Monday, July 22, 2013

The Real Story of Our Country Today

No, not the Zimmerman trial or whatever else the cable channels currently have wall to wall coverage of.  It's a long story that amazingly was the headline article in Sunday's New York Times, showing that the mainstream press can still once in a while latch on to what is really going wrong with our country.  Still, the press will largely let this tale of abomination die away as fast as possible, since it is more than obvious that the government will do nothing to rectify the problem.  I am going to quote at some length from the article, because it is so important, but I urge you to try to read the whole thing, which has much information I can't include here:

"MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. — Hundreds of millions of times a day, thirsty Americans open a can of soda, beer or juice. And every time they do it, they pay a fraction of a penny more because of a shrewd maneuver by Goldman Sachs and other financial players that ultimately costs consumers billions of dollars.

The story of how this works begins in 27 industrial warehouses in the Detroit area where a Goldman subsidiary stores customers’ aluminum. Each day, a fleet of trucks shuffles 1,500-pound bars of the metal among the warehouses. Two or three times a day, sometimes more, the drivers make the same circuits. They load in one warehouse. They unload in another. And then they do it again.

This industrial dance has been choreographed by Goldman to exploit pricing regulations set up by an overseas commodities exchange, an investigation by The New York Times has found. The back-and-forth lengthens the storage time. And that adds many millions a year to the coffers of Goldman, which owns the warehouses and charges rent to store the metal. It also increases prices paid by manufacturers and consumers across the country."

Notice that this scheme, which siphons billions of dollars from manufacturers and consumers- the real participants of the economy- into the pockets of Wall Street bankers, is referred to as a "shrewd maneuver," not as a parasitic bloodsucking by bankers that we have allowed to grow so rich that they can corner the market in an essential commodity without fear of retribution.  What is "shrewd," I guess, is for Wall Street to have bought enough politicians in Washington that this sort of behavior is not a crime:
"...the efforts by Goldman and other financial players has cost American consumers more than $5 billion over the last three years, say former industry executives, analysts and consultants.

The inflated aluminum pricing is just one way that Wall Street is flexing its financial muscle and capitalizing on loosened federal regulations to sway a variety of commodities markets, according to financial records, regulatory documents and interviews with people involved in the activities.

The maneuvering in markets for oil, wheat, cotton, coffee and more have brought billions in profits to investment banks like Goldman, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, while forcing consumers to pay more every time they fill up a gas tank, flick on a light switch, open a beer or buy a cellphone.

Using special exemptions granted by the Federal Reserve Bank and relaxed regulations approved by Congress, the banks have bought huge swaths of infrastructure used to store commodities and deliver them to consumers."
"Special exemptions and relaxed regulations"...Once again, deregulation, which decriminalizes the behavior of vulture capitalists and allows them to feed on the near-dead remains of the American economy.  But it's all perfectly legal!  Because our corrupt Congress and (unfortunately) our equally culpable President, who has allowed Wall Street chiselers to run the economy for their own benefit, for his whole term, have made it legal!  Because Saint Ronnie Reagan said that it is wrong to stop the rich from doing anything they want, no matter how harmful to the rest of us, and the nation has swallowed that religious dictate whole.  So, if all of the rest of us need to periodically have our lives crushed in order to finance the speculation of the rich, that is just too bad- it's the way God meant it to be, so shut up and starve in the streets.  You do not deserve a home, or food, or medical care, but the owners of Goldman Sachs deserve the billions they have extorted from the trade in Aluminum, in return for which they have contributed nothing except a new way to fleece the rubes.
"...there is no suggestion that these activities violate any laws or regulations.

Goldman Sachs says it complies with all industry standards, which are set by the London Metal Exchange...the London Metal Exchange, which oversees 719 warehouses around the globe, has not always been an impartial arbiter — it receives 1 percent of the rent collected by its warehouses worldwide. Until last year, it was owned by members, including Goldman, Barclays and Citigroup. Many of its regulations were drawn up by the exchange’s warehouse committee, which is made up of executives of various banks, trading companies and storage companies — including the president of Goldman’s Metro International"
No suggestion that these activities violate any laws or regulations.  Of course, the laws and regulations were drawn up by a private group made up of Goldman Sachs itself, and a bunch of like-minded banks and financial groups.  We didn't violate any rule- we wrote the rules ourselves, so who should know them better than us?  And if something we want to do in the future does violate a rule, we can just do away with the rule!  See- we always act in total accord  with the "rules."  Aren't you proud of us?
"All of this could come to an end if the Federal Reserve Board declines to extend the exemptions that allowed Goldman and Morgan Stanley to make major investments in nonfinancial businesses — although there are indications in Washington that the Fed will let the arrangement stand. Wall Street banks, meanwhile, have focused their attention on another commodity. After a sustained lobbying effort, the Securities and Exchange Commission late last year approved a plan that will allow JPMorgan Chase, Goldman and BlackRock to buy up to 80 percent of the copper available on the market.

For much of the last century, Congress tried to keep a wall between banking and commerce. Banks were forbidden from owning nonfinancial businesses (and vice versa) to minimize the risks they take and, ultimately, to protect depositors. Congress strengthened those regulations in the 1950s, but by the 1980s, a wave of deregulation began to build and banks have in some cases been transformed into merchants."

Yeah, all of this could come to an end if the Fed is willing to stand up to this criminal behavior, but of course, there are "indications" that the Fed will let it keep going.  And now they are on to other commodities, like copper- a criminal enterprise approved by the SEC, after a "sustained lobbying effort."  I wonder just what that involved.

Well, let me end by pointing out once again that this monstrous behavior (which, by the way, is said to add $10.00 to every tank of gas you buy) was a crime until Reagan-era "deregulation" simply did away with the laws against it and made it legal.  I have made a jackass of myself here at Green Eagle railing over and over again that deregulation was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people, and here I am, still at it.  You do not put an end to criminals by legalizing their behavior- you end criminal behavior by putting a large number of criminals in prison, and that is where the upper management of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and all the other large-scale corporate criminals belong.  Until they end up there, we will all suffer so these people can own houses in the Hamptons and hundred foot yachts.

Don't hold your breath.


Jerry Critter said...

Using banking logic, the way to eliminate murder is to repeal the laws against murder.

Magpie said...

At first I thought this was Swiftian in its absurdity, but then I thought…. ‘that gives it too much class’.

It reads like a cheap gangster trick…. Trucks going in circles to make something look like what it isn’t.

And in Detroit… which is bankrupt. It’s an obscene mockery of capitalism.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Great Catch Green Eagle. Piss Down Your Back Reaganomics has resulted in the Theft of Trillions from Teachers, Unions, the Working Class and created the worst inequality since the Gilded Age of Robber Barons.

And worse still is the Financial Whales of today haven't created anything. They've fattened themselves upon us by Legerdermain.

Paul Avery said...

I don't know, Magpie. Even the gangsters of the 1920s wouldn't have come up with a racket like this, They had SOME principles.

Dervish Sanders said...

The financial collapse and resulting bailouts presented the perfect opportunity to get rid of the Goldman vultures. A shame it wasn't exploited. Fortunately (for them) they had an inside man with Tim Geithner.