So now we know, thanks to Sen. Bernie Sanders, some of the sordid details of the Federal Reserve Board’s “come and get it” policy. The Fed opened its vaults—our vaults—to the tune of $3.3 trillion in liquidity and $9 trillion in short-term low-interest loans to some of the world’s biggest banks. These included giant foreign banks, as well as Citigroup and Bank of America and other large domestic financial institutions.

Morgan Stanley got nearly $2 trillion. Citigroup got $1.8 trillion. Goldman Sachs got $600 billion.

Not only that, the Fed threw money at some of the biggest corporations in the land, including Caterpillar, General Electric, McDonald’s and Verizon.

These were loans with no interest, or almost no interest, at a time when American consumers and small businesses couldn’t find loans to save their lives.

Sen. Sanders wrote the law that required the Fed, against its wishes, to disclose who got all this money.

Sanders said the revelations are “astounding,” and he’s right.

He said, “The Fed failed to require loan recipients to invest in rebuilding our economy and protect the needs of ordinary Americans,” and he’s right again.

Even though the U.S. banks that got the easy loans held most of the country’s mortgages and credit cards, the Fed never insisted that they reduce the principal on their mortgages or the interest rates on the credit cards.

“How many Americans could have remained in their homes,” asked Sanders, “if the Fed required these bailed-out banks to reduce mortgage payments as a condition of receiving these secret loans?”

Sanders smells a rate. “I suspect a large portion of these near-zero interest loans were used [by the banks] to buy Treasury securities at a higher interest rate,” he said, thus “providing free money to some of the largest financial institutions in this country on the backs of American taxpayers.”

The financial bailout was a giant boondoggle, undemocratic and kleptocratic to its core.

Leave it to Bernie Sanders, the independent socialist in the Senate, to call it like it is. Most of the other Senators are in the pocket of the banks.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Keeping Perspective on North Korea."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

Comments

GENERAL ELECTRIC !! After how many years of not paying a penny in taxes. Disgusting. Disgusting for all of the recipients.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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