Does anyone remember those study-challenged accounting students who old pappy recalled from about 100 years ago? (Blog # 8) Well, those lads are probably no longer around, but their successors in the banking business are still wreaking havoc and have absolutely no regrets. Well, this week I want to tell you a little bit about Elizabeth Warren’s latest book, A Fighting Chance. As I’m sure you are aware, Ms. Warren since the 2012 Elections has been a Senator from the State of Massachusetts. Prior to that election, this amazingly busy law professor worked on a number of projects which included a ten year battle to hold off changes to our national bankruptcy laws. She was unsuccessful in this endeavor since those worse than pesky bankers threw wads of cash into their effort to make taking the haven of bankruptcy more difficult. Amazing how these financial wizards can so blithely ignore the fact that they themselves are a major factor in people getting to the point of considering this embarrassing relief from overwhelming debt.
As the dust cover states, “A Fighting Chance is about what’s worth fighting for, and how sometimes, even when we fight against powerful opponents, we can win.” Old pappy and I recommend that this story be your very next book to read! Unfortunately, much of the fighting in this story is between different factions within our very own U.S.of A. Obviously, we don’t need the divisive atmosphere now present here at home. There are challenges galore outside our borders which flat out demand we come together and stand as one great nation. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, two songwriters, Charles Tobias and Cliff Friend wrote, We’ve done it before and we can do it again, a song which became a major slogan during World War II. This is exactly the spirit we need again, and A Fighting Chance promotes such a theme beautifully.
In one of her previous lives, Senator Warren was instrumental in getting the Consumer Financial Protection Board (a part of the Dodd-Frank legislation) established, but President Obama wasn’t able to name her as the first Director of the new agency because the bankers and their friends in Congress sort of “hated her guts.” A fellow named Rob Engstrom, the political director of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce even reportedly said that there was no greater threat to free enterprise than this gentlelady.
Why, Senator Warren even feels strongly that the Federal Reserve Board should afford our struggling college students loans at the same low interest rates (that’s been just a tad over 0% for some time now) as they are giving our big banks. Now there is a radical idea for you! Actually, old pappy and I don’t think the Fed should be loaning anybody money at zero percent interest. As a matter of fact, maybe our fearless legislators, with the example of Senator Warren before them, could even muster the courage to reenact the old Usury laws and not let banks or anyone else charge more than 6% interest on loans. While they are at it, a rule requiring banks to pay a minimum of 3% interest to their depositors would also be a very good thing. That way, any brilliant banker who couldn’t survive with a 100% mark-up could just try that enhanced bankruptcy thingy!
Returning for a moment to that “Usury” business: Throughout recorded history, rulers and governments have frowned upon and set limits on excessive interest charges made by moneylenders. Shucks, even the King James version of the Holy Bible has many references to this dastardly practice, both before and after Jesus. Now, old pappy and I are pretty sure that many of our present-day, morally-challenged bankers consider themselves good religious people. Odd that even the fear of God doesn’t seem to affect their behavior! I suppose they may be a bit akin to the mafia dudes who do their killing and then send their wives to confession to pray for them. Unfortunately for all of us, their immoral practices make enough money that they can bribe our needy legislators to ignore history and rely on “free-market” forces to keep things sane. These modern Shylocks are indeed a surly lot!
Thinking of that “too big to fail” situation which of course isn’t exactly resolved.
‘Candidate Warren received a primetime speaking slot at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, immediately before Bill Clinton, on the evening of September 5, 2012. Warren positioned herself as a champion of a beleaguered middle class that “has been chipped, squeezed, and hammered.” According to Warren, “People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here’s the painful part: They’re right. The system is rigged.” Warren said that Wall Street CEOs “wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs” and that they “still strut around congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.”’
“At Warren’s first Banking Committee hearing on February 14, 2013, she pressed several banking regulators to answer when they had last taken a Wall Street bank to trial and stated, “I’m really concerned that ‘too big to fail’ has become ‘too big for trial.'” Videos of Warren’s questioning became popular on the internet, amassing more than 1 million views in a matter of days. At a Banking Committee hearing in March, Warren questioned Treasury Department officials why criminal charges were not brought against HSBC for its money laundering practices. With her questions being continually dodged and her visibly upset, Warren then compared money laundering to drug possession, saying “if you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re going to go to jail… But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night.”
The above quotes lifted directly from wikipedia.
On the topic of how’d you get so rich, dude? Oh, just worked smart, eh!
From Candidate Warren’s stump speech at Andover, MA: (same lift)
“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. … You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along,”
Hound dog note – Now, is that too much to ask? I can’t speak for the rest of our grand old country, but this old dog can live with a politician who talks like that, and means it!
That’ll do for now. Plan to talk a bit on Big Bucks and the rest of us next week, your good old dog, Buster.
Editor’s note: Keeping in mind the hectic lives of our totally engaged readers, we are making an effort to keep our blog entries as brief as possible. Our objective is to assist understanding, not to burden you with useless verbiage. As always, your comments are welcomed and appreciated.
We tried; we really did, but…..“We did it once,……..”
“We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace – business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
They had begun to consider the government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt