Didn't the Republican noise machine spend the last few months of the presidential campaign trying to portray Barack Obama as a socialist?
So, what the hell is this? This is from Lindsay Graham yesterday, speaking on ABC's This Week:
"This idea of nationalizing banks is not comfortable, but I think we have gotten so many toxic assets spread throughout the banking and financial community throughout the world that we're going to have to do something that no one ever envisioned a year ago, no one likes," Graham said. "But, to me, banking and housing are the root cause of this problem. And I'm very much afraid that any program to salvage the bank is going to require the government.."
It's a good question, but one I'll get into that in another post, though. Let's talk about this, the stupidest damned idea to EVER come down the pike from a Republican, and that's saying a hell of a lot.
One thing I have always wondered is why, exactly, do these schmucks always talk a great game about a "free market" that doesn't exist, but when it comes to actual markets, they lean toward consolidation, and limits on competition.
The problem with the banking business is really simple, and it's all about deregulation. Removing regulations from the industry that handles money was a disaster waiting to happen. Even the Founding Fathers saw this one coming, folks, which is why they put regulation of commerce into the Constitution. It's also why they rejected the creation of a United States bank over 200 years ago.
See, in the old days before deregulation, banks competed for usiness openly and (relatively) honestly, and even a smallish entrepreneur could start a bank or other financial institution, and provide the community with funds to make it grow and prosper. The idea behind a bank was that everyone from the community put their money into it, and those who wanted to buy a home, or start a business.
For some reason, that model worked, and worked well, for 200 years. And it would still work, if we went back to the original model, wherein COMMUNITIES, or at least states, had their own banks, and controlled their own finances and destiny.
The Founders also rejected the notion of a government-owned national bank at the time, because to allow the people who run the country, and the Treasury, to run the banks would create an untenable situation. There is a reason that even the Federal Reserve is allowed to operate independently of the government.
Imagine, if you will, that an incompetent boob became president, and had a rubber-stamp Congress acquiescing to everything he wanted to do. (I know it's a stretch, but think hard.)
If that president and that Congress had complete control of the banks (which is what would happen under nationalization), what would prevent them from using your bank money (not just your tax money, but ALL of your money) to finance, say, an illegal and immoral war? Or worse yet, to invest that money in any number of unwise investments. For instance, if the government owned the banks, how would we have prevented them from investing Social Security money into Mortgage Backed Securities? After all, the government allowed for the creation of those instruments in the first place, and they are the key to the current economic decline. Imagine if they were in charge of the entire money supply, top to bottom.
And if you read between the lines, you can see why a schmuck like Lindsay Graham is even considering the nationalization of the banking system.
You see, the Republican Party's main goal is to make the rich as rich as they can possibly be. The reason they have championed the insane concept of "supply-side" economics, even after 30 years of not working, is because they are looking for any way possible to funnel as much money as possible to the already-rich, and away from everyone else. The reason they wanted to "privatize Social Security" was because the influx of investment money would have created another bubble, and floated the stock market even higher than it already was, which would then rationalize the continued theft of billions of dollars from the financial system.
And the only reason they want to control the banking system is because they want to be able to control the financial system from both ends. Imagine what they could do with an unlimited pool of money, and the ability to invest that money wherever they want, while at the same time declining investment in anything they don't want?
Whoever controls the money controls the economy. And in a system in which freedom is greatly dependent upon how much money you control, well…
You do the math.
The solution is to break up the big banks, return most of the regulation to the states, with the feds regulating the interstate activities of banks. And watching what they do. Re-enact usury laws, limit the fees they can charge, and make sure banks realize that it's not their money they're investing.
Here's a final thought. Banks are a market-based activity. Health care is not. So, why would a Republican Senator be four-square against a national health insurance system, while considering the nationalization of the banking system?
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