Campaign for America's Future writer Richard Eskow puts two important headlines together from this week, about the budget cuts which will go into effect on Friday harming average Americans and the poor and the ongoing corporate welfare the U.S. government is handing out to the "too big to fail" banks on a daily basis.
Below is a long excerpt from his piece "Lords of Disorder:"
The President's "sequester" offer slashes non-defense spending by $830 billion over the next ten years. That happens to be the precise amount we're implicitly giving Wall Street's biggest banks over the same time period.
We're collecting nothing from the big banks in return for our generosity. Instead we're demanding sacrifice from the elderly, the disabled, the poor, the young, the middle class -- pretty much everybody, in fact, who isn't "too big to fail." That's injustice on a medieval scale, served up with a medieval caste-privilege flavor. The only difference is that nowadays injustices are presented with spreadsheets and PowerPoints, rather than with scrolls and trumpets and kingly proclamations.
And remember: The White House represents the liberal side of these negotiations.
The $83 billion 'subsidy' for America's ten biggest banks first appeared in an editorial from Bloomberg News -- which, as the creation of New York's billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg, is hardly a lefty outfit. That editorial drew upon sound economic analyses to estimate the value of the US government's implicit promise to bail these banks out. Then it showed that, without that advantage, these banks would not be making a profit at all.
That means that all of those banks' CEOs, men (they're all men) who preen and strut before the cameras and lecture Washington on its profligacy, would not only have lost their jobs and fortunes in 2008 because of their incompetence -- they would probably lose their jobs again today.
Tell that to Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, or Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, both of whom have told us it's imperative that we cut social programs for the elderly and disabled to "save our economy." The elderly and disabled have paid for those programs -- just as they paid to rescue Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein, and just as they implicitly continue to pay for that rescue today.
Dimon, Blankfein and their peers are like the grandees of imperial Spain and Portugal. They've been given great wealth and great power over others, not through native ability but by the largesse of the Throne.
Lords of Disorder
Just yesterday, in a rare burst of candor, Dimon said this to investors on a quarterly earnings call: "This bank is anti-fragile, we actually benefit from downturns."
It's true, of course. Other corporations -- in fact, everybody else -- has to survive or fail in real-world conditions. But Dimon and his peers are wrapped in a protective force field which was created by the people, of the people, and for ... well, for Dimon and his peers.
These institutions are designed to prey off economic misery. They suppress genuine market forces in order to thrive, and they couldn't do it without our ongoing help. The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve are making it happen.
Read the entire piece here.