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On the government's owners

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  • On the government's owners

    Glenn Greenwald picked up on what I found to be one of Bill Moyer's better roundtables, with Ohio representative Marcy Kaptur and former IMF cheif economist Simon Johnson (currently at MIT and of

    The exchange takes a very honest look at some very simple facts about big banks (namely Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank) and the amount of controlling influence they currently have over the economy and the U.S. government. As if last year's bailouts - given under a free-market Republican administration, no less - were not evidence enough, what has occured (or not occured) in the year following makes for a pretty clear-cut case that, when viewed as a whole, the current relationship between the government and the country's largest banks closely parallels similar scenarios in failed emerging-market nations.

    There are still huge, nation's back-breaking problems here, that instead of being remedied are actually being made worse as a result of the 2008 banking and market collapses. Competition has narrowed in the financial industry as a whole, there are fewer big banks and far fewer small banks (the FDIC is even running low on funding), and yet regulations that have proven completely ineffective are not even being approached at least in part due to two ongoing wars and a ridiculously bloated, twisted health-care debate.

    If America is sliding from its two-century perch at the pinnacle of global empire, it seems to me that this is what it would look like - problems that the government is powerless to truly fix, and a public whose eyes (and minds) have gradually been polarized to the point at which the blind spots have become all encompassing.

  • #2
    Re: On the government's owners

    From the transcript at the PBS site:

    MARCY KAPTUR: It's socialism for the big banks. Because they've basically taken their mistakes and they've put it on the taxpayer. That's the government. That's socialism. That isn't capitalism.
    Gerald Ford in 1974 said "a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."

    I certainly don't oppose socialism because I want to help rich people. I oppose it because rich people game the resulting system, and it's the intrinsic nature of big government that it can be gamed this way. Reducing its size reduces the opportunities for gaming it to unfair advantage.
    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

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    • #3
      Re: On the government's owners

      Socialism for an oligarchy is a totally different system than socialism for the masses or socialism for the poor. What Kaptur is talking about is socialism for the oligarchy, and what I think you're talking about is more broad-based cutting back of government services/socialism in general. In my opinion, they are both huge mistakes but also present realities.

      One, socialism for the oligarchy, is already in place (the purpose of this thread) and is a very clear example of the catch-22 'ownership' that large banks currently represent. The other - a reduction or elimination of any trace of socialism for the poor or even middle-class - would actually end up starving the oligarchy. This is widely known enough to prevent any massive reduction of the American government anytime soon, just as the former (socialism for the oligarchy) was well known enough to somewhat predictably deliver $1.2 trillion in taxpayer money at the drop of a hat earlier this year.




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