Refoming The Fed: Bernie Sanders Blows It (Again)

I can go ahead and attach the tag “Socialist” to Bernie Sanders without fear or favor, seeing as he’s a self-proclaimed socialist.  None of this does or should change the narrative though when someone pops up with an idea: It should be judged on the merits.

Bernie gets a number of things right when it comes to the analysis part of the job, but then like so many politicians he is incapable of resolving the problem because doing so means putting an end to the games in DC — and that would mean ending his own personal power.

In that he’s exactly identical to the far-right Republican wing.

Let’s analyze.

As a result of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street, the American people have experienced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Millions of Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs, homes, life savings, and ability to send their kids to college. Small businesses have been unable to get the credit they need to expand their businesses, and credit is still extremely tight. Wages as a share of national income are now at the lowest level since the Great Depression, and the number of Americans living in poverty is at an all-time high.

Here I agree, but in some cases those Americans lost everything through fault of their own.  Being a starry-eyed speculator with your house counts — and unlike most in the commentary space I’m not afraid to say it, even though I know it will piss off a substantial number of readers.

Meanwhile, when small-business owners were being turned down for loans at private banks and millions of Americans were being kicked out of their homes, the Federal Reserve provided the largest taxpayer-financed bailout in the history of the world to Wall Street and too-big-to-fail institutions, with virtually no strings attached.

Small businesses should not, in the general sense, be taking loans.  This does not mean there isn’t legitimate purpose for borrowing money in business; there is.  But the real problem we face as a nation when it comes to the economy is entirely-centered around the replacement of capital formation with leverage (that is, debt) — two fungible things that despite the screaming from the finance industry and popular culture are not identical.

The American people are finally getting answers to these questions thanks to an amendment I included in the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill which required the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit and investigate conflicts of interest at the Fed. Those answers raise grave questions about the Federal Reserve and how it operates — and whose interests it serves.

Grave questions?  Oh hell Bernie, you got a copy of the document I published in the form of an expose’ during the 2008 time frame when despite telling Congress he was providing “unprecedented liquidity” to the financial markets Bernanke in fact pulled systemic liquidity.  Now I cannot tell you why he did that, because that requires getting inside someone’s head.  But the result of that act was clear to everyone — the stock market collapsed.

So where were your questions to Ben at that time?  I do seem to remember several appearances on The Hill and your opportunity to grill him with this fact (from the NY Fed’s own SOMA information) but neither you or any other Senator (or House Member, including the “illustrious” Ron Paul) has taken this on.

Why not Bernie?

Oh, I know why: You want to push an agenda just like the people on the right, and none of you are honest.  We’ll continue.

1. How can we structurally reform the Fed to make our nation’s central bank a more democratic institution responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans, end conflicts of interest, and increase transparency? What are the best practices that central banks in other countries have developed that we can learn from? Compared with central banks in Europe, Canada, and Australia, the GAO found that the Federal Reserve does not do a good job in disclosing potential conflicts of interest and other essential elements of transparency.

You make people at The Fed (and in Congress!) subject to the same insider-trading laws that everyone else is.  Then you start indicting people when they break the law.  That was easy.

2. At a time when 16.5 percent of our people are unemployed or under-employed, how can we strengthen the Federal Reserve’s full-employment mandate and ensure that the Fed conducts monetary policy to achieve maximum employment? When Wall Street was on the verge of collapse, the Federal Reserve acted with a fierce sense of urgency to save the financial system. We need the Fed to act with the same boldness to combat the unemployment crisis.

The Fed cannot “fix” unemployment.  The so-called “Dual Mandate” is a scam.  The reason we have a misaligned economy is because of the so-called “dual mandate” and the blatant lawlessness within both Congress and The Fed — the latter through its refusal to honor the actual mandate of price stability over more than 100 years and by Congress through its refusal to insert an “or else” into the law and then enforce it.

These failures are willful and intentional.  They belong to you and to every other person in Congress going back to 1913.  You’re a fraud Sanders, and so are the rest of the clowns in DC who bleat about this issue, because the solution is simple — but implementing it instantaneously cuts off the charade that government can spend more than it takes in via taxes without the market immediately punishing the government with higher interest rates.

But that’s an unsustainable ponzi scheme.  You know it and the rest of Congress knows it.  You have to know it, because I refuse to believe you are too mentally challenged to use Excel for 2 minutes and prove it to yourself.  You’ve also received enough faxes from me that you cannot duck the fact that you’ve had the truth laid in front of you — it’s obvious, however, that you routed said truth straight into the shredder so you can parade around saying “la la la la la la” while lying through your teeth about what you and the rest in Washington have done and intend to continue to attempt with your raw refusal to face fundamental mathematical facts.

In short the issue isn’t as you claim — it’s that all 535 of you are busy under the desk servicing The Fed so you can pursue unsustainable fiscal policies.  This is as it has been since the founding of The Fed and proof is found in the fact that over 100 years there has been no law introduced by anyone to insert an “or else” into The Fed’s charter mandating actual stable prices and real honest-to-god punishment if they don’t comply.

3. The Federal Reserve has a responsibility to ensure the safety and soundness of financial institutions and to contain systemic risks in financial markets. Given that the top six financial institutions in the country now have assets equivalent to 65 percent of our GDP, more than $9 trillion, is there any reason why this extraordinary concentration of ownership should not be broken up? Should a bank that is “too big to fail” be allowed to exist?

No, it should not.  I seem to remember that Congress is the one with the authority to do something about that though.  Isn’t extortion a crime?  Well, what do you call it when The Fed and Treasury come to Capital Hill in the wee hours of the evening and demand $700 billion via a blank check from Congress or the entire economy will collapse by 8:00 AM in the morning?

What do you call it when that plan is subsequently changed to “give ’em money” prior to Congress passing it and Congress is not informed before it votes?  That happened, incidentally, as Kashkari testified to under oath before Congress.

4. The Federal Reserve has the responsibility to protect the credit rights of consumers. At a time when credit card issuers are charging millions of Americans interest rates of 25 percent or more, should policy options be established to ensure that the Federal Reserve and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau protect consumers against predatory lending, usury, and exorbitant fees in the financial services industry?

Oh, yeah, let’s not forget who was doing the suing to block enforcement of state anti-predatory lending laws during the 2000s.  That would be the OCC, a Federal agency.  Let’s also not forget who passed the Branch Banking Act that voided state usury laws.  And let’s not forget who hasn’t exercised any oversight or its prerogative to legislate to reverse either of these acts — that would you Bernie, along with the rest of Congress.  Never mind the Commodity Futures Modernization Act and Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

5. At a time when the dream of homeownership has turned into the nightmare of foreclosure for too many Americans, what role should the Federal Reserve be playing in providing relief to homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages, combating the foreclosure crisis, and making housing more affordable?

None.  The problem is that prices are too high.  First you have industries that in “cooperation” with cities, states and towns make the old style of constructing and adding to homes a criminal offense (that is, you build a couple of rooms, then as time goes on you add to them) through various zoning, permitting and other restrictive laws, making such an impossible task.  This in turn makes houses nearly impossible to buy as they turn into “financial assets”; oh, but we’ll “loan you the money” and you just have to pay “a little interest.”  It doesn’t hurt that you stoke the idea that the average middle-class family “should” have a 3,500 square foot granite-laced palace, never mind that I and millions of others grew up in a middle-class home that measured about 1,000 square feet in the 1960s and 70s and was bereft of all of these allegedly “deserved” amenities.

If you would quit performing indecent acts on the banks in Congress and instead demand that they mark their bloated balance sheets to the market they would collapse and borrowing money would get damned expensive.  That’s good, not bad.  It would force a collapse in prices of a lot of things, including houses.  Yes, I personally would get reamed by this, as I “own” my house without a mortgage, but it’s good for the economy, not bad, when someone can save a year’s salary and buy a house.

Incidentally this is not impossible if you quit trying to do the wrong thing.  That is, if there is no inflation (because The FOMC goes to prison if they allow it to happen) and borrowing is expensive (as it should be) then house prices will collapse to about 1x incomes.  This means that the average person can save 10% of their income for ten years and then buy a house for cash!

So by the time that “average person or couple” is 30 they own – actually own in fee simple – their house.

Nobody with a mortgage owns their house.  The bank owns the house.

We all know why Congress won’t do this: It would also force a cessation of deficit spending by Congress!  We’d have to actually pay for that which we demand in Government services. 

But that’s good, not bad.


6. At a time when the United States has the most inequitable distribution of wealth and income of any major country, and the greatest gap between the very rich and everyone else since 1928, what policies can be established at the Federal Reserve which reduces income and wealth inequality in the U.S?

“One Dollar of Capital.”  Read about it here or in Leverage, implement it, return borrowing to what it should be — expensive, compared to capital formation — and the skimming operations go away to be replaced by industry.

Real industry.

And wealth is redefined as what it really is — economic surplus, not leverage.

Given the growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement and given the concerns of millions of Americans about Wall Street, we now have a unique opportunity to make significant changes to one of the most powerful and secretive agencies of the federal government. One thing is abundantly clear: Americans deserve a Federal Reserve that works for them, not just the CEOs on Wall Street.

They won’t get it with your so-called “solutions” as they’re just more dishonest knob-polishing.

Cut it out Bernie.  The truth is what it is, and the truth is that cloaking “reform” in a Socialist banner is no more correct than cloaking it in the banner of theft, which is what we’ve been doing.

There are many who call this “Crony Capitalism.”  That’s nonsense and the people need to start calling this what it actually is: It’s theft — otherwise known as stealingand Congress is the chief ringleader and promoter of same.

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