Will the Government Ever Attempt to Enforce the Law Against the Bank of America?

Bank of America is teetering on the edge of collapse. It has received enormous aid from the federal government in bailouts, loans and preferential treatment to the tune of trillions of dollars of government guarantees. To add further injury to the insults already suffered, the federal government, that is, the Obama Justice Department has okayed a settlement protecting Bank of America from lawsuits for its practice of filing false affidavits and inventing ownership of property in American Courts. Yet even with this help, the bank is run so badly that it is still failing.

How long does this go on?

Is the government going to bailout this bank one more time?

What crimes do they have to commit? What incompetence do they have to display? What greed in the form of enormous executive bonuses do they have to display? – before enough is enough and they are allowed to perish?

James Pilant

Bank of America: Too Crooked to Fail | Politics News | Rolling Stone

In a pure capitalist system, an institution as moronic and corrupt as Bank of America would be swiftly punished by the market – the executives would get to loot their own firms once, then they’d be looking for jobs again. But with the limitless government support of Too Big to Fail, these failing financial giants get to stay undead forever, continually looting the taxpayer, their depositors, their shareholders and anyone else they can get their hands on. The threat posed by Bank of America isn’t just financial – it’s a full-blown assault on the American dream. Where’s the incentive to play fair and do well, when what we see rewarded at the highest levels of society is failure, stupidity, incompetence and meanness? If this is what winning in our system looks like, who doesn’t want to be a loser? Throughout history, it’s precisely this kind of corrupt perversion that has given birth to countercultural revolutions. If failure can’t fail, the rest of us can never succeed.

Bank of America: Too Crooked to Fail | Politics News | Rolling Stone



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Bailed Out Banks In Trouble Again?

From the Huffington Post

Nearly 100 banks previously rescued by the federal government are again poised to fail, despite billions of dollars of support from the American Treasury.

The number of banks on the brink of collapse rose from 86 to 98 during the summer months, according to analysis of federal data from the Wall Street Journal. The banks in question have received $4.2 billion dollars in aid through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Most of the troubled institutions are relatively small.

The latest sign of distress in the financial system suggests the bailout may have simply been a stopgap solution for a sector still contending with the aftershocks of the greatest banking crisis in 80 years.

If you own a business in the United States and you lose money instead of making it you go out of business. If you are a bank, the government runs to you with large bags of money and gets you back on your feet.

But twice? It’s only been two years. Is the government going to save these banks and, if so, do it again in two years.

What’s the ethics here?

Those who have committed crimes should be punished? Okay, have the banks been investigated for fraud?

The incompetent should not be rewarded for botched work or destroying their business. Has the government in the previous bailout or in the one likely to happen now, asking about competence and cleaning house in these institutions? Shouldn’t those who have ruined the banks by poor management find jobs elsewhere?

Ethically, is it wise to encourage the kind of behavior you get when you bail out failing institutions? Doesn’t that encourage immoral activity like risk taking? Doesn’t that give bank officials the impression that risky behavior is to be encouraged? If you win, you win big. If you lose, your dear Uncle Sam will find money for you?

What do you as a citizen want to happen? Maybe the government should’ve asked that question, “What results are we looking for in this bailout?” two years ago?

James Pilant

Irish And Greek Bailouts Won’t Work!

James Saft
James Saft writing on his blog discusses the strange bailouts of Ireland and Greece. “What’s strange?” They are unsustainable. They are disastrous. They are a bandaid that won’t hold. This essay uses the word, bizarre. That is correct.

James Pilant

From Reuters

So let’s recap, because this is truly bizarre: Lenders to Ireland or the other troubled states won’t take a hit now but if they stick around until 2013 then they will take losses along with the taxpayers. Oh yeah, and the current round of bailouts are aimed at seeing Ireland and Greece through the next couple of years, at which point it will become extremely dangerous to lend to them, as their economies will have shrunk, their debt burdens bloomed and private lenders will be on the hook.

To add to this, the European Stability Mechanism, the name of the new fund, will be senior to all creditors except the International Monetary Fund, meaning that in the event of a bankruptcy it would be paid first. Ratings agency Fitch looked at this provision and quite rightly said that it might lead to lower ratings on shaky euro zone sovereigns.

The only way you could make this policy mix work was if you could find a very rich lender with no ability to conceptualize the future. Hmm, let’s see a rich entity with limited ability to fully imagine a future state – it must be the European Union!

Few private lenders will stick around, they will sell their bonds and the only buyers will be the EU or ECB, which itself as it understands this predicament is hugely unwilling to play along.

Germany and France are both so unwilling to both have principles and pay for them that they are refusing to act on proposals for common European bonds and are expected to resist moves to increase the size of the European Financial Stability Fund, the vehicle now being used for bailouts.

Okay, do you get it? These aren’t solutions. They are designed to tide things over until someone new is in office to take responsibility. And especially, they are designed to appear as decisive action when they are nothing of the kind.

It is important that both Greece and Ireland elect new governments charged with challenging these horrendous plans that smack only of disaster. Those countries deserve better, and their citizens should demand better terms. These are sovereign nations not American homeowners subject to the whims of banks.

Let democracies exert the power of the people, the one and only thing that banks fear.

James Pilant

Ethics and the Bank Bailout

Ethics and the Bank Bailout

President Barack Obama said Thursday he wants to tax banks to recoup the public bailout of foundering firms at the height of the financial crisis. “We want our money back,” he said.

Is it moral to tax banks to repay the public funds given them?

Is this a hard question?

If you run a restaurant, a filling station; if you sell insurance, automobiles, real estate; if you own a garage, a body shop or rent movies; will the government come and give you money to save your business in this time of troubles?

If you make particularly stupid and greedy decisions that result in your firm’s danger of failure, should this increase the probability of government help?

There is a Bible verse that may have relevance here. Psalm 37:21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

Well, the righteous have giveth and some may consider it just for the banks to pay back what they have received.

James Pethokoukis writing in reuters believes that the tax may very well pass.

Is that just? I hope it passes. A little justice may go a long way.

James Pilant

Bank Bailout Estimated Cost: 14 Trillion +


Bank Bailout Estimated Cost: 14 Trillion +

According to a report by Nomi Prins and Krisztina Ugrin, the money paid out to save the banking industry is currently 14 trillion dollars while the money paid out in the stimulus and other responses to the economic crisis total almost 2 trillion dollars. So, the banking industry gets 14 trillion and regular Americans get a little less than 2 trillion scattered over hundreds of programs. Did you know that we can pay off every sub prime mortgage in the United States for 1.4 trillion? Did you know that our total exposure as a nation under the bank bailout could run as high as 23.7 trillion?
Are you feeling uncomfortable yet?