RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Vigeland reports: "This isn't arcane financial stuff we can ignore. These are the exact financial mechanisms that led to the global crisis just six (short!) years ago."

(photo: TPM Muckraker)
(photo: TPM Muckraker)

Where's the Outrage? Congress Changes Savings Accounts and Retirement Funds, and America Sleeps

By Tess Vigeland, Guardian UK

17 December 14


Nothing is permanent in this wicked world except banks getting whatever they want, whenever they want, regardless of the risk to their own customers. Two major provisions in the US budget bill spell doom for US savers and retirees

o you remember where you were six years ago? Probably not. It was a long, long time ago. December 2008 is not one of those dates that gets burned on your brain, like the moon landing, or D-Day, or the end of Seinfeld.

But I remember where I was. I was at my post as the host of a personal finance show on national radio, and I was taking calls from people all over the country who were a) furious that their tax dollars were siphoned off to pay for a massive bank bailout that crashed the world economy, and b) outraged that the stock market was responding by wiping out their already-meager retirement and college education savings funds.

In December 2008, the number of jobs shrank by 533,000, the worst monthly loss in more than 30 years. Construction permits fell by more than 12% as people stopped buying houses. And retailers got a giant lump of coal from consumers, who decided that buying a bunch of worthless junk to put under a tree was probably not the best idea when their bank accounts – not the mention the country’s – were circling the drain.

“This shall not stand!” we cried, then. “We can never allow our own savings to be put at risk like this!”

And yet. Here we are again.

Congress has passed, and President Obama has said he would sign, a budget bill that allows banks to use your savings when they make giant financial bets called derivatives. Again.

And because those savings are insured by the federal government, you, the taxpayer, would be on the hook if those bets go south. Again.

This isn’t arcane financial stuff we can ignore. These are the exact financial mechanisms that led to the global crisis just six (short!) years ago. The Dodd-Frank reform law that was passed in the wake of that crisis forbade this from ever happening.

Charlie Chaplin said that nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles. I’d add that nothing is permanent in this wicked world except banks getting whatever they want, whenever they want, regardless of the risk to their own customers. Regardless of the risk to the rest of us.

In addition to all that, this so-called compromise also contains a provision that would wreak havoc on the pensions of more than 10 million American workers, who likely have no idea this is coming.

Pension plans were promises to employees that they could count on a certain income in retirement. Unlike the 401k that most of us are familiar with, where we have to rely on our own savings and our own strategies for investing that money, pensions were a guaranteed payout.

That’s why pensions don’t really exist anymore: because they’re expensive, and if a company doesn’t plan correctly, it’s easy to run out of money. The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, or PBGC, has to take over the plans from employers who go bankrupt or bust or simply can’t make the payments.

That has happened over and over again, and workers with those pensions have found their benefits cut in half or even more.

Now there’s a real pension crisis. The PBGC itself is now in something of a hole, and warned recently that it doesn’t have the reserves to pay even the reduced amount of the income that was promised to millions of workers.

And a proposal in this same budget bill would allow some pension plans to cut current benefits to employees who are retired – if those plans can show that they’ll otherwise run out of money in the next 10-20 years. The proposal applies to multi-employer pension plans, which cover a diverse cross-section of blue-collar workers such as truck drivers and people in construction.

This isn’t supposed to be legal.

From their beginnings, if you were already retired, your benefits were supposed to be untouchable.

Change the payout on workers who are still working, sure (because it’s OK to break promises and alter people’s lives as long as you give a few years’ notice), but don’t touch the folks who’ve already started the golden years.

But now, they’re fair game, too.

Supporters say this is simply part of the necessary give-and-take of the political process. Nonsense. They can make other choices that don’t subject Americans to financial ruin.

As someone who spent six years taking calls on-air from people who will never fully recover from the devastating losses they experienced during and after the 2008 crisis, and from pensioners who watched their benefits get cut and wondered how all the financial planning they did around that number they were promised was somehow rendered useless, I wish I could go back in a time machine and warn everyone that George Santayana was right: those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it, or worse, allow it to be repeated by others.

People in the personal finance field love to talk about how if we could just get more Americans to save, if we could just get more Americans to learn the basics of the stock market, if we could just convince Americans to forego that latte at Starbucks, if we could just put Americans on a budget, then things would be OK.

But how is any of that supposed to work when banks can use people’s savings to play the roulette wheel that is the stock market – and then when they lose, they just order another cup of coffee and use the federal budget to make sure that the losses fall not on them but on the people who just tried to save a little money in the first place?

This one is only on workers if they say nothing and fail to educate themselves on what is being plundered from their futures. The powers that be are counting on you not to pay attention, or to feel so impotent that you just give up and say “Well, really, what can I do?”

How about instead of calling a personal finance show, you call your senator or representative and tell them your story, and ask them how they would solve your financial predicament? They should hear your stories. When I heard them, I got angry, I felt for you and I tried to help.

Maybe if you tell those stories, someone else will listen, and try to help. Or at least try not to make things worse. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+89 # Above God 2014-12-17 10:32
The Republocrats are bought & the Banksters & Wall Street have joined in selling out the middle class once again. When a rat's ass like Jamie Dimon has the direct cell phone # of Congress persons, How can we the people stop the gambling that have no chance of taking a loss with a taxpayer bail out guaranteed. WTF!
+86 # Old4Poor 2014-12-17 11:03
Jail Jamie Dimon. Rat's ass does not begin to describe him.

My only consulation is that these banksters have already stolen my retirement and savings. So I have nothing left to lose there.

Now, if they can get their greedy paws on my Social Securtiy (Expect that effort again soon) perhaps I will spend my 80s begging in the streets.
+26 # HowardMH 2014-12-17 11:52
If you are worred about it enough get off your ass and take a few hundred with you and go protest in your Senator's FACE!!! You know like the drill instructors in Army Basic Training do NOSE to NOSE and screaming!!!!!!

Or you can stomp up and down the mall in DC and scream your head off, but congress could care less.
+19 # jmac9 2014-12-17 14:06
But do the real thing - start and support a real change in political agenda - with candidates that are dedicated to taking back the government from the corporate swine. presents such an agenda - gets the discussion going - but we need candidates that will go the route of election and implementation.

All the 'campaigning' can be done via internet communication - skip corporate controlled media of TV -

We can make a government any way we want - our Disobedient 'founding fathers' did.
+24 # Old4Poor 2014-12-18 00:28
My dear, I am in my 70s and so disabled I can barely stand or walk a few feet. My marching/protes t days, of which there were many, are long over.

Please do not tell me to get off my ass, making the assumption that all I have ever done is to sit and whine.

I went to my first Civil Rights March in my baby carriage, and while it is discouraging to see that battle continue, I also know that things are much better than when I was an infant.

My vision is going, but I can still type and speak out and intend to continue as long as I am able.
+2 # RLF 2014-12-20 09:20
Yeah! Right! Go protest so the folks that are well paid in washington by corp. interests can ignore the protests. If you haven't noticed...prote st have accomplished exactly nothing lately.
+1 # Old4Poor 2014-12-21 11:17
Of course the protests accomplish things, just not the immediate results we would all like.

They allow people to find others of like-mind, which is BIG. AND, organizations follow and eventaully changes happen.
+7 # Thinking 2014-12-17 15:46
Do these laws to use savings to bail out banks apply only to banks or to credit unions too?
+14 # desertprogressive 2014-12-17 19:24
That's a great question. I read an article from 2013 that 4 banks do almost 96% of derivatives gambling with our money. The worst: JP Morgan Chase Citibank, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs. Maybe if the public knew, they would pull their money out of these and find a safer place for their money.
+23 # Old4Poor 2014-12-18 00:33
Credit Unions are not investment banks. They are usually local and support local investment, not these junk bonds, and Derivatives etc.

I only use a credit union and urge all others to do the same.

So many peole I know bank with Chase after being given $125 to open the account, not thinking ahead to whom they are trusting with their money.

If we would all take our funds out of the big banks and only use local banks and Credit Unions, we would have some leverage to fight back.
+10 # Texas Aggie 2014-12-18 11:42
Just the point I was about to make. The question is moot because Credit Unions don't touch derivatives so they aren't going to need a bailout.
+20 # Floe 2014-12-17 13:57
I think the Republicans are a bunch of morons but you don't seem to attribute any responsibility to the Democrats. That is exactly what they want. You see the both sides work together as difficult as all the theater would have you believe. If we the taxpayers want to avert disaster for ourselves, then we need to stop feeding the beast. Don't pay fines, don't pay taxes (if they're not garnished from wages), don't buy new things, buy organic, buy local, don't buy imported, for starters. That is what will get them hopping, instead of us for a change. But we do nothing, we truly think that if we obey the laws they'll change. Or if we supplicate them even more, they'll change. When will we ever learn?
+20 # wantrealdemocracy 2014-12-17 18:03
Oh, you above God, are brain dead? You think this evil was brought to you by the 'Republocrats'? Give me a break!! You think there is one iota of difference between the two headed corporate monster---the one head says DEM on it and the other says GOP. Only when we can all clearly see the terrible corruption in all levels of our rotten government is there any chance that we can change things---and that is what we damn well MUST DO. Step one. Face the truth. Drop your sense of loyalty to one or the other head of the corporate monster that has eaten our democracy.
+10 # The Voice of Reason 2014-12-17 20:52
Wait a minute, you mean people actually have money in their savings accounts? those things that don't earn interest?
+51 # Rockster 2014-12-17 10:44
Tess is totally on target. We all need to tell our stories everywhere and all the time. Write op-Ed pieces. letters to US and state reps call in the talk shows . I have more than a few horror stories just in my family of financial abuse and I'll bet you all do too!
+55 # cordleycoit 2014-12-17 10:46
We are being robbed and there is no law to protect us which means we have to become the law.
+56 # dick 2014-12-17 10:53
The Obama-Dimon administration is a carbon copy of the Clinton-CITI-Am ericans Gored administration & Sachs-Americans Bush-Whacked administration. Clinton-Summers -Rubin repealed Glass-Steagall & the SERIES of crashes began. The Fed GAVE trillions to banksters to use for speculation, bribery, now backed by taxpayers. But for racial & gender disenfranchisem ent, this Clinton-Bush-Ob ama-Wall St. era would be the worse for US democracy since the original robber baron era. Toss in TOTAL SURVEILLANCE, & you have catastrophe, & that is NOT hyperbole.
+55 # littlebird 2014-12-17 10:55
Now we are really in a mess because in the midterms somehow,the voters forgot that just 6 short years ago the same Republican Party that caused all the financial crisis and blocked all that President Obama tried to pass to help our economy,were swept back into power. It is really scary that we are heading back down the road to Hooverville."Th ose who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it".
+49 # Old4Poor 2014-12-17 11:06
The voters did not forget, they did not bother to vote. Perhaps they gave up in despair.

The right wing fanatics did not give up, however, so here we sit, in a further mess.
+38 # wrknight 2014-12-17 11:06
Anyone who is not outraged is brain dead.

Do You want to lodge a complaint about it and make sure you are heard? Go to OUTCRY.COM and lodge your complaint. (You must set up an account, but that only takes a minute and doesn't ask a lot of questions.) Once that's set up, your complaints will go directly to your appropriate elected officials and leave a public record that everyone can see. It also lets everyone see how many people have the same complaint and what your elected officials have done to resolve it. It's sort of like having a public report card on each of your elected officials.

OUTCRY.COM is strictly a public service website built by a handful of people dedicated to reforming our government. It's non-profit, no advertising and no selling personal data. It's success will depend on people like you using it. TRY IT! And spread the word.
+16 # littlebird 2014-12-17 12:59
Thanks for the info on OUTCRY.COM. It sounds like something that would be very helpful in getting public input and a way to inform voters about issues and a great way to hold public officials and representatives accountable to the voters. I, for one, will use it and I hope that it will prove successful.
+6 # cymricmorty 2014-12-17 19:27
I used it. I'm in a rare fury lately.
+13 # lorenbliss 2014-12-17 20:22
There is little outrage not because we're brain dead, but because more and more of us are realizing this sort of thing is merely capitalism in action: infinite greed elevated to maximum virtue, the deliberate rejection of every humanitarian precept our species ever set forth, the official embrace of moral imbecility as national policy, etc. ad nauseam.

As to Congress, that too is capitalism in action, specifically capitalist governance -- absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class, total subjugation for all the rest of us.

And as to, better review the Father Gapon case. As it was with Gapon and the Okhrana, sounds like a perfect way for the USian secret police to build a new roster, "Public Enemies of Capitalism," a mass-arrest list in preparation for the Last Roundup.
+5 # cymricmorty 2014-12-17 20:38
@lorenbliss: That did occur to me.
+25 # Jayceecool 2014-12-17 11:26
Ha! Who put our political leaders in place? The ignorant, apathetic American people, of course. True democracy requires an informed electorate...
+39 # Robbee 2014-12-17 11:31
the bulk of the $700,000,000,00 0,000 derivatives market is interest derivatives, hedging the bet, gambling with our credit, that interest rates will not go up

when, sooner or later, interest rates go up (the fed just obfuscated that this may happen in a matter of months) as they must, billionaires will have to be paid trillions, on their derivatives bets

cromnibus says that we have to make good on billionaires' bets, make these billionaires trillionaires, it's the law of the land. america is nothing more than a ponzi scheme, open only to billionaires
+16 # wrknight 2014-12-17 14:36
Actually they're using our savings to gamble. Then if they lose, they will be reimbursed by taxpayers. For the bankers it's win if they win and win if they lose; and it will be at our expense either way.
+26 # angelfish 2014-12-17 11:39
I'm beginning to believe that some Americans are ignorant and FOND of it! Unable to LEARN from the Bush Debacle and the ReTHUGlican give-aways to the Banksters and Big Business, the fools who voted in this last election have, once again, put this Country at GRAVE risk by allowing Citi-Bank to write it's own regulations! I hope to God that MORE than 32% of eligible voters will get OFF their Pity Pots and VOTE IN some responsible, CARING Americans rather than the sycophants that pass for politicians that were elected in November!
+9 # wantrealdemocracy 2014-12-17 18:10
Voting in a responsible way is NOT voting for either major political party.
+7 # Old4Poor 2014-12-18 00:39
And then you end up with more Scalias on the Supreme Court. Honestly, I am disgusted with a lot of the Dems as well but they do do some things right.

Many of our major problems at present directly rise out of a conservative Supreme Court that appointed W President.
+29 # ericlipps 2014-12-17 11:39
This is how the U.S. set itself up for the Great Depression. Banks gambled their depositors' money in a hot market, and made fortunes (not that they shared a penny of it with their customers). Then came the Crash, the stocks' value disappeared, and so did the banks' assets--includi ng depositors' savings.

And it wasn't just individuals who saw their money disappear. Businesses did, too--firms which had trusted the banks to handle their money. Without that money, many went bankrupt, destroying the jobs of their employees--whos e inability to purchase goods and services with no paychecks coming in crippled still more companies, in a vicious cycle which nearly destroyed the financial system.

We were supposed to have learned our lesson. But from the nineties on, too many people in power have assumed such a disaster just couldn't happen again. And there was all that money, just begging to be wagered in the market. . . .
+8 # cymricmorty 2014-12-18 09:10
Quoting ericlipps:
And there was all that money, just begging to be wagered in the market. . . .

And Wall Street and friends continue to drool and slobber over all that dough in Social Security (and insist on calling it an "entitlement") just waiting to be privatized...
+5 # Old4Poor 2014-12-19 07:24
Exactly. I was very ill and had to take early retirement but could not qualify for SS disability so was required by law to roll all my IRA and other retirement funds into a Mutual Fund IRA, which meant the Stock Market.

So many people were required to do this when leaving jobs early for many reasons that Wall Street was awash in money and kept selling the same crap back and forth to each other, raising the "value" each time to unrealistic levels and giving themselves transactions fees at each stage.

No wonder it all eventually crashed and burned.
-22 # 2014-12-17 12:28
Almost everyone seems to be ignoring the role of government policies in creating the last debacle and in working hard to create the next one.

Housing prices were artificially inflated by cheap federal mortgage guarantees. Banks, quite understandably, took advantage of the situation. When the bubble burst, we all got splattered.

Recently the feds announced that first time homeowners would only need to put a 3% down payment on a home -- more inappropriate and artificial inflation of the housing market.

The best way forward is to dissolve the FHA and Fannie and Freddie and put notice on the banks that they will have to hold their bad mortgages or pass them on willing buyers who would be looking carefully at what they are buying. If a bank or a mortgage company made bad choices, they deserve to go bankrupt. And American taxpayers should never, ever bail them out again.

This policy would make our mortgage market conform to near universal standards internationally and would incentivize banks and mortgage companies to be careful about the deals that they were making. It would dampen real estate markets but that is the price to be paid to avoid future bailouts.

Elizabeth Warren's (and other Democrat's) histrionics about this minor regulatory issue is unnecessary and is identical to Ted Cruz's histrionics about the Affordable Care Act.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
-20 # Roland 2014-12-17 12:32
In regards to this provision in the Dodd Frank Law which the republicans changed. “Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, no free-market crank, opposed the provision in Dodd-Frank, as did Obama’s then–Treasury secretary Tim Geithner; Bernanke has said it ought to be fixed. The general counsel of the Fed said it ought to be revisited, too, just “to make sense of it” because “you can tell that was written at 2:30 in the morning.”

Connecticut Democratic congressman Jim Himes proposed almost exactly the same language that went into the cromnibus as a standalone bill in 2013, and it passed the House with 70 Democratic votes.”
+18 # sea7kenp 2014-12-17 13:46
What's wrong with protecting depositors, and pensions?
-17 # Roland 2014-12-17 12:35
Where is the Outrage for this?

"As the Cato Institute’s Mark Calabria points out, a rule change like the federal government’s recent decision to drop down-payment requirements for federally backed mortgages to just 3 percent creates magnitudes more risk in the financial system than any amount the pushout provision could ever remove."
Patrick Brennan National Review
+6 # Old4Poor 2014-12-18 00:41
The Cato Institute? Really. Not at all a trustworthy source, Roland.
+1 # dbrize 2014-12-18 19:22
Quoting Old4Poor:
The Cato Institute? Really. Not at all a trustworthy source, Roland.

Trust but verify. Whether it comes from Cato or RSN.

If you disagree with the Cato quote provided, tell us what is in error about it. Merely questioning the source lends little to the discussion.
+4 # Old4Poor 2014-12-19 07:29
Anyone interested can google them and make up his/her own mind.

They and the National Review which was the source for the quote are well known ultra neo con organizations which favor big business interests and to hell with the rest of us.
+1 # dbrize 2014-12-19 08:42
Quoting Old4Poor:
Anyone interested can google them and make up his/her own mind.

They and the National Review which was the source for the quote are well known ultra neo con organizations which favor big business interests and to hell with the rest of us.

Agree but...I was interested in what you think about the quote, not the source.
+4 # Old4Poor 2014-12-19 14:20
Since you asked, I disagree with the quote.

A 3% down payment in and of itself is not a threat to the stability of the housing/lending market as long as those getting the loans are properly vetted re income and assets and the value of the property is equal to the amount on the face of the loan (Not the interest).

The last crash was a matter of values being raised to unrealistic highs and loans given with no qualifications and then the loans were sold fast to others who were left holding the bag.

I would never want a 3% down housing loan myself as there is a tax that kicks in when there is such a large disparity between the loan amount and the amount paid to date.

But it is a way for young people starting out who have small savings to get a home and start paying it off instead of paying rent and having nothing to show for it.
+18 # Walter J Smith 2014-12-17 12:41
Yet another example of how the neolibs (Ds) cooperate with the neocons (Rs) to impoverish everybody except Wall Street's most vicious thugs.
+18 # runningtab 2014-12-17 12:47
The economists and international development agencies I've worked with are fond of the labels "developing nation" and "emerging market."

I submit that the US is now an "undeveloping nation," as the rights once enshrined are carved away, and a "submerging market," that is sinking under the weight of its gambling debts.

This ship is going down, and I'm getting off. My lifeboat is a house in rural France.

But wait, some say, a man like you—educated, worldly, caring—should stay to fight the good fight! Make your voice heard!

Nah. I'm truly sorry to say it, because the US Constitution is an enlightened masterwork of compassionate ideals and practices, but for my money—for my lack of money—the days of the good fight are gone. The fight's fixed.

Awaiting me are pleasant, peaceful, rest-of-life years with world-class health care, in a country where bible-thumping fundamentalists , machine-gun-tot ing gundamentalists , cold-hearted Ayn Randists and ignorant denialists are the delusional fringe—not the mainstream.

Au revoir.
0 # Yakpsyche 2014-12-18 11:59
Havez vous un bon temp!
+4 # Doubter 2014-12-18 13:41
May your expectations be realized.
I expect to take the "easy" way out and die of old age before the rest of the shit hits the fan.
I'm curious as to whether it will be the country or myself that finally 'bites the dust.'
+24 # HenryS1 2014-12-17 12:49
I was waiting for Roland and to weigh in, and I was genuinely curious as to how they would defend this.

Well the suspense is over, even they couldn't find any good reason for the provision, except to try to distract us with another issue.

If even they can't explain or defend the provision, this is pretty impressively evil legislation.

I have yet to find one explanation for this provision other than that the banks wanted it badly and the Republicans found a way to trade things so that the Democrats wouldn't block it.

Naked greed and power.
-18 # Roland 2014-12-17 13:51
I have mixed feeling on the change to Dodd-Frank. I pointed out that Obama's Treasury secretary and Bernanke both thought it should be changed and that many democrats supported it last year. Maybe, we should wonder why. I then pointed out a bigger reason for us to be outraged with the federal govt., which isn’t getting attention. I see Lee is concerned with that as well. I haven’t seen any outrage at the govt. again reducing the credit worthiness of mortgages.
+13 # walt 2014-12-17 12:55
When members of Congress lick the boots of Wall Streeters and the bankers, this is what those crooks can buy at the peoples' expense.

Those same crooks are smart enough to know that the American public is so dumbed down they'll do nothing. As usual!
+11 # Floe 2014-12-17 13:53
Great article however calling your representative? My representative is the best in Congress yet he just voted to spend more money to send arms to the Ukraine! The Ukraine I tell you, half a world away, budding our noses where it's none of our business. And not enough money for pensions then? Ok right. I would say if you have any money right now, start buying real tangible things that would help when supplies will no longer continue. Solar-powered lights, solar chargers, water purifiers, dried beans and rice, that kind of thing. It will prove to be money well-spent. And please oh please, stop buying new stuff, that only encourages the jackals!
+13 # elkingo 2014-12-17 13:55
SOCIALIZE EVERYTHING, ABOLISH MONEY! Abolish the immorality of "rich and poor."
Sound crazy or stupid? Think about it.
And God knows what chaos may ensue if these assholes don't stop robbing the poor. I don't want the 80 year old guy (or,come to think about it, anybody else) having to beg in the streets. And prosecute all of the financial malfeasants for breach of contract.
+7 # Old4Poor 2014-12-18 00:43
I am an almost 80 year old Gal, not a guy, but thanks for caring.
+16 # Mambocat 2014-12-17 14:03
"Who's the man behind the curtain?" asks Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. While distracted with the smoke and mirrors of Ebola, the non-existent "War on Christmas," OHMYGAWD same-sex marriage and the ever-reliable "add water and watch the screaming ensue" of abortion, THIS is what's REALLY happening. My Dad was a wise man; he always said, "Save the front page for last and read the news section from the back forward. That's where the real news is. "EEK! GAY MARRIAGE!" in three inch headlines on the front page, "Congress Passes Budget to Gut benefits to Seniors, Veterans" in eight-point type on the last page. Wise up, people, and stop looking at the people who are TRYING to get your attention.
+17 # heraldmage 2014-12-17 14:36
The lack of fiscal education is part of the Cold War brainwashing & the dumbing down of America. The last thing the wealthy want is a national discussion on economic policies. We are told how great the market economy is & in the 21st century privatization is used to reduce the Federal Budget. However, there has never been a national discussion comparing of fiscal policies & their pro's & con's. Most people don't know that commonwealth is part of our common laws since colonial times. The post WW2 oil boom coincided with the anti- communist McCarthy Era. Which to the delight of the Oil Barons also banned books on fiscal policy. They definitely didn't want a discussion of commonwealth ownership of the vast underground reservoirs of oil & natural gas located across the nation. In 1959 when Iran's elected government nationalized its oil the US and UK planned & funded a coup d'etat, installed the Shah as absolute ruler & re-privatized Iran's oil giving the US Oil Barron a significant % of Iran oil revenue. In 1979 the Iranians re-nationalized their natural resources. The American people only knew Iran took the US Embassy staff hostage not the reason.
The 1% in order to maintain & enhance their wealth needs a economically ignorant populus. They fear the day the US populous discover a fiscal policy that uses profits from natural resources to provide for the needs of the nation & its people, including the wealthy.
+13 # propsguy 2014-12-17 14:39
you really can't blame people for not paying attention. it doesn't matter who you vote for- they sneak these things in and make them law and then you are screwed.

no one asked the american people how they'd feel about having their savings used to bail out gambling bankers. the ones who did call their congressmen or sign petitions were ignored.

what can you do? take your money out of the bank and keep it in a shoebox under your bed. pay off your credit cards and don't use them anymore. protect yourself as best you can. your government doesn't give a rat's ass about you
+3 # Old4Poor 2014-12-20 20:16
I gave up my credit cards 8 years ago. It is sometimes a challenge, such as with a major Air Conditioning repair in AZ in August, but also very freeing.
+14 # fredboy 2014-12-17 14:57
Americans are too busy texting, reading their e-mail, and cleaning their paltry homes for holiday visitors to pay attention to the solid ass-kickings they repeatedly get.
+16 # blue butterfly 2 2014-12-17 15:07
Could they please publish the names of the members of Congress who put these provisions in to the bill - at this point, I almost don't care who voted for it - I want to have the enemy identified so we can run him or her to ground at election time. POINT out who did it and what the consequences are - people can't get excited about 400+ people doing something - lets know exactly WHO did this and punish them.
+5 # Old4Poor 2014-12-19 00:51
So far no one seems willing to admit to it.
+13 # hkatzman 2014-12-17 16:51
Nothing is new. The Banksters keep coming back and creating havoc, again and again..

"In 1912, Woodrow Wilson campaigned for President using many Progressive ideas about strengthening the economy: banking reform, tariff reduction and the elimination of monopolies and trusts. The consolidation of these ideas became known as the New Freedom...

"After Wilson's election, Louis Brandeis (who was responsible for many of Wilson's ideas in the first place) wrote a series of articles for Harper's Weekly which outlined why the New Freedom was necessary and how best to implement it..

"Brandeis' central thesis was that the large banking houses were colluding with businessmen to create trusts in America's major industries. Brandeis felt that not only did trusts stifle competition, but also they became so large that they became unable to operate efficiently."

OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY by Louis D. Brandeis
University of Louisville
+4 # Tigre1 2014-12-17 19:39
Guillotines. Handy with tools? Build one, and folks who can push it down Wall Street, 'K' Street, and a few other locations...wil l appear and join you.

Must be done. Nothing else ever gets the attention of the worst money-and-blood suckers ever noted on the planet...
Wonder who the real vampires are? Hunt in those locations...and use the proper tools...hangman ropes and guillotines.

Nothing else will get positive results in this country, EVER.

John Brown was correct...
+6 # Texas Aggie 2014-12-18 11:55
For those idiots who say the two parties are the same, look at which party voted overwhelmingly for the provision and which party's leaders (Pelosi and Warren) were against it. The fact that Obama and Dimon targeted Democrats in their push to get it passed should tell you that the two parties are most definitely NOT the same.
0 # Corvette-Bob 2014-12-27 18:14
This last election hardly anyone took the time to even vote. I was out campaigning and I am over 70 and I was wondering, where are the young people, the woman, and minorities? I said that is it, I am done campaigning since apparently, most people just do not give a shit until the ---- hits the fan. Mark my words, we will have another bank collapse within ten years and the taxpayers will be required to bailout the banks. Maybe a little longer if they get our social security money to play with.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.