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October 13, 2011

George Orwell Award Winner

“If you demonize the banks you demonize the American people,” the Republican Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee just said in an interview on Fox Business News. 

Equating the American people to banks is to turn the world upside down.  This is so extreme that it merits a George Orwell award. 

The American people are currently suffering from 9.2% unemployment and 16.4% full un- and underemployment (the more accurate and comprehensive U6 figure), historically high foreclosures, among a litany of other economic woes, including the report today about an historically high 4.6 job seekers for every 1 job opening.  This country faces an unemployment crisis that could well last for a generation and will impact every aspect of American society. Where did it come from?  It began with the financial meltdown of 2008. 

Meanwhile, banks are borrowing from the Fed at 0% interest, they aren’t lending, they appear to have significantly over-valued assets and maybe even under-valued liabilities, and they continue to pay themselves obscene bonuses.  What else are they spending their historically high profits on?  Much of that money is going to lobbyists, lawyers, politicians and PR specialists to defeat and gut financial reform so that the American taxpayers never have to bail the bankers out again from reckless investments and products that enriched them for years until they crashed the financial system. 

The American people saved those banks and the bankers from bankruptcy and economic ruin.  Yes, that would have taken the economy down with the financial system and, for that reason, many of the extraordinary bailout measures were probably necessary.  But, it’s long past time to re-regulate the banks and prevent them from again recklessly endangering the American economy, taxpayer and treasury. 

The real problem here is that the bank apologists equate any criticism of the banks as “demonization.”  Indeed, many of them appear to think any disagreement with the banks is demonization.  That’s just rubbish.  Nothing deserves more scrutiny than the banks and any fair minded person would agree that much of what the banks have done and are doing merits criticism and reform. 

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