Thursday, March 27, 2008

Money Whores

There was a time, not too long ago, when Washington did regulate banks. The Depression triggered the creation of government bank regulations and agencies, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Home Loan Bank System, Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC), Fannie Mae, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), to protect consumers and expand homeownership. After World War II, until the late 1970s, the system worked. The savings-and-loan industry was highly regulated by the federal government, with a mission to take people's deposits and then provide loans for the sole purpose of helping people buy homes to live in. Washington insured those loans through the FDIC, provided mortgage discounts through FHA and the Veterans Administration, created a secondary mortgage market to guarantee a steady flow of capital, and required S&Ls to make predictable 30-year fixed loans. The result was a steady increase in homeownership and few foreclosures.

In the 1970s, when community groups discovered that lenders and the FHA were engaged in systematic racial discrimination against minority consumers and neighborhoods -- a practice called "redlining" -- they mobilized and got Congress, led by Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire, to adopt the Community Reinvestment Act and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, which together have significantly reduced racial disparities in lending.

But by the early 1980s, the lending industry used its political clout to push back against government regulation. In 1980, Congress adopted the Depository Institutions Deregulatory and Monetary Control Act, which eliminated interest-rate caps and made subprime lending more feasible for lenders. The S&L industry, like Keating's Lincoln Savings, balked at constraints on their ability to compete with conventional banks engaged in commercial lending. They got Congress -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- to change the rules, allowing S&Ls to begin a decade-long orgy of real-estate speculation, mismanagement, and fraud.

The deregulation of banking led to merger mania, with banks and S&Ls gobbling each other up and making loans to finance shopping malls, golf courses, office buildings, and condo projects that had no financial logic other than a quick-buck profit. When the dust settled in the late 1980s, about a thousand S&Ls and banks had gone under, billions of dollars of commercial loans were useless, and the federal government was left to bail out the depositors whose money the speculators had looted to the tune of about $125 billion.

The icing on the cake was the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, enacted during the Clinton years by the Republican-controlled Congress, which tore down the remaining legal barriers to combining commercial banking, investment banking, and insurance under one corporate roof.

As a result of industry consolidation, between 1984 and 2004, the number of FDIC-regulated banks declined from 14,392 to 7,511. In 1960, the 10-largest banks held 21 percent of the industry's assets; by 2005, the 10 largest banks controlled 60 percent of the assets. Meanwhile, a netherworld of non-bank institutions that lend and invest money emerged, offering complex and risky loan products and investment vehicles that defy common understanding and resist government regulation.

@ Alternet


Ok so I'm a harpie, but I am a poor one so I beat up on the BIG MONEY bunch.
As this article points out there has been a steady decline in the monitoring of banking transactions by the BIG Money boys and like Grade School, there are those that left unchecked will push the limits as far as they can to gain what they want.

When allowed to run free no ones money is safe. An Administration that condones and provides cover for manipulation, wiretaps for information and strategizes for their own gain is banking run amok, and what we have now.

I will let the article speak for itself in detail the why's and what-fors, so run down to your local bank and demand your money today, 20 dollar increments are easier to use but grocery stores will cash 100's.

Yup, a good old fashioned run on the bank might just open some eyes and let those buzzards know we do not need their money stoking asses any longer.



Alan said...

Ahh yeah. The reason Reagan is so-loved. He deregulated Savings and Loans and let the 'inmates run their own asylum'. The result was all his friends getting rich and richer, while us taxpayers footed the bill to clean it all up. Reagan also spent and spent on the military, getting a whole different set of crooked friends richer as well. In a recurring cycle, the repugs spend us into debt while spreading the wealth among a small circle. Then a Democrat gets in and has to be the adult, tightening the belt and cleaning everything up only to be labeled a 'tax and spend' liberal. With a majority of dumbazz Americans voting against their own best interests, allowing the crooked repugs to get away with it time after time.

David B. Benson said...

The part of this story regarding The Shrub's White House is fairly well known:

What the Government Doesn't Want You To Know About Global Warming

The part about the Clinton White House is not. Page 2.

David B. Benson said...

Oh yuck!

Climate Threat: Thawing Tundra Releases Infected Corpses

Might re-introduce smallpox.

DEN said...

Doc, I almost posted the global warming story today but thought to do another.

More monkey shines by the c&c and gang, not surprising.

Thawing corpses? EWWWWW!

David B. Benson said...

Racism everywhere:


Last three paragraphs especially worth reading...

carol said...

Hello, everyone. It's the flu. I couldn't sleep all night and I froze my butt off. Same thing today. Finally gave in and took asprin. What a relief to sweat and throw all the blankets off.

I'm really worried about Bob. With his bad lungs this is dangerous.

Must go lie back down.

Oh, one more thing to love about this gd country. (I watched Sicko like I said I would) No paid days off where Bob works. Every day he's home sick, no money being earned. What a country.

Jeanne said...

I wake up every morning to NPR. What an eye opener. Every morning I hear the business news. Ugly.

Carey said...

Nice intro post Den.

From yesterday, Micki, you read the most artistic, poetic-sounding books. Although sumo wrestling was not one of the martial arts I had in mind. That's a weird one.

Yes, Alan, the brain doctor I mentioned said with American-style boxing, the biggest cause of boxing's brain injuries is the gloves. Take off the gloves, he offered to some surprised reactons.

Jeesus. I don't know, there's the hostility factor in any fighting sport. Kind up revs up those nasty aggressive feelings males can get. For both active participants and the viewer.

Carey said...

It's just damn scary Jeanne.
Hey, I thought of you just today, while walking, and wondered how you were doing. Really. Also thought to myself, stupid guy. What a stupid, stupid guy.

Your ex, that is, but Bush too.


What am I going to do with you miserable two? Everything sounds just awful. Gosh. Man, I'm so sorry. How rotten.

Did you watch Idol? Probably too sick, huh?


Thank you for the articles 'cept for the yucky parts. Isn't it interesting how deep racist behavior goes in the human psyche? It's so depressing. Yet another trait that won't bode us well as we trapse toward climate crisis.

Carey said...

Carol's not in a reading mood I'm sure. With the movie Enchanted out on video, this shows up in today's paper. It's Rosa Brooks, with an absolutely adorable take on Disney and the 'princess' phenom. All you males, you'd get a kick out of this too, tongue in cheek that it is.

Resist the Princesses

Watch that little darling -- corporate Fantasyland has matricide in mind.

DEN said...


I miss Walt.

Marketing, marketing, make 'em in China cheeep, advertise all over kids shows. You spoil the little buggers so you don't have to feel guilty plopping them in daycare all day with 24 other sneezing, coughing, sticky fingered little buggers all day.

DEN said...

I don't have to stand for this, I'm going to sleep.