Wall Street Giant Bailout – And the Politicians That Caused It

America is on the threshold of the largest financial collapse in history, and are being forced to bailout the Wall Street Giants that enabled it to happen. The Government is pledging more than $1 Trillion in attempts to stop the downward trend that threatens to bankrupt the Country.

The sad reality is that the Government and Corporate Giants have placed American’s in this position, without any sense of remorse or conscience. For years, the large corporations have raked in Billions of Dollars from American’s, through mortgages, credit cards, investments, real estate, etc. The profit margin has been immense, enabling Corporate CEO’s to make the largest and most expansive salaries in history. Of course, the money that created this profit margin, came straight out of the pockets of the American People.

For years, the greed of the American Corporation’s have emptied the pockets of the People. Yet, now that the “fat cats” at the top are having to account for their shady business practices and illegitimate dealings via the collapse of the American Markets, those same “fat cats” are begging for Taxpayer Dollars to bail them out of bankruptcy. Yes, the American People fed these huge corporations Billions of Dollars over the years, and are now being required to send Billions more to keep them from going under! In essence, this amounts to nothing more than Modern Day Extortion, legalized and offered by our Government.

More than eleven banking institutions have failed during the last year, costing the FDIC more than $2 Billion in insured deposits. With those same institutions, more than $1 Billion in customer deposits were NOT insured, causing thousands of citizens to wonder if they will ever see their money again. Reviewing the failed banks may draw a memory of the Savings and Loan Crisis from the late 80′s to early 90′s, in which more than 750 Savings and Loan Institutions failed costing more than $160.1 Billion, which $124.6 Billion was directly paid by the Taxpayers.

It is difficult to predict which particular action started the current recession. Possibly the election of George W. Bush in 2000…or the attacks of 2001 on New York’s World Trade Center…or the illegitimate war in Iraq…the fall in housing prices leading to the mortgage crisis… Or, did this begin many years prior? Some may recall the Great Depression of 1929 when the Stock Markets crashed on October 29, which was dubbed Black Tuesday. Surprisingly, the Great Depression and the Bush Recession have such close similarities, and are a direct influence of one another.

Regulation

The Great Depression caused the Unemployment Rate to jump to 25%, still the highest unemployment in history. With unemployment at such a record high, the demand for consumer products fell, causing many companies to go under due to lack of that demand. The Financial Industry had banked on risky, cheap credit loans, which in the time of a recession are extremely volatile. Many of those loans could not be paid, causing more than 744 Banks to fail with mounds of ‘bad debt’. Depositors in those banks are said to have lost more than $140 Billion (1930′s).

Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), who was elected in 1932, primarily blamed the excesses and greed of big business for causing an unstable “bubble-like” economy. Democrats believed the issue was that businesses had gained too much power.

Mariner Eccles, FDR’s Chairman of the Federal Reserve (11/1934-2/1948) detailed in his memoirs (Beckoning Frontiers) what he believed led to the Depression. A small portion of Eccles memoirs stated, “As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth – not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced – to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation’s economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-30 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth.”

Roosevelt and the government began working on “The New Deal”, which was intended to remedy the big business power, and offer power to labor unions and farmers. Taxes were to be raised on Corporate Profits, and the regulation of business and finance was to take place. Roosevelt ensured new banking regulation, increased spending.

The New Deal sought to stimulate demand, and provide work and/or relief for the impoverished by increased Government Spending and instituting Financial Reforms. The securities industry became regulated through the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, eventually forming the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Federal Insurance via the FDIC came into play, as well as regulations to fight “cut throat competition”, the setting of a minimum wage, labor standards, assisting Unions to increase wages and purchasing power, the addition of the Social Security Programs, as well as other agricultural and financial regulation.

FDR’s ‘plan’ sought to alleviate the ill effects of the Great Depression, as well as prohibit these actions from taking place again. The Depression not only effected Americans, but caused a Global Depression unlike any other seen to date. Roosevelt knew that this could not be allowed to happen again, instituting sweeping regulation. This regulation, along with World War II, ultimately pulled the US out of the Great Depression and would prohibit this same greed and wealth from causing another financial meltdown for the Country.

De-Regulation

In the 1970′s, banks and businesses alike felt restricted by the regulations that FDR put into place some thirty-five years prior. There was a feeling of “credit rules”, prohibiting some from starting businesses, or from getting loans. While it has always been common knowledge that loans require good credit, this simply was too stifling for entrepreneurs and finance companies. This could, quite possibly, have been the downfall of our government – it brought upon the ferocious lobbyist we know today, as well as politicians who accepted lobbyist monies to represent their interests. By the 1980′s, de-regulation began on a State and Federal level.

Regulation was minimized, and eventually removed from the Finance Sector, the Business Sector, the Utility Sector, and so on. The US did see that loans were easier to achieve by offering interest rate competition, which elevated the financial markets and increased the size of the business markets. America underwent vast changes, and soon became a financial powerhouse. Unchecked and unsupervised wealth grew at phenomenal rates, enabling the growth of the Wall Street Giants that you see today.

The Housing Industry saw unprecedented growth, by the deregulation of the Financial Industry. Real Estate became a new force, with homes going up by the thousands, and loans being signed to buy those homes. The price of housing increased dramatically, and the Financial Industry was booming due to those increases. The overall goal of business during this time was to grow and encompass as much wealth as humanly possible, with the intent of a wealthier and more prosperous America.

So How Has De-Regulation Hurt?

By deregulating these industries, the checks and balances were removed enabling these same Wall Street Giants to practice business as they saw fit. Deregulation did stimulate the economy, however it also brought about corruption and greed.

The driving force behind deregulation was Corporate Greed. By removing the regulations that tied their hands, they were able to grow exponentially, creating enormous profit margins and salaries beyond compare. The Big Business of America was growing at an alarming rate; the markets soared. The expansion of business created thousands of new jobs, and more American’s than ever were making money and progressing.

Like most things in life, “All good things must come to an end.”

The same Corporate Greed that helped to enable deregulation, was the same Corporate Greed that has caused the largest financial meltdown in modern history. The CEO’s at the tops of the ladders became greedy and began to draw salaries beyond compare. With the deregulation of our markets, and Corporate Tax Breaks being handed out in hopes of a “Trickle Down Economy”, the American People were doomed to failure.

Higher Profits became the goal of business, at any cost. Business demanded newer and cheaper ways of making products, which led to inferior quality and unhappy customers. With all businesses making this movement, it became more and more difficult to buy quality products. This was of no consequence to Big Business, and the goal of “higher profits” still dominated board rooms. The outsourcing of business and employees soon became the ‘hot topic’. Corporate America began to look for cheaper laborers; one’s that did not require such employee benefits as healthcare, retirement and stock options, etc. American Jobs were now on the auction block so that companies could spend less money, and have higher profits. American’s began losing their jobs, as companies “laid off” employee after employee. American companies began hiring employees in India, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Thailand, and China (to name a few). Buildings were going up in other countries, in order to employee foreign persons to do the same job that American’s had done for years. The simple truth is that you can increase your profits beyond your dreams if you hire people at $2 – $4 per hour, over the American workers that you must pay a minimum wage. American workers require benefits, due to our markets and profit-based healthcare system, that foreign workers do not require.

As this tide began to sweep American Business, the People did anything possible to provide for themselves and their families. The increase in housing prices, the decrease in job opportunities – emphasized the enormous gaps in the modern class system. The “upper echelon” saw a tremendous growth in wealth, while the impoverished had no hopes of gaining ground. The “middle class” became split amongst those that had opportunity, and those that did not.

Corporate Greed grew at an alarming rate; completely unchecked. With anything, there is a ceiling, and that ceiling was simply too low for Wall Street. Businesses began to get loans, to pay loans, that they had gotten to pay a loan. The act of borrowing money became a way for many businesses to stay on top. Money was borrowed, only to be invested, to make more money. With all investments, there are no guarantees of profit. However, if the market choices were good choices, the money invested grew tremendously.

The Financial Industries had to keep up by offering more loans, and better interest rates to attract borrowers. A person’s income or credit worthiness were not concerns that the banks were willing to consider – Sub-Prime mortgages are a direct result. In order to sale the homes that the Real Estate Market flooded the Country with, more citizens had to be given loans. Adjustable Rate Mortgages, Reverse Mortgages and many other “shady” dealings were introduced. This enabled banks to place more people into homes, assisting the Real Estate Market with it’s enormous growth and expansion. Banking Institutions grew to unprecedented sizes, making loans and investing monies as they saw fit. The problem was that banks were investing customer deposits, and using that money to become larger, pad salaries, and offer more loans.

With the job market plummeting, American’s have made less money. By making less money you buy fewer products. By buying fewer products, American Companies make less money. By those companies making less money, loans inevitably do not get paid appropriately. As well, by the American People not having employment opportunities, they make less money, which causes their own loans to not be paid appropriately. With no one being able to pay their loans appropriately, the banks are left with mounds of debt that they simply do not have the monies to cover.

Sub-Prime Mortgages were the first that were impacted. Rates climbed at alarming rates, doubling if not tripling the monthly mortgage payments that American’s were required to pay. Remembering that these mortgages were originally made to those with “not enough income” to pay the actual mortgage, or to those with “credit concerns”. This has led to the largest foreclosure rate in history. Not only do the banks have mounds of debt for these “bad” loans, now they are acquiring properties that no one can or will buy.

The deregulation of our Finance and Real Estate Industries have led to shady and illegitimate lending practices, that the taxpayer must pick up the tab for. The same taxpayers that have lost their jobs due to corporate greed now have to bail out those “giants” with what little money is left.

The Wall Street Giants

Deregulation has enabled Big Business to grow beyond leaps and bounds. “Trickle Down Economics” have assisted that growth, but who is really profiting? It isn’t the American People, it is the few at the top who have been successful. By taking a look at only the failed companies that have required Government attention, you can see who profited and who was affected.

Countrywide, whom offered Sub-Prime Mortgages, CEO Angelo Mozilo sold off $140 Million in Countrywide stock prior to leaving the company. Upon leaving Countrywide, Mozilo stood to gain a severance package of more than $110 Million. Bear Stearns, who also offered “risky” loans, had assets totaling $395 Billion. CEO James Cayne dumped more than $1 Billion, in personally held Bear-Stearns stock, for a mere $61 Million prior to leaving. There is no confirmation as to a severance package. Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron was scheduled to leave with more than $21 Million in cash and assets, while Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd is scheduled to walk with more than $14 Million in cash and assets – both companies were completely involved with Sub-Prime Mortgages. AIG CEO Robert Willumstad has reportedly “given up” his severance package of more than $22 Million.

This is an extremely short list of CEO’s that have squandered monies in order to benefit themselves. While the American Taxpayer is bailing out these mega-giants, their decision makers are leaving with Billions of Dollars. Does that seem fair? It is an all too common occurrence, that has plagued US Corporations and the American People. The deregulation of American Business has enabled this type of “upper echelon” behavior and greed.

Who Allowed This To Happen?

There is no single person that caused this modern catastrophe, but a slew of Politicians on Capitol Hill that have been “bought” for years by lobbyist, on behalf of those Giants. Companies have employed “lobbyists” for years, soaking those individuals with money to spend on Politicians. In return, those Politicians accepting the monies would fight for that companies wants and desires in Congress, the Senate. Yes, the officials that you have elected have been “bought off” by Corporate America, to the tune of Billions of Dollars per year. The more money a company spends on lobbying, the more they were able to achieve in government; profits grew.

Rick Davis, former President of Homeownership Alliance, led the Advocacy Group which soaked politicians with Billions of Dollars on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in order to curb regulation. If the name “Rick Davis” sounds familiar, it’s because he is Sen. John McCain’s Campaign Manager for the Presidency. John McCain has reportedly received more than $2 Million from Rick Davis’ lobbying efforts.

William Maloni, Fannie Mae Senior VP of Government and Industry Relations (’83-’04), became inflamed by Sen. McCain’s “forgetfulness” about his receiving lobbyist monies and gifts. After seeing a Campaign Ad of McCain’s, Maloni was quoted:

“Yesterday, Senator John McCain released a television commercial attacking Barack Obama for allegedly receiving advice on the economy from former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines.
It is an interesting card for Senator McCain to play, given that his campaign manager, Rick Davis, was paid by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac several hundred thousand dollars early in this decade to head up an organization to lobby in their behalf called The Homeownership Alliance. …
I worked in government relations for Fannie Mae for more than 20 years, leading the group for most of those years. When I see photographs of Sen. McCain’s staff, it looks to me like the team of lobbyists who used to report to me. Senator McCain’s attack on Senator Obama is a cheap shot, and hypocritical.”

McCain’s Campaign Adviser, Charlie Black owned a Lobbying Firm that represented Freddie Mac for several years. His Campaign Finance Chairman, Wayne Berman, was a Fannie Mae Lobbyist.

It has been reported that Sen. McCain has taken monies from more than forty different lobbyist, raking in an estimated $100 Million [gifts, monies, contributions] over the 26 years he’s been in government. McCain was also a defendant in the Keating Five Scandal, in which he and four other Senators pressured regulators on behalf of Lincoln Savings and Loan’s CEO, Charles Keating. Keating had made numerous campaign contributions, to the tune of more than $2 Million for Sen. McCain alone. The most frustrating part of the Keating Five scandal is that Lincoln S&L brought upon the Savings and Loan Crisis of the late 80′s. Keating, just as the “Giants”, had illegitimate and risky business practices – by taking out loans, on loans, with other people’s money and no feasible way of recovering it. That is, without another loan. McCain is the only Senator entwined in the Keating Five Scandal that is still in office.

For a much better view of McCain’s connections to lobbyist, please visit mccainslobbyists.com/

Sen. McCain has been an enormous opponent of Regulatory Measures, and has consistently fought to minimize regulation on the Financial and Business Sectors. McCain has said that he would like to “deregulate the healthcare industry just like ‘we’ did the banking industry”, on the 2008 Campaign Trail.

McCain has voted in favor of deregulation time and time again:

He voted “NO” on Bill: S 1: A bill to provide greater transparency in the legislative process, with a purpose of exposing contributions from lobbyist, ensuring that lobbyist gifts are reported, as well as restrict new lobbyist to terms and conditions.

He voted “NO”, three times, to Bill: HR 1058: An Act to amend the Federal securities laws to curb certain abusive practices in private securities litigation, and for other purposes.

While Sen. McCain has not been the only Senator to receive lobbyist funding, he has not collected as much money from lobbyists as some other Senators, nor has he been the only Senator to vote YES for deregulation. He IS, however, currently running for President of the United States. Therefore, this type of activity should be known by all voting parties, in order to make the best possible educated decision.

The actions of Politicians such as John McCain have enabled the Market Meltdown that American’s must now endure. Corporate Greed, Greedy Politicians, and American Voters that have no clue about what’s going on in our Government… This is what has led to our current state. These actions are reprehensible, and in some cases, criminal.

Congress is currently trying to map out a plan to bail out our bank’s failed mortgages, to the tune of more than $700 Billion. Corporate Giants are using taxpayer dollars to reorganize and sell off portions of the company in order to stay afloat. Unemployment is at it’s highest rate in more than twenty years, with the loss of more than 650,000 American Jobs.

Deregulation was the cause, the Economy is the effect. Regulations were enacted by a President that realized that the same greed and corruption that caused the Great Depression, could and would happen again, without it. By Politicians deregulating our industries, they enabled that greed and corruption to, once again, break our Country.