It seems like yesterday that the U.S. government decided to provision its' citizens with a nation-wide tax refund. Literally, the Federal Reserve printed money and gave it to people that had given them money through taxes. This in turn devalued the global U.S. dollar; in other words, the amount of money in your bank account is now worth less so that the nation can receive a check for few hundred bucks. However, not EVERYONE in the U.S. received a check. There were many people whom had owed back-taxes; thus their refund check was returned to the Federal Reserve. Many found their check in an endless route of the U.S. mail system with the constant message of, "it's on the way," drilled in their ear by a "friendly" I.R.S. spokesman.
Then came the "surprise" failure of the Bear Stearns investment bank. Purportedly due to a failed approach to sub-prime mortgage investments. Few have really talked about their partnership with the Citic Securities, a Chinese company, in the fall of 2007 in which they swapped shares.
Shortly thereafter, in March of 2008, the Federal Reserve lent $30 billion to JPMorgan Chase to acquire Bear Stearns. Just days after this line of credit was approved by the Federal Reserve, JPMorgan Chase bought out Bear Stearns for one-tenth of the firm's market price.
Next comes yet another "surprise." The U.S. government's take-over of the previously government owned, now "sponsored," home loan banks: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The result of this take-over was quite odd. In exchange for $1 billion worth of equity in each of the institutions, the US government has allowed itself to infuse as much as $200 billion of American tax payers money. That's right. You didn't read that wrong. That 30-50% portion of your paycheck that is ripped from your grasp with little effort nor choice is being used to give 2 privately owned banks $100 billion a piece for simply bad business. Christopher Dodd, the Connecticut Senator and head of the Senate Banking Committee, raises some very intriguing questions in this NPR interview.
Now the current turmoil of the banking industry has brought more trouble to the American People. Three other private banks are now seeking "help" from the fed for their failed interests in the sub-prime market. The proposed solution by top government officials? A $700 billion bailout to cover the banks losses!? Supposedly to help "recover" the financial markets to prevent a "world-wide depression." I certainly hope the FBI's investigation turns up with some juicy truths of scandalous proportions so that those whom have caused this mess are rightfully jailed instead of given money and a gag-order.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur talks about the bail-out plan and the recent state of the financial markets. In the end, it all seems to be a game that you play once you reach a certain tax bracket.
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