Special report from Bloomberg — Adding It All Up
Allison Stewart from Need to Know with Bloomberg reporter Bob Ivry. None of this is new to Bail readers, though the details might surprise you. The Bloomberg total is $12.8 trillion.
We all know about TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which spent $700 billion in taxpayers’ money to bail out banks after the financial crisis. That money was scrutinized by Congress and the media.
But it turns out that that $700 billion is just a small part of a much larger pool of money that has gone into propping up our nation’s financial system. And most of that taxpayer money hasn’t had much public scrutiny at all.
According to a team at Bloomberg News, at one point last year the U.S. had lent, spent or guaranteed as much as $12.8 trillion to rescue the economy. The Bloomberg reporters have been following that money. Alison Stewart spoke with one, Bob Ivry, to talk about the true cost to the taxpayer of the Wall Street bailout.
. pic : http://www.socialist.net
Post by Finian Cunningham
Global Research, January 13, 2011
From the ongoing hell of Haiti’s earthquake victims to the horror of families being swept to their deaths in Australia’s catastrophic floods, one conclusion is clear despite the mainstream news media’s usual myopic coverage: this is the perverse payback of the capitalist system. A system in which the private profit of an elite dominates all other needs of the common people – no matter how vital those needs are.
Decades of exploitation and neglect of social needs are now magnifying manifold the impacts from natural phenomena that are part and parcel of living in a physical world. Such events are inevitable, but the extent of destruction is not – only it is inevitable because of the perverse profit system that mandates death and destruction in the wake of its seismic injustice.
Whether it is profiteering by US transnational corporations from Haiti’s sweatshop poverty or profiteering by Australian property developers and banks – all aided and abetted by supine governments that do the bidding for these entities by slashing taxes on the wealthy and giving free rein to their depredations – the appalling bottom line is that the vast majority of citizens are being abandoned more than ever in the face of the consequences. The same gargantuan scam of privatizing profits, socializing costs is evident elsewhere around the world as countless people die from freezing weather in North America and Europe simply because they can’t afford to heat their homes or even live in a home.
Adding insult to injury is the pathetic, callous response of these servile governments as the increasing havoc of crony capitalism descends. Despite initial pledges of generous aid to Haiti from the US government, scarcely a cent has actually been sent as more than a million people in that Caribbean country continue to live in makeshift tents and thousands more die from cholera. (By contrast, the solidarity of ordinary Americans digging deep into their already threadbare pockets to send over $1 billion in aid to Haiti is truly edifying – and a sign of hope for the coming necessary historic change.)
Meanwhile, the Australian government talks about handing out millions-of-dollars-worth of aid to tens of thousands of flood victims, compared with billions-of-dollars-worth of profits that were siphoned off by a coterie of bankers and developers who were allowed to build whole towns on high-risk lands. But through its crocodile tears this same government insists that federal budgets must still be balanced to placate the same financial oligarchy. Citizens are exhorted – via the usual media mouthpieces – to drum up “self-reliance”. One wonders what the mothers who had babies ripped from their arms by the torrents make of that scrap of advice.
Among the insults from the global oligarchy is the absurd response to the Australian crisis from British prime minister David Cameron who announced that the United Kingdom stood ready to help its former colony. What? Help from a government that is forcing draconian austerity budgets on its populace and sending in police riot squads to bludgeon civil protest. Surely this is public relations at its most absurd. Or how about the report that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is making a personal (but undisclosed) donation to help her subjects in Queensland. How touching that this blue blood antecedent of the global oligarchy should dip into the £10 million or so a year that she sucks from the taxpayers.
So there you have it. The ordinary workers and citizens spend a lifetime being exploited, neglected, degraded and ripped off by the wealth-siphoning system – otherwise known as capitalism – and then when the walls of that same unsustainable system come crashing down, we are informed through a loudhailer by the rich and their puppets on safer ground: you are on your own.
But the truly heartening and inadvertent thing is that we are not alone. We are in vast and growing numbers, and through the mayhem and misery, we – the vast majority of ordinary people around the world – are realizing that the empire of capitalism is finished and its last vestiges of rotten corruption must be swept away and a new society needs to be built; one where social needs are served by economics and politics. It is a harsh and horrendous way to learn, but we are nevertheless learning.
|Finian Cunningham is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Finian Cunningham
Complete list of bondholders inside, and BBC footage of Sir Eveylyn de Rothschild. The deceased Guy de Rothschild, pictured, no longer exploits the masses for banking profit, but his progeny carry on his legacy effectively.
Scroll down for VIDEO of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild…
Guess what, Ireland. Brian Lenihan and Brian Cowen just sold you down the IMF river. Why? To bail out bank bondholders and giant European banks. Of course! That’s what governments are for these days, apparently. And they’ll tell you that the bailout policy is all for you own good. And for little old ladies and pensioners and orphans. Just don’t tell that to the cancer patients.
Check it out below — Guido Fawkes’ blog has acquired the list of Anglo-Irish Bank’s bondholders.
Anglo-Irish Bank did not represent a systemic risk to the Irish economy, it wasn’t a high street bank like AIB or the Bank of Ireland. If it had been allowed to go the way of Lehmans the only losers would have been shareholders and bondholders. The Irish state stepped in and nationalised a bank that was basically run by crooks lending to property speculators.
- The Irish people are taking losses that should rightly have been shouldered by bondholders.
Every child in Ireland is being bequeathed a huge debt at birth to protect the interests of foreign, mainly German, bondholders – why? Guido was once a bond trader, it was always understood that sometimes the bond issuer defaults.
- That is the risk investors take.
So why is Dublin’s political establishment so keen to protect foreign investors at the expense of future generations? Guido has obtained the list of foreign Anglo-Irish bondholders as at the close of business tonight. These are the people whom Dublin’s politicians really seem to care about:
Great analysis of the list from the Golem XIV…
Of the 80 listed companies only 7 listed pensions and being a cooperative savings institution. Of those only 4 listed churches and unions as their clients, the others could well have been big pension funds. The churches and unions in question were in Germany not Ireland. Those seven companies are amongst the smallest of Anglo Irish’s bond holders. I only have figures for four of the seven. The largest, Union Investments of Germany, has a mere €165 billion in assets under management.
The total assets under management which I was able to compile from publicly available figures is €20,871,150,000,000. That is an underestimate because the bond holders who turn out to be Private and Swiss banks don’t publish any figures. So Anglo Irish’s ‘bond holders’ hold and invest MORE than 20.8 trillion euros. Guido lists those bond holders as holding between them 4 Billion euros in Anglo Irish bonds.
Now, in my opinion both figures are likely to be wrong. Certainly my figure is a large underestimate. But taking them at face value Anglo Irish would account for one 5000th of the total assets being managed by all the bond holders. So would even a total default by Anglo Irish cause that much, let alone systemic, pain and risk? Why are the ‘Bond holders’ and the Irish government so concerned that the Irish people be forced to take the loss and pay the debts for them?
Now lets look at the other side of the equation, at Ireland itself. Well Ireland’s GDP before the crash, in 2008, was … drum roll please… €207 billion. Or 0.207 trillion.
SO…. on one side we have Ireland whose bond holders, its people, have between them a total GDP wealth of 0.207 trillion euros. Who are being FORCED, against their will, to pay Anglo Irish bank’s debts to its bond holders, who between them hold 20.8 Trillion euros. The people of Ireland are paying to, and protecting the wealth and power of, people who have 100 times more wealth!
So where do these wealthy bond holders live and work?
Germany has the most with 15 of the bond holders. Who between them hold 5.3 trillion euros.
France is next with 10 bond holders. Who have about 4 trillion to keep them warm.
Britain is third with 9 who have around 3 trillion.
The Swiss have 6 but who have about 8.5 trillion.
America has only three and hold only a trillion.
Other nations include, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Holland Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland, South Africa and Italy.
All these figures are very rough. The figure for Switzerland is certainly under because Private Swiss banks just don’t publish figures. What we can say for sure, figures or no figures, is these are not banks investing widow’s pensions or orphan’s pennies.
So who are they? Well many of the bond holders are privately held banks, which list their activities as asset management for off-shore, non-resident and high value individuals. To give you an example, one of the private banks is EFG Bank of Luxembourg. EFG stands for European Financial Group which is the third largest private bank group in Switzerland. It manages over €7.5 trillion in assets. It is ‘mostly’, 40%, owned by Mr Spiro Latsis, son of a Greek shipping magnate. He also owns 30% of Hellenic Petroleum. His personal fortune is estimated to be about $9 Billion.
DB here. Blasphemous rape of a nation in order to reward billionaire bondholders who were reckless investors and malignant in oversight.
Video – Text from Youtube page – Sir EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD talks about the global financial crisis to the BBC in October 2008…
In 2003, following the retirement of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild as head of N M Rothschild & Sons of London, the English and French firms merged to become one umbrella entity called “Group Rothschild.” Ownership was shared equally between the French and English branches of the family under the leadership of David de Rothschild. In 2007, the English branch sold their share to the French branch. The French branch now fully own N M Rothschild & Sons.
|The US Federal Reserve chairman looked depressed in an interview with the television show 60 minutes because the economy may be heading for a depression, says Danny Schechter [GALLO/GETTY]|
Go, Wall Street, Go!
Never mind the rise in unemployment and foreclosures. Never mind the folks waiting to know if they will get the benefits they need before they are cut off. Never mind the growing gap between rich and poor, and the rapid spread of poverty. (Did you know that inequality in the US is at the highest level of any industrialised country?)
Does any of this matter?
The idea of equality as a social goal is apparently passé. Christmas has a special meaning on Wall Street: It’s bonus time.
Just five too big to fail bankster companies have stashed $90 billion for payouts to prized employees. They know that the beat on The Street is fading, so it seems to be take the money and run time. Incidentally, that “bonus pool” will rise with end of the year earnings.
Right now, the greedsters have a PR problem – how to transfer all this wealth from the banks to themselves with the lowest possible tax rate and the lowest degree of bad publicity. They also will try to focus the media on supporting their right to such over the top rewards and “incentives” in the name, of course, of fostering an economic recovery.
Selling your soul for a sixpence
Yes, it is a cynical exercise but no more blatant that the successful campaign to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires. The mantra is simple: to those who have, more should be given. So say the faux populists of the Tea Party and their Republican benefactors. So say the Democrats in the interest of compromise and getting some unemployment benefits to workers even at an unacceptable cost.
Who will remind the American people that many of these banks are only here to pay because the government – our government – bailed them out and, then, the Federal Reserve Bank pumped trillions in low-interest loans into their coffers.
Can we count on the media to point this out, to make the connection clear about the many government subsidies behind the gigantic payouts that are on the way to companies lobbying against government programs? Don’t count on it.
Last Sunday, the television programme 60 Minutes sat down with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, they asked him about the bonuses. The Fed head had nothing to say about that. He just wanted to praise his own efforts to save the financial system.
The language that never lies
If you watched his body language you could see that his stab at optimism was forced. He admitted it will be at least five years – if that – before more jobs come back. He seemed depressed perhaps because he didn’t want to tell us we are in a depression. His past track record as a forecaster has been flawed to a fault. That was not noted.
As is common these days on the networks, no criticisms or contrary concerns integrated into this world-shaking interview. There was no comment from Bernie Sanders who challenged the Fed’s admission of a “jaw-dropping” injection of trillions into banks here and abroad. There wasn’t even a response from libertarians like Ron Paul who was also horrified.
So much for reporting.
David Degraw of Amped Status says the recent Fed disclosures were shocking.
“Just when I thought the banksters couldn’t possibly shock me anymore… they did. We were finally granted the honour and privilege of finding out the specifics, a limited one-time Federal Reserve view, of a secret taxpayer funded ‘backdoor bailout’ by a small group of unelected bankers. This data release reveals ‘emergency lending programs’ that doled out $12.3 trillion in taxpayer money – $3.3 trillion in liquidity, $9 trillion in ‘other financial arrangements.’ Wait, what? Did you say $12.3 trillion tax dollars were thrown around in secrecy by unelected bankers… and Congress didn’t know any of the details!?”
Of course not!
Wall Street: master of puppets
The myth that the media continues to truck in, is that somehow the Congress and the President are in charge of the economy. They aren’t. Wall Street and the corporate world are clearly running the show, with little restraint so far, effective oversight or regulation.
Back to Degraw: “The Federal Reserve was secretly throwing around our money in unprecedented fashion, and it wasn’t just to the usual suspects like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, etc.; it was to the entire Global Banking Cartel. To central banks throughout the world: Australia, Denmark, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, England… To the Fed’s foreign primary dealers like Credit Suisse (Switzerland), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Royal Bank of Scotland (UK), Barclays (UK), BNP Paribas (France)… All their Ponzi players were ‘gifted.’ All the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations got their cut.”
Degraw continues: “If you still had any question as to whether or not the United States is now the world’s preeminent banana republic, the final verdict was just delivered and the decision was unanimous. The ayes have it…. I’ve been arguing for years that the market is rigged and that the major Wall Street firms are elaborate Ponzi schemes, as have many other people who built their beliefs on rational thought, reasoned logic and evidence. We already came to this conclusion by doing the research and connecting the dots.”
Where does this leave us? Is there any hope?
In search of a ‘scape goat’
The critics of the Fed see little: There are some related developments underway that could shake things up. The Bernie Madoff ponzi probers are targeting banks including HSBC that went along with his $65 bn dollar fraud. A Swiss bank has already admitted it was complicit. The FDIC is investigating officials from banks that failed. Bank of America just coughed up millions for financing an illicit bond scheme.
At the same time, the “Justice Department” has mounted an investigation into insider trading. They say there are 343 criminal investigations underway but none against big players. ProRublica writes: “Everyone is wondering: Where are the investigations related to the financial crisis?”
John Hueston, a former lead Enron prosecutor, wonders: “Have they committed the resources in the right place? … Nobody from Lehman, Merrill Lynch or Citigroup has been charged criminally with anything.”
At the same time, WikiLeaks is promising new revelations about financial chicanery at a major US bank that many suspect is Bank of America. On the housing front, many class action suits and investigations by state officials are challenging major fraudclosures.
The crimes of Wall Street may yet do the bonus babies in. There is still a slim chance that, as the economy gets worse, the people of this country will finally get to see through the haze and the BS and act. Neither the Democrats nor the Repugnicans seem to have any fresh ideas.
It’s up to us to break through our own illusions to fight the plunder of our country and world. We need to call for a jailout, not a bailout. of financial criminals – a full investigation followed by the prosecution of wrong doers. We need a campaign for economic justice.
If you are as disgusted by all this, as I am, it’s time to act. Will we? Will you?
Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org. He directed Plunder The Crime of Our Time, a film on DVD about the financial crisis as a crime story. (Plunderthecrimeofourtime.com)
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.
|http://www.voltairenet.orgby F. William Engdahl*
The embattled Euro has gotten a surprise boost from an unexpected quarter―China. The country with the world’s largest foreign exchange currency reserves, China, has pledged to support Greek debt as well as the Euro in what is clearly a geopolitical decision. In doing so, China has signaled it seeks to prevent the US financial warfare attack on Europe and to play the EU off against the USA in a geopolitical chess game of a fascinating dimension.
6 October 2010
Chinese Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, on an unusual visit to tiny Greece, a country which normally would never warrant such a high-level visit from the world’s fastest growing economic giant, has pledged support for Greece and for the Euro. According to the official Chinese Xinhua News Agency (and China Daily), “China supports Greece in firmly carrying out structural reforms and cutting its fiscal deficits to improve competitiveness. China welcomes the EU and the IMF’s rescue package for Greece and stands ready to help Greece out of recession.”
What it means concretely was made clear by Wen Jiabao at a press conference early October in Athens when he stated, “‘China is holding Greek bonds and will keep buying bonds that Greece issues. We will undertake to support eurozone countries and Greece to overcome the crisis.” The last statement is far the most significant. It indicates that China has made a strategic decision to counter any future attempt by US-based hedge funds and banks to attack the weak countries of the Eurozone, including Ireland, Spain, Portugal or Greece. Early this year, as we noted at the time, Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs, working in tandem with the US-based credit rating agencies, Standard & Poors and Moodys and Fitch, exploded the Greece financial crisis at the precise time China and other major investors were beginning to have serious doubts about the fiscal stability of the United States and of the dollar.
Let me be clear. The Euro as it stands, the supranational European Central Bank and the EU approach to international financial stability is not merely a flawed construct. It is inherently programmed to crises. It was born as the product of flawed rotten political compromises in te 1990’s through the Treaty of Maastricht as an attempt by France and Italy and Britain to control an emerging German economic colossus after German unification.
However, the concerted attack by a group of New York hedge funds such as George Soros’ and Paulson’s earlier this year and the precisely timed credit downgrade of Greece to “junk” status were part of a concerted US strategy of financial warfare against that Eurozone, the only potential alternative to the dollar as world reserve currency. Should the US dollar lose its status as the world leading reserve currency—today it still counts for some 65% of central bank currency reserves—the United States would be ultimately doomed as world sole Superpower.
Now the surprise announcement by China of plans to support Greece and the euro give an unexpected boost to the embattled country and to the euro and expose the dollar even more to possible selloff.
Greece desperately needs foreign investment to help it meet terms of a €110 billion bailout from eurozone members and the international monetary Fund that saved it this spring from state debt default.” I am convinced that with my visit to Greece our bilateral relations and cooperation in all spheres will be further developed,” Wen said on his way to Brussels for an EU-China Summit.
Like most things that China does these days, it is part of a shrewd political calculation. Greece has agreed to support EU recognition of full market economy status for China within the EU, while China agrees to back Greece’s call for UN mediation over Cyprus. The two countries will will cooperate on development as well of Piraeus Pier, upgrading it to a distributing and transfer center for Asian exports to Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea.
As if specially timed, US hedge fund speculator, George Soros, who is currently appealing a French court conviction for insider trading,  has come out publicly blaming the German government of Angela Merkel for austerity measures he says will lead the Euro Zone into a “deflation spiral,” demanding instead more of a US-style fiscal stimulus.
US financial warfare against euroland?
Notably, Soros has been one of the strongest voices against the Euro at a time when the world, at the end of 2009 was losing confidence in not the euro but the US dollar. On February 26, the Wall Street Journal reported details of a secret New York meeting involving billionaire hedge fund speculator George Soros of the $27 billion Soros Fund Management, along with SAC Capital Advisors LP, Greenlight Capital and undisclosed others. Accoording to the Journal report, they agreed on a concerted attack on the Euro, using the Greek financial crisis as the lever to make the attack credible. Earlier this year, speaking at the Davos World Economic Forum, the same Soros boosted the potential of the secretly planned collusion against the Euro, when he told press there was “no attractive alternative” to the dollar, a signal for a de facto attack on the Euro which was regarded six months ago as an alternative to the dollar as world reserve currency. He added that the Euro’s “problems” made it an unviable substitute reserve currency.
Soros’ anti-Euro remarks were followed by prominent New York economist Nouriel Roubini, who said that Europe’s fiscal woes were creating “a rising risk” that its single-currency alliance will splinter. “Down the line, not this year or two years from now, we could have a breakup of the monetary union,” Both Roubini and Soros are close to the Obama Administration. Soros was one of the first financial backers of Obama and Roubini is reported very close to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Following his hedge fund “chat” about the future of the euro, on February 22, Soros wrote an OpEd article in London’s Financial Times, the world’s most prominent financial daily in which he stated, “The survival of Greece would still leave the future of the euro in question.”
The attack on Greece and the euro early this year also involved the most powerful players on Wall Street, the Gods of Money as I term them in my new book. The politically powerful Wall Street bank, Goldman Sachs, has been in the middle of the Greek financial manipulations since Greece entered the Euro in 2001. They were also involved in the January 2010 Greek crisis attack. On January 29, Goldman Sachs went with a number of top Wall Street firms to Greece where they met the Greek deputy finance minister and the National Bank of Greece. The Soros hedge fund attacks began several days after that.
According to the Wall Street Journal report, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and London’s Barclays Bank joined Soros and the hedge funds, making bets against the Euro at the same time Goldman Sachs is acting as an advisor to the Papandreou government, which would appear to be a rather clear conflict of interest.
The US-based credit rating agencies, Moodys and Standard & Poors also played a critical role in weakening the Euro earlier this year. At the time the EU governments announced agreement in principle on a Greek bailout package in order to stabilize the speculative attacks on the euro, on Appril 27, Standard & Poors announced an unprecedented rating downgrade of Greek government debt by three-levels to “junk grade.” That move insured that pension funds and other investors would be forced to panic sell Greek bonds, a move that greatly exacerbated the pressures on the Euro.
Asia Crisis and British Pound EMU crisis
The pattern of the hedge fund attacks on the Euro follows the financial warfare strategy carried out by select US hedge funds previously. In 1992, on what many market professionals believe must have been insider information, Soros claimed to have made $1 billion speculating against the British Pound Sterling and forcing the British government to abandon plans to bring Britain into the emerging Eurozone. Had Britain and the powerful financial resources of the City of London come into the new Eurozone, many in Wall Street and Washington privately feared that could spell the death knell for the dollar as world reserve currency. The fact that the dollar is world reserve currency has been one of two strategic props for American power in the world, the other being the Pentagon. Were the dollar to lose that, the future of the American Century, the sole superpower would be mortally in doubt.
Similarly, in May 1997, it was a concerted hedge fund attack again led by George Soros’s Quantum Fund, joined by Moore Capital Management and Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management Group and his Jaguar and Tiger funds, against the currencies of the Asian “Tiger” economies that turned Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia. The wrecking of the Tiger economies in 1997-1998 turned those economies from self-sustaining dynamic economic growth, largely financially independent of US or IMF control, into de facto buyers of US Government debt as Asia tried to defend against future attacks. Like the Sterling crisis of 1992 the 1997-1998 Asia Crisis also served to give a few more years of life support to the fragile dollar.
Now, as the US depression deepens and the dimension of the banking problems worsens by the Day; the dollar’s future is threatened as never before. To counter this, clearly the most powerful circles of Wall Street and the Treasury and Federal Reserve are magnifying the small Greek crisis into an exaggerated picture of “collapse of the EU” in hopes of ruining the Euro as a potential alternative to the dollar for foreign central banks. This is not to say that the Euro and the Maastricht Treaty are a model for a healthy alternative to the problems of the dollar region. Far from it. It is merely to identify the geopolitical power battle going on behind the scenes to keep the dollar Titanic from sinking. China has evidently decided to weigh in on that battle on the side of the euro.