Apr 28, 2010

Banks and other American Institutions Considered Too Big To Fail: It's Cheaper To Keep Them (The Current Policy of The United States Gov't) (II)

Subject: 'It’s Cheaper To Keep Them (Failing, Faltering and Mismanaged American Institutions)'.

Introduction: It Is Time for Banks and other Perennial American Stalwart Institutions That are Considered to be Too Big Too Fail To Be Brought Back into the Real World!

The Federal government’s position, that it is cheaper to keep the failing institutions is a failed policy, and it is tantamount to domestic spousal abuse, with the American people being the spouse, and the Federal Government the abusing husband.

What we have been witnessing recently, given the irresponsibility of financial and other giant American institutions (the American corporatocracy), and the government's willingness to partner with them in crime, before and after the fact, is what I refer to as the American institutional conundrum of permitting a solvable problem to persist, as opposed to fixing rather than underwriting the problem.

I also think of it in terms of American corporate and governmental spousal abuse, the spouse being the American citizenry and the abuser being corporate America in bed with American government. Given the recent economic collapse of the worldwide, American led macroeconomic system, the phrase “too big too fail”, has entered into American parlance, if not the American lexicon.

And having said that, financial institutions are not the only institutions in the American system that fit the paradigm of being considered to be 'too big too fail'. In fact there are many other ones that fit into this category. A number of American institutions, since World War II, have grown to astronomical proportions.

Some have become so large and powerful, that the larger ones easily employ as many as 100,000 individuals or more. Going back to the colonial period, around the 17th and 19th centuries, today’s American corporations especially, remind me of those large seagoing organizations that were created and run by the British Empire. Names like the East India Company and the British India Company come to mind, and later the Atlantic and Pacific Tea companies.

These mammoth maritime organizations were so powerful, that they controlled the economies of other nations in practically every other continent in the world outside of Europe, as well as the seas. These organizations became the defacto governments of several nations that they occupied.

In America, the United States Federal Government, is the biggest employer of them all to include giants like IBM, Cisco, General Motors, Chrysler ...

Many of these organizations are clearly monopolies, and others like them frequently engage in monopolistic practices and indiscretions. And still, they manage, somehow, to skirt anti-trust and other laws that you, me and some other organizations are bound to abide by.

And that reminds me of one of the first things that I was told when I was transferred out to Washington DC several years ago, work which caused me to be involved with the Congress of the United States of America on an almost daily basis.
That the United States Congress typically exempts itself from the laws that it creates (that all other Americans and American institutions are obliged to follow).
Aside from Congress, these giant behemoth institutions, for the good that they do by employing a considerable number of Americans, wield considerable influence over the American political process, other American institutions and most of the major decisions that are made in this land.

Given that we are a consumer driven economy, the power of corporations determines, by and large, the buying habits of most consumers, domestic and foreign, and how much the average American can spend. Given the political wealth and geographical reach of these institutions, some are multi-national, with their wealth they can purchase as well as sell influence which controls the world-wide macroeconomic system.

It is not uncommon for corporations to get what they want from the American consumer or from federal, state and local governments. Consider the large insurance companies and their ability of late to prevent the pass of Single Payer insurance and the government option. The American people, 60% told our President and Congress what we wanted, and instead the insurance lobby, given its influence on Congress won out.

The majority of American voters wanted and still wants a public option to be put into place, an option for insurance buyers that would increase competition and provide an alternative for consumers against large insurance monopolies. A public option would also help to lower health-care costs. And given the dollars that they spent, Insurance Companies, and the influence that they wielded with our elected officials, the public option went by the wayside.

Many of these institutional giants employ corporate lobbyists to do their bidding for them. Most Americans are not aware that there are over 300,000registered lobbyists in America. And God only knows how many unregistered lobbyists, foreign and domestic, there are that influence the American political process, America’s power structures and official American domestic and foreign policy.

How many of you have ever been exposed to one of these registered or unregistered lobbyists. Given the ratio of lobbyists to American citizens, it would appear that each one of us would know or have come into contact with one or more of them at some point in our lifetimes. There are far more of them, a ratio of about 600 to 1, to each one of the individuals that we vote into Congress to represent us.

Many of these lobbyists have offices on “K” Street in Washington DC, just a stones throw from the White House, and just a short distance from Capitol Hill. They have more access and power over our representatives than the average American citizen does – truly, they are all in bed together.

Now given the large numbers of lobbyists and dollars that are retained by most corporate organizations, in comparison to the number of individuals who represent you and me in Washington DC, and the money that you and I can afford to spend - one can you understand why corporations get what they want. On the other hand, for the American people, it seems the other way around for instead, ‘the more things seem to change, the more they seem to remain the same. So much for a representative democracy then!
Someone once said of our government, 'it is the best that money can buy'!
It ought to be evident, by now, which institutions there are that are buying wholesale the American government. I tried to explain to a rather erudite friend, just a few months ago, that to be honest, the American people really do not have representatives in Washington. He couldn’t understand that. I explained it this way. Yes, you voted to place someone into office, but the person who has the ear of the person that you voted into office is not you. Too many of our officials are bought and sold by influence peddlers.

Now if you didn’t understand what I mean let me put it this way. The reason that you don’t have a Congressperson or Senator representing you in office, individuals that the American electorate vote in to office, is because in actuality, in all too many instances is because they are being controlled by corporate and foreign interests. The average American, cannot afford these goons, lobbyists, and instead believe that our votes are simply all that we need.

And as a result we are being abused by a system that can afford to pay them, with taxpayer money no less, the Federal Goverment. Our trusted politicians who are in bed with lobbyists and much of corporate America, have been retained/bought and sold by American corporations with their own parochial interests.

In addition to Federal lobbyist organizations, there are state lobbyists and State lobbying organizations. I was surprised to learn just the other day that the 3rd largest lobbying organization in my beloved home state of California is the Native American Lobbyist organizations.

To wit, the corporations and financial institutions get what they want and the American people never seem to get what we want no matter who we elect to office.. Here’s a thought, why don’t the American people simply form the American People’s Lobbyist Organization, then perhaps we can raise enough money to pay the politicians that we in good faith vote and have voted into office to do what we tell them to do?

What recently took place with domestic and other world-wide financial institutions, and in fact has been going on for some time now, reminds me a lot of what has historically taken place within another domestic American institution.
I am talking about the American family and spousal abuse that is typically being inflicted on the family by the alpha male!
Both the government, and many American institutions are guilty of nothing short of spousal abuse of the American people. The American people are the subordinate spouses who in many ways are married to the government and corporate and financial institutions, the institutions are behaving like abusive and controlling spouses!

There was a time, in our majoritarian society (women are now the current majority in America), when the male was considered the power-broker in the household. He earned the wages, was the sole bread winner in the household and therefore he wielded incredible power and influence over the family. In male-dominated households, both past and present, the wife and kids were solely dependent, as a rule, on the male financier, bread-winner and sustenance provider for a roof over their heads, food, energy coming in their domicile, clothing…

These males wielded so much power, that given the nature of the human animal, it didn’t take long (even though we have seen some improvement) for them to become monster power-brokers and tyrants within the household. Even today, many males still insist on wielding incredible power over their female spouses, just as American institutions along with the Fed are doing over the American people. When I was a young man coming up, I was taught one thing, primarily by male peers , and that was that with regard to females: My role was to ‘keep them in check”. Why? Because as the phrase goes that was often repeated between males, “I Was Da Man!”

Fortunately, I never bought into the, I Am Da Man Syndrome, I simply wanted to treat another person, be they male or female, in the same manner that I wanted to be treated, with dignity, grace and metal respect. And my understanding of how women felt, those that were historically being abused mentally, sexually or physically by males was confirmed. The late founder of the Women’s Liberation Movement, came and spoke at Stanford University several years ago. I had already read the Feminine Mystique, authored by Betty Friedan, founder of the Women's Liberation Movement, as well as some of the other women’s liberation books.

For example, in college I read tomes like: Sisterhood is Powerful, by Robin Morgan, 'My Secret Garden' by Nancy Friday ... And it was confirmed, what I knew already that most males were raised in the manner, just as many of our institutions have been conditioned to do, that is to become predators, tyrants, abusers and thieves.

Now there are some females that also fit this paradigm, consider Ann Coulter for example. I was watching a movie some years ago, I can’t remember the name of it, when one black male character was chided by his peers about his mom. Why? They said that his mom was so mean that he called his mom, ‘da man!Males or females, and on the other hand male dominated corporations can and typically are seen by most as 'da man'!

But on a more serious note, in spite of the abuse that often occurred and still occurs, an abuse of power that is a result of the power (concentrated in the hands of the few) that the male head of household enjoyed (females still earn only 80% of what a male earns for doing the same job in America, the institutions as it stood then was considered to be too big to fail. And as a result, even in those instances when authorities knew or were made aware that abuse, sexual or physical, was taking place in a particular family, they didn’t do anything about it.

Why? Because he was ‘da man’, and many of them (dominant males too), gave quiet acceptance in a male dominated way and society, because they were also living out the fantasy of being ‘da man’. To wit, everyone understood what being ‘da man meant’, even the victims. The latter understood, that ‘he’ earned the money and therefore he had an inherent right to wield power in the household and to be the boss. What was done about it initially? Not much.

The institution of the Church, and other religious organizations historically sanctioned male dominance, and in some instances cruelty and abuse, by the alpha male. Why? Because the scriptures implied that the female and the children were pretty much the property of the male. . And if there is one scripture that any male in America can quote, even if he does not attend church on a regular basis it is, “The Man Is The Head of The House.

Empowered, by the Government and sanctioned by the Church, other religious institutions and oftentimes the family itself (given that male dominance was part and parcel of the cultural ethos of most nations). Historically, males, much like our other American institutions, felt justified to do whatever they wanted with regard to their families, no matter how cruel or however exploitative their behavior was.

Here is an example, of egregious non-physical abuse. A decade ago I was in Lake Tahoe for a respite, when a young black male seemed to be giving me too much attention. I didn’t know what he was up to. Well, it turned out that he was not up to anything nefarious, he simply had a problem. He got off work earlier that evening, he was employed in Lake Tahoe, he cashed his check before going home and along with a pocket full of money drove straight over to the Casino.

Why? He felt lucky. Since he was ‘da man, and the money was his (forget the wife and kids at home) he made the decision on his own. I must have looked like someone who cared, because as in this situation, people have always come up to me to tell me about their problems and to seek solace (without knowing that I am a cleric being been one for about 30 years now). In fact, a former dentist of mine surprised me one day when he proclaimed, ‘you are not like other people, you actually listen to what people have to say’.

At the time I felt that his proposition was overstated, but I soon realized through cursory observation that most people that I know never permit you to complete a sentence, before they launch into a tirade – in other words, they listened only to the extent that they had to, often impolite, in order to respond with what they wanted to talk about. In other words, I’m not really listening, but waiting for you to finish so that I can talk about what I want to talk about.

Based on my anecdotal observations I concluded that most people feign interest in what the other is saying only so they can respond and tell you about their lives or problems. Well, that night I played my role and listened, as I typically have done.

The young husband explained that he had gambled away all of his family’s weekly earnings in just a few short hours. The paycheck that was to be used to purchase food, pay the rent and sustain his wife and child until he earned the next paycheck was gone. Not a single bottle of milk, groceries …., would be purchased with the sole weekly household check. Like today’s American financial institutions, this hubby controlled the money, and could do whatever he wanted to do with it, without regard to his wife and kids, just as it appears in the case of banks and other American financial institutions and corporations.

Back to the young hubby, he added, I am talking to you because I can’t go home. I asked, well are you simply going to stay out all night. He responded, “I can’t go home”. He must not have been ‘da man at his house’, for most men in his situation would have gone home anyway, and proclaimed, I am ‘da man’, and even if I lost the weekly wages to gambling, it was my money! Poor wife and kids I thought, she’s at home awaiting his arrival, and I know what she doesn’t know, that he has spent this week's paycheck and they are broke!

Why was and is this kind of systematic understanding allowed to persist? It was permitted because the male was the sole wager earner, and if the powers that be were to intervene, they would likely have to take responsibility for the welfare of wife and kids. And don’t forget that years ago, the average American family was much larger than it is now. Heaven forbid, if the taxpayers would have to assume responsibility. Does anyone remember the lyrics of a song, ‘it is cheaper to keep her’. The point of the song was that for the man who was thinking about divorcing his wife, and then pays alimony, it was simply cheaper to keep her and to go out and cheat on her.

The position of the government, and the rest of the cultural position appeared to be that it was simply cheaper to permit the wage-earner spouse to simply beat her up or deprive her, than heaven help, they would have to step in and do something about spousal abuse or neglect. Or as some were often heard to say, the Federal Government would have to provide relief if it did not support a dominant male wage earner in the household.

In despair and usually to no avail, the wife, if not the kids would cry out to whomever would listen, often begging for help, and explaining that 'the old man' was abusing the money, drinking, gambling, womanizing …, and not taking care of the responsibility of the house. Sadly, their pleadings seemed like rants that summarily fell upon deaf ears.

Where could the wife go, to explain the plight of her and the children who needed adequate food, clothing and shoes, in order to seek relief? Where could she go to seek redress in a system that permitted the male wage-earner, at times the only person in the household with the right to vote and could be heard in a court hearing, to seek relief.

Oftentimes, there was simply no place to go. And add to that, what if the neglectful head of household, who believed as I have heard some male, 'heads of house', "the money is my money", decided to spend the family's wages in a profligate manner on booze, women, gambling...? What could the wife advocate do?

And just as the system operated at that time, when government officials, were only interested in what the male wage earner and voter would have to say, we have just witnessed something similar taking place, all over again in America. And this time, it is not only the wife and kids that have been affected, it is the majority of Americans, regardless of gender, age or position in life that have been and are being affected.
What we are experiencing with our institutions today, reminds me a lot of the days of the “I am da man, because I earn all da money syndrome".
But it is not a single person that is buttressing this proposition, it is the institutions that the American citizens have so long come to trust that are doing so, and they are being buttressed by the American government, that is complicitous with them in their misdeeds.

In other words, our financial institutions have become our draconian spouses in this sense; financial institutions harbor the wealth of the nation, and along with the government they make financial and other policy decisions that ultimately determine how the wealth will be taxed or spent. In the end, the impact is felt by the family or individual wage earner. The opinion of the American people does not matter, given that the financial institutions don’t listen to us, even though it is the job of our regulators to hold their feet to the fire. Instead, our regulators are all in bed, it would appear, with them.

Just consider Bernie Madoff as an example, a personal friend of many individuals at the Securities and Exchange Commission. How long did it take to bring Bernie to justice? He was financially abusing many American investors who had bought into his fund. And too boot, he was doing so right under the noses of the regulators that were supposed to keep them in line.

His partners in crime were too willing to look the other way. The abuse went on for years. The government often stands by and supports the abuser, because in the mind of the government officials, these institutions are simply too big too fail, and if they were to fail, who is going to pick up the slap.

And it is but sad that at the same time, we were made to be fully dependent on these exclusive but abusive institutions in order to save money, purchase practically any large ticket item or for a bail-out. When things get tight for the average consumer, and it is fully up to their discretion to deny us or approve our requests for a loan, even though they use our deposits daily in order to engage in questionable and risky practices. What a life for them?

If only the young man that I met in Tahoe had such an arrangement, one in which he could lose his whole paycheck in the early evening, and be bailed out by the Federal Government before he got home that night to face, I’m sure, a very dejected, bewildered and unhappy woman.

Well, at the very least, there wasn’t going to be any ‘kissy-face’ for him that night, and a man lives for a little kissy-face when he comes home.

Again, just as many a wife and child, usually a daughter, caved into financial, physical and sexual abuse from an all powerful, wage earning male at the time (with the full backing of the American government in order to have a roof over their heads, clothing, heat, food on the table … because of what his very presence in the house represented), oftentimes as a female and child predator experienced, now every most every American occupies the same station in life.

Except now, most Americans are not being abused by dad or a wayward spouse, they are being abused by American institutions with the full support of the American government.

This is what happens, when everyone is forced to be dependent on someone else for their livelihood, or another institution that garners power, in order to survive. This is not a good practice. Perhaps we could all demand our share of the American wealth back from the Federal Reserve. In other words, head on down to Ft. Knox, garner and give me my share of the gold. What is that you say, the American currency is no longer backed up by gold at Fort Worth? We went off the gold-standard, when?

Where is our share of the wealth, that would give us a say so or a right to self-determination being held? They told us to put the wealth, little or big, in their hands, banks and other financial institutions. And doesn’t this make it much easier for abuse to take place within our financial institution, when factually, the majority of American wealth now exists only as a (phenomenon) in cyberspace. Show me the money, where is the money?

This begs the question, why are the majority (in a majoritarian nation), being ruled and victimized by a small minority? In other words, why are we doing what former American-family members and some are still doing today, by enduring this abusive and exploitive relationship with other financial institutions. ?

Should any individual or institution have so much power, that whether they are abusive or not, corrupt or not, or mismanaging the affairs of everyone that depends upon them for survival be placed above the law? Who can you trust?

And just as all of us know how long sexual and physical abuse has existed, if not neglect in families all over the world. today, the American people realize, more and more that they are the victims of institutional/domestic abuse. Just consider the word therapist as an example. The therapist can oftentimes be thought of as 'the rapist', for he or she often engages in the mental rape of their clients, given the trust that is implied in the client therapist relation.

Americans more and more are being subjected to corporate domestic abuse and exploitation by its myriad of monopolistic national institutions and its government that is sworn to protect them. A phenomenon that is carried on with the full blessings of the American government, regardless apparently of which administration is in power.

Again, some of them employing 10's of thousands of individuals, managing huge and incalculable portfolios .., these organizations are today’s abusive institutional husbands and fathers of the American people. I never dreamed that I would be agree with the Tea Party on any topic, however and whatever their true motive happens to be, and it remains suspect, they have a point when it comes to the bailout by the government of these so-called, too big too fail institutions.

Peace & Grace