed to some of the world's largest banks has amplified accusations that the central bank is a power unto itself, operating according to its own devices and in the interest of major financial institutions -- and beyond accountability to taxpayers.
It gets worse but you'll want to read it yourself.  The purveyors of the mess are enjoying their beach homes, their yachts, their golden parachutes.  They aren't suffering.  We are. 

When are we going to demand repercussions and responsibility from these institutions via our elected officials, our judicial system, our President? 

Or are they all in on the fix? 



DJan said...

Who knows? How does one even begin to figure it all out? I get rather enraged when I think about it all, and when I feel powerless to do anything other than make myself sick over it, I stop reading the news.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I never wanted to believe it, but I think once they reach that level, they're pretty much all in on the fix. We can't even expect justice from the Supreme Court any more. Sigh.

injaynesworld said...

I also want to see the Inside Job, which is the award-winning documentary about how the financial institutions and the fed created this mess. I'll go read the whole Huff/Po article today, although I'll buy some Dramamine first for the nausea I expect it will produce.

California Girl said...

DJan; know how you feel. that's why I blog about it.

Blissed Out: The Supreme Court rulings are so partisan it's ridiculous.

Jayne: we rented Inside Job a few wks ago. I should have referenced it. Even though we all know the story, it becomes more disheartening each time it's reviewed.

Laura Trevey said...

Just wanted to pop over here and say Happy Memorial Day weekend to you!!

xoxo Laura

Deborah said...

It just makes me tired, in a completely disheartened sort of way. Things will never change until the whole thing implodes.

lisleman said...

I certainly don't want to defend some big investment Banks but the banks were not the only problem. Also, most all the TARP money has been repaid and the treasury has made some profit on some of it.
It did happen quickly and that in itself is a problem. Why didn't things surface earlier? Some of the other guilty players - congress (all the way back to Clinton era), rating agencies, mortgage houses, federal regulators.
I don't get HBO but NPR did an excellent series on it. They interviewed many of the smaller players. Like a bartender who becomes a mortgage lender over night and starts making 6 figures a month. It was a bubble that should have not gone that far.

Emille said...

As an add on to Daborah -or until the whole thing explodes - either way the not-so-rich will suffer most. I have a hope that at one point in time there will be justice for this most incredible mess.

Ruth said...

It is ridiculous that not a single one of these guys has served any time for what they did. I am not terribly surprised, but I am very, very disgusted.

California Girl said...

Laura: Hope yours was lovely. Lots of things going on in Richmond, I'm sure. It's probably quite hot there already.

Deborah: Yes, "implodes" is a good word for what may happen.

Lisle: Don't think I blame only the financial guys. I did a ton of research for a post back in August. It covered a great many issues relating to the financial meltdown, not least of which was the repeal of Glass-htmlSteagall by President Clinton.

Emille: I certainly pray you are correct and justice will be served.
It took our govt 10 years to find Osama Bin Laden. Is it going to be 10 years before these thieves are held accountable?

Ruth: Best way to deal with all who profited, make them pay all bonus money to the taxpayers. That would go a long way to help with the debt.


by Cole Scott