banking


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…so I’m not an economist, but I suspect I’m experiencing many of the same issues as those in Britain are experiencing when they voted out of the EU.  I live in Los Angeles.  One of the few things I love about LA is how cosmopolitan it is.  And that, being among the few things I love about it, compensates for the many things I don’t like about it (don’t get me started).  My brethren from here and all over the world is what has enriched this place to me.  When I see the “Brexit” folk being demonized and labeled as “xenophobe”, and, because I’m empathetic to the Brexit cause, it seems to me the media is failing to parse out and understand and therefore portray, with any diplomacy, what the real issues may be.

I don’t doubt that immigration lends itself to the issue in Britain, but I definitely see the global political-economic engineers (a.k.a. profiteers) as the demon.  Again, although I’m not an economist, I suspect that the elite in our global economy have bundled our efforts, our work, our savings, our student loans, our mortgages (once again), and our retirement accounts; our general livelihood, the same way as it bundled and leveraged our mortgages up to the 2008 collapse (that was just field practice) – funneling the gain for themselves and democratizing the risk to the rest of us – and effectively subscribing the middle class to its own deflation.  Thus, the profit margin of my life savings (which benefits me less than 1%) gets exploited and bundled into larger profit-bearing enterprises for the global elite:  exploiting the underpaid worker in China (or anyplace else), exploiting the environment, or waging war.  No doubt the Brexit vote is protectionist, but I trust Britain’s vote indicates, even more so, that it DOES care about democracy and it doesn’t care to revisit it’s own feudal history.  Carry on!

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses attendees during a campaign rally at Saint Mary's Park in Bronx, New York

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses attendees during a campaign rally at Saint Mary’s Park in Bronx, New York March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTSD35E

Great article by Ron Fournier:  http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/the-business-of-disrupting-politics/479172/

Change is going to come.

I think we have a critical mass here.  Where the electoral process – establishment politics – is not sufficiently acknowledging one-person-one-vote.  We need a national special-election:  an independent party primary between Sanders and Trump.

Awesome photo from The Atlantic.  “Kuhdoos” to the photographer:  Lucas Jackson.

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John Stumpf, CEO Wells Fargo

I just spotted the latest bank executive pay report in the Los Angeles Times and it appears that the wealth has distilled further:  from “the 1%” to “the .5%”.  Of the 6 bank CEO’s reviewed, only 3 got a pay increase.  Further, the top 2 earned almost twice as much as each of the other 4.  John Stumpf, CEO of Wells Fargo, was the top “earner” with a $22.87 million take – up 15% from last year.  Let’s look at some simple math on this – I know I have to, because if I could remember my calculus, this guy would be out of a job and he’d be blogging about me.  Anyhoo, he got the 22.87 million bucks in one year.  The U.S. population is 315 million.  The current unemployment rate is 7.7%.  If the ENTIRETY of our population qualified at that unemployment rate, there would be 24.3 million people out of work. And if this one guy lost his job, and his 2012 income alone was divided among the entire unemployed population,

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Lloyd Blankfein, CEO Goldman Sachs

we would have that many (24.3 million) more almost-millionaires.

This really lends a sense of proportion to one man’s staggering wealth.  And I’m not attempting to rally the socialists here, but if we could topple just this one guy’s position and distribute his one-year’s income, we would ameliorate this nation’s unemployment, the banks would have fewer people to lend to, and Lloyd Blankfein wouldn’t have to be the “number-two” anymore (CEO of Goldman Sachs:  $21 million income after a 75% pay raise in 2012) and get back to “doing God’s work.”

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…if ordering a 4-year supply of “I voted” stickers to wear everyday would be tactless, but those Republican sociopaths (pardon the tautology) have really raised the bar on what’s considered gauche.

The “Big Zero” decade may be over, but there’s still no escape hatch from this pyramid scheme of an economy.  We’re still beset with deflated (if not vaporized) retirement accounts, paying mortgages that are more than the home’s worth, paying usurious interest and fees to the big credit card banks – to get by, paying premium health insurance rates to health insurance companies that will ditch you as soon as you sneeze, and keeping our chins above or below the water of record unemployment.

Essentially, what started off as “trickle down” economics and deregulation of the Reagan Era has spun (with the reversal of the Glass-Steagall act of the Clinton era followed by Bush era “go shopping” leadership and Greenspan’s interest rate reductions) into Wall Street alchemy :  while the middle class was studiously diversifying their earnings into:  1.   failsafe savings & mortgage; 2. insurances; 3.  retirement; 4.  (if affordable) investment; the boys in the smoke-filled back room stirred 1 through 4 (savings, insurance, and investment) into one big usurious, fraudulent bank.  Additionally, not only did they restrict the safety-valve (vest) bankruptcy clause out of the financial contract, our interest rates on our savings went bear-market too.  Trickle down economics has become a washed up economy.  We’re all victims of this economic Katrina.  Slavery may have been sanitized by exporting it to overseas sweatshops, but while we were charging up our credit cards with dollar-store tchochkes, Wall Street seduced our government into prostituting the middle class and delivering it into middleman slavery.

Obama may be President, but here is our Pharoah (Lloyd Blankfein, CEO, Goldman Sachs:  doing, as his holier-than-thou-self says, “God’s work”):  

This guy’s so enrapt with his financial jihad that he can’t see the water rising.

Fortunately, among the sentient, there is Elizabeth Warren rendering the financial fiasco for what it is with her article America Without a Middle Class.  Additionally, tune into Huffington Post’s “Move Your Money” if you’re interested in undermining the big bank alchemy and supporting local lending.

It surprises me that for all the  financial “talent” lost and dispersed from the big investment banks that closed down through the financial crisis (Bear Stearns et al) that no one has developed the infrastructure to facilitate microlending in our own country.  Between the gaseously high risk of the stock market and the one-point-something percent savings rate of CD’s, I’d love to help chip away at the big banks’ fangs and buy someone else’s debt at half (or anything better than one-point-something percent) the interest rate being paid – if there was some safe (for both parties – no thuggery), secure, insured way to lend money directly.  We have Paypal, we have Kiva Lending, why don’t we have something to help our fellow citizens out?  That’s REAL deregulation.

Happy New Year and New Decade!  Goodbye “Big Zero” (Blankfein), this decade the dime is ours!