May 21, 2010

Banks and Other American Insitutions Considered Too Big to Fail: It's Cheaper To Keep Them (I)

In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul wrote in his epistle to the Corinthians about death in these terms.
"Except a corn of wheat were to fall into the ground and die, it could not bring forth wheat ...".

Other cultures teach that death is necessary in order to engender or generate new life. Just think what would happen if we would permit some of these ‘too big too fail institutions’ to fail? New organizations, hopefully better run institutions, would simply replace them. The country didn’t curl up and die because Lehman Brothers was permitted to collapse!

Why wouldn't the Federal Government practice laissez-faire and the principle of caveat emptor this time? It is because the government concluded that what songwriter and singer Jonnie Taylor wrote and recorded, 'It's Cheaper To Keep Her', applied when it comes to banks and other mammoth American organizations?

Let's consider the lyrics of the song.

Title: It's Cheaper To Keep Her

You tied up, you better stay tied up
Cause it's cheaper to keep her, this is from T, who says
It's cheaper to keep her; it's cheaper to keep her

When your little girl makes you mad
And you get an attitude and pack your bags
Five little children that you're leaving' behind
Son, you're gonna pay some alimony or do some time

That's why it's cheaper to keep her (Help me say it, y'all)
It's cheaper to keep her (It's cheaper to keep her)
When you get through starin' that judge in the face
You're gonna want to cuss the whole human race

That's why it's cheaper to keep her (It's cheaper to keep her)
It's cheaper to keep her
(It's cheaper, it's cheaper, it's cheaper, it's cheaper)
(It's cheaper to keep her)

You didn't pay but two dollars to bring the little girl home
Now you're about to pay two thousand to leave her alone
You see another woman out there and you want to make a change
She ain't gonna want you 'cause you won't have a damn thing

That's why it's cheaper to keep her (Everybody Sing along with me)
It's cheaper to keep her (it's cheaper to keep her)
By the time you get through lookin' that judge in the face
You're gonna want to cuss the whole human race

That's why it's cheaper to keep her (It's cheaper to keep her)
It's cheaper to keep her (It's cheaper to keep her)
(It's cheaper, it's cheaper, it's cheaper, it's cheaper)
(It's cheaper to keep her)

I know you think the grass is greener
Way over on the other side
When that judge gives you that dirty look
You may as well put your money in mama's pocketbook

That's why it's cheaper to keep her (It's cheaper to keep her)
It costs too much to leave her alone, yeah (It's cheaper to keep her)
I know it's cheaper to keep her (It's cheaper to keep her)
'Cause you're gonna pay some alimony if you leave home
I tell y'all - it's cheaper to keep her - all the fellows I know are talkin' about it
It's cheaper to keep her, I gotta tell you

The thrust of Johnnie Taylor's song is essentially this, that no matter what you're going through in your current relationship with your spouse, and no matter how bad that it gets, that it is cheaper to stay with her, than to go through a costly divorce.

The decision to stay with her had nothing to do with love. Rather, if you ended the relationship, whomever was at fault, you could end up paying spousal or a combination of spousal and child divorce payments. The erudite members of America's Federal Government, after weighing the crisis that America suddenly found itself in a year ago, decided not to pursue a divorce.

Despite the crisis that continues to linger unto this day - concluded that despite the causal factors that caused the crises in the marriage between the state, mammoth American institutions and the people (a result of greed, mismanagement and malfeasance, that it was cheaper to stay with these institutions (keep them afloat) rather than to get a divorce from them and their questionable and in some cases criminal practices, rather than to permit them to fail.

Was the writer of the letter of the epistle to the Corinthians correct in his assessment that often you have to permit a seed to die, in order to bring forth new life? If he was correct, then the government just cheated each of out of a chance for a new life, and for our corporate institutions, the American way of life and our government to be born again with new life.

Having said that, banks and other secular institutions are not the only major American institutions that are failing us. There are many other American stalwart institutions that are part and parcel of the American culture that are failing the American populace. But let's review first, before we go on.

President Obama and his administration, to include Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Security Timothy Geithner, concluded, in 2009, that these institutions had to survive despite the predicament that they got themselves into over the span of the past few years – I believe that they failed us.
The only institution that was big enough to underwrite the losses of institutions that were about to go under, despite their questionable fiduciary and business practices, was the United States Federal Government.
And the Obama Administration, following the same pattern of the Bush Administration, jumped right, pushing for a newly created program called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, (TARP), jumped in to save them.

Not even George H. Bush Jr. behaved like a true conservative. The late Syndicated columnist and journalist of ‘Deep Throat’ fame, asked, jovially on news talk show years for his demise, "what is the definition of a compassionate conservative"? He then provided the answer: A compassionate conservative he said, "witnesses a man drowning 40 feet offshore, and in order to help him – he throws him a 15 foot rope". Old Bob, rest his soul, had to laugh at that one himself.

Why? The former Terrapin, probably wouldn’t have tossed a ‘drowning man or a woman’, a 5 foot rope. But George H. Bush Jr. and current President Obama then, both behaved like so-called liberals, they bailed certain institutions, banks, automobile companies … out, with an aid package quicker than you could say, “Where’s the Money Honey”.

Famous comedian, known by most as Sinbad told a story about his college days. Like most college students living on campus, Sinbad was broke. So, he said he decided to write his dad this jovial message. He wrote: “Dad, no mon, no fun, yo son”. Upon receipt of the letter his dad wrote back. “Too bad, so sad, yo dad”.

How many of you suppose that in about another 8 or 9 years, when the Obama girls are in college, that if they misbehaved and misused their college allowances only to write home to ask dad for relief, that Mr. Obama would send a care package to his children as quickly as he did to GM, Shearson-Lehman, Citibank …. Or, on the other hand would he sit the following to his children: "Girls you behaved very badly, and as a result you are going to have to learn from this incident because daddy and mommy are not simply not going to bail you out"?

Most Americans know by now, that the selected institutions which failed or nearly failed, received nearly 1 Trillion in asset relief from the American taxpayers, ala the largesse of the United States Federal Government. On the other hand, several others organizations, by wrote or by vote, in the same manner that American people were abandoned, were simply permitted to collapse.

To wit, that in spite of questionable management practices and the poor business decisions and investments made by of many of the organizations who benefitted from TARP and the Stimulus Package, organizations that were responsible in one way or another of the near collapse of the worldwide economic system, especially the American system: TARP funds represented a bailout for them, if not an outright reward for doing a reprehensible job. The more malfeasance that you engaged in it would seem, the larger the reward these organizations received.

This is analogous, to my way of thinking, of some leader or groups of leaders in let's say, some Banana Republic or some other totalitarian nation that does a horrendous job of governing, but remains in power in order and continues engaging in corruption, being bailed out. But in America? Come on!

And who, ultimately, will foot the bill for what I will refer to as the FAP, the Financial Awards Programs for Corporations? The answer is, the American taxpayers will foot the bill, the American taxpayers, well and China, are footing the bill for now.

I was speaking with a 2-decade friend the other day, who had decided a month ago to apply for relief given his increased mortgage costs. Despite having a credit rating of near 800 and 26 years of service on the same job, when he tried to refinance his mortgage, he was summarily turned down. And who turned him down? It was one of the same financial organizations that benefitted from his portion of tax relief that was given to this major bank through TARP.

He definitely qualified, and still he was summarily turned down. Now folks, there is something wrong with that equations!

So I ask again, despite their motives for picketing and crying foul, is the TEA Party correct in their conclusions about the government's massive bailout? Should it have happened, or should all of these institutions who were bailed out with TARP, and some even as a result of the Recovery Act, been permitted to struggle. Is America more than the sum of its corporations?

Even though their motives, The Tea Party, are suspect, and they ignored the fact that the individuals that they supported on the Republican Right, who contributed mightily to this debacle, former President George H. Bush and the Republican Right, their conclusions appear to be right on about the government having done the wrong thing with the bailout funds.
As some have reported, the relief should have been given to the people, which in turn would have jumpstarted the economy.
In other words, the American citizens would have either saved or spent the money that they received back from the government, and in turn the banks would have benefited and the factories ..., would have begun churning.

As of late, they are holding individuals on the Right's feet to the fire, who voted for TARP. But what is their true motive, who knows. It is that being fiscally is the right thing to do, and then I agree with them. On the other hand, on the other hand their schizophrenic behaviors suggest that they are smoking loco weed or something? Therefore, I don't trust them either.

And if you're wondering about me, frankly, I have never smoked, injected, inhaled, shot up, imbibed. any illegal substances in my life. But I have to wonder what these and too many other Americans smokers are injecting? Were Geithner and Bernanke wrong to help create a program that would bail out the American system and therefore American bankers and financial institutions?

The real question, in my mind, is where were they and others, along with their predecessors before them and our Federal Government before them to have permitted these kinds of shenanigans to take place in the first place, with derivatives, credit default swaps … that led to this near collapse of the American economy and therefore our system in the first place. I didn't get the memo before about these questionable instruments ..., did you?

The lack of regulation, spans several decades, and includes the members of several administrations, congress, the Fed, the Treasury Department, both political parties... But are these the only culprits? Nyat! And what a cover-up?

It is time for banks and other perennial American stalwart institutions that are considered to be too big too fail to be brought into the real world!

And who would argue now, 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, for the politicians in Washington DC are showing what they are all about and whose interests they truly have in mind.

The lack of regulation, spans several decades, and includes the members of several administrations, congress, the Fed, the Treasury Department ... But are these the only culprits? Nyat!
All I can say is, wake up and then move over Bugsy and Al Capone, your antics have been trumped by nefarious mainstream institutions and organizations that have enjoyed the full backing, support and bailouts by the American government.
And how many of the leaders of this failed e corporate institutions will go to jail? Answer, not too many so far! How many of Bernie Madoff’s regulator friends in the SEC gone to jail so far? The answer is in the question, for all of these are apparently 'above the laws that the rest of us are obliged to obey'.

And we find these truths to be evident that all men are created equal..."? Answer? I don't think so. Not only aren't all men not created equal, neither are all institutions created equal. Some are and always have been considered to be more equal than others. What is so scary about all of the malfeasance that took place which crippled the American and world economy is that what are saying might be perfectly true, NONE of these folks broke the law. In fact, they may have acted within the laws that were instituted by Congress, in spite of what all of us might consider moral failure.

For don’t these individuals have the responsibility to behave in a moral fashion, even if they can find a loophole that would permit them to do otherwise? There are also other institutions that are equally culpable, some who are also deemed to be 'fail proof' despite their performance, given the deleterious effect that their failing institutions would have on the economy and the American way of 'consume and spend way of life', that most Americans have either become accustomed to or dream of acquiring. They would be bailed out if they were to screw up tomorrow, and incite another crash of the stock market, and other world economies, and what is so bad about this is that they know that they would be bailed out by the American government, whoever the president happened to be.

Let's get back to those other American institutions that are failing, even though they are considered by some still to be 'too big to fail'.

Some of the other institutions that we need to keep an eye are as follows: Some are financial, some are governmental, some are religious, some are medical, some are industrial … and no matter what they do, or don’t do they are considered not to be expendable in their current forms. Consider Medicare, a system that endures fraud and malfeasance to the tune of hundreds of millions a year, is considered too big too fail (do without).

Huge corporations like oil, automobile, steel … are considered to be necessary for most Americans in order to continue the 'American Greed' way of life.

The number, as well as the scope of these mammoth institutions that are considered to be too big to fail transcends American financial institutions. Are we really talking about too big too fail, or too big to fix? Or how about, unable or unwilling to allow these institutions to go away or replace with something more tangible because my friends work there?

In fact, the phenomenon transcends logic. One would ask, then why doesn’t someone do something, and who was on watch when this travesty took place? Which time I ask? Was it the role of the federal government, particularly congress to create and enforce regulations? Isn’t it their role to defend the antitrust laws that they together put into place.

Why were and are certain monopolies allowed to thrive, while others are immediately shut down. Leaving it up to the federal government to regulate these mammoth institutions has proven to be an abject failure, and is the equivalent of leaving the fox to guard the hen house. In fact the federal government, for example, is an example of another institution that we refuse to allow to fail and by that I mean go out of existence, and be replaced by something better, even though at times it appears to be a complete failure as far as the American people are concerned, just as many as the afore-mentioned institutions have been.

It is apparent that the longer that we hold these and other financial and corporate institutions in place in their current form, that the more the American people will be held hostage by these institutions.
Who are some of the other major institutions that are failing us.
For example, political parties, the two main ones Republican and Democratic, are apparently too big too fail. Even though the American people are apparently dissatisfied with either of the big Two, yet the American voters, in droves, go out and vote for political party candidates instead of for individuals.

Personally, I gave up on the pressure from my peers long ago, the ones who convince that me that I was wasting my vote if I did not vote for a candidate that had been put forth by either the democratic or republican parties. Boulderash, I said!

The government continues to defer to institutions like GMAC, Chrysler, AIG and other monopolies, while explaining their failures to the American people and at the same time explaining its reasoning behind buttressing these organizations with taxpayer’s money (even though some of them have clearly failed). How about the equity stakes that the government has made into several of these huge behemoths? Aside from loans, take Citibank into consideration for example!And whose money is the government using to buttress these organizations?When will the government admit that it is a part of the problem and not the solution?
And How About The American Corporate and Cover-up Catholic Church?
And with respect to Protestantism, Bishop T.D. Jakes, one of America’s premiere protestant mega-ministers said:"The Church is a Business"! Is that all that the church is Bishop Jakes? I was there, in Washington DC, when he said it. Just check the Washington Post if you don't believe me.

And Bishop Takes, as I affectingly refer to him, like many other of his mentors and colleagues, ‘takes’, in whatever city or nation that he happens to land in to preach. He is representative of a growing problem with the American Corporate Church. There are many smaller congregations and ministers following his example to raise incredible sums of money and build huge fiefdoms to bolster their legacy. These gentlemen place an incredible weight on the members of their congregations and the churches that they preach at in order to raise incredible sums of money.

So what is wrong with these religious institutions? Who will lead or show the secular institutions the right way, particularly, if you cannot depend on corporate religious institutions to behave any differently from their secular counterparts? Has anyone noticed the lavish lifestyles that these characters are living right down to private airplanes, expensive luxury cars, personal chefs, expensive dwellings ...

Many religious institutions boast of memberships in the billions and others in the millions. Some own vast tracts of properties that are worth trillions of dollars. These institutions wield considerable influence over their parishioners (right down to who and what to vote for) and over the rest of the world including the United States Supreme Court: Five U.S. Supreme Court Justices are Roman Catholic, and two are Jews and the rest protestant.

Can a corporate religious organization have the same problem as any other human organization? It would appear so, because many of these organization that operate in the same manner as their corporate counterparts, with Tax Exempt status of course, are experiencing similar results, i.e., corruption, sexual improprieties, resignations, greed, graft, lawsuits …
Biblical eschatologists: I ask you, are the elements that were written about in the Bible, referring to institutions religious and non, that are melting away?
Many Religious organizations, the Catholic Church for example, and other mainstream protestant religious organizations appear to have clearly outlived their usefulness as well. And, guess what, they are not permitted to fail/go away either.

These organizations clearly are not having any profound effect on America's crime-riddled, hedonistic, greed-driven economy and system, other than molesting our children, and keeping their hands deeply into the pockets of the American people. Isn't it interesting that the head of the largest Church, if you will in the world, the Catholic Church, Pontifus Maximus, is actually a head of State. Many of our smaller ministries, have powerful leaders, among their parishioners. And they consider themselves, by their actions, to also be Heads of State that are concerned only about 'The Benjamins'.

Some of America’s religious organizations, are multi-million dollar fundraising religo-political organizations, even though they clearly have failed America. Consider, Focus on the Family, the 700 Club …, all supporters of neo-fascism, and supporters of the now defunct Bushtanista Party. Why have they been kept around? Some of these organizations maintain annual budgets themselves of 3 to 400 million dollars, and spend a considerable percentage of their budgets to influence policy-decisions among the American people and with the Federal Government!

Dr. Dobson decided to resign recently, having recognized the damage that his inane image was doing, as long as he remained the head of Focus on the Family. I’ve never met Dr. Dobson, however, how could anyone be so dimwitted? Dobson, along with how many other televangelists have been responsible for fomenting hatred for two decades in this nation now, if not being the spiritual heads of religio-political hate groups, having done so under the guise of calling themselves religious organization while pushing their political agendas in the name of the LAWD!

Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council are no better. And how about Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell --- all of these goons were, and are nothing more than self-centered ideologues who have made billions off of the backs of naïve and in some instances unsuspecting Christians.

Dr. Dobson is not gone, instead just like the Ku Klux Klan, a group that you don’t see or hear from them everyday, he is still around and influencing American foreign and domestic policy! Do I dislike the man. Frankly, I believe that he is brilliant, but on the other hand he should have stuck with his profession. He has done considerable damage to the conscience of America.

There are many other pastors that are too big to fail, even though they have already failed the people by putting their own agenda ahead of that of the people!
Americans have rightfully, concluded Houston, ‘that we have a problem within our economic system (given that certain institutions are being buttressed by the American government even when they have been caught with their fingers in the proverbial cookie jar).
And, although these institutions are rife with corruption and have clearly lost their moral and religious compasses, if they ever had one, they are constantly being revitalized by the American taxpayers.

Would we be better off without them? The Apostle Peter in his Epistle wrote, that in some instances, one would have been better off not to have some leaders and teachers, for the last state of those who listened would become even worse than it was before them followed them.

I had an experience recently with a well-known pastor in San Jose California that I have known for years. He is busily building a religious fiefdom himself, and has he been doing so for some years now. Having become suspicious of his changed behavior and attitude, having noticed a peculiar change in his attitude and behavior (after getting together with him after an 8 year hiatus, myself, in the nation's capital).

He was being inexplicably deferential, if not rude to me. Frankly, he no longer reflected the kind spirit that before, was always his hallmark - behavior that was consistent with the Bible that he preaches from. I decided to give him a simple test
How did I test him? I simply said to him, one day at his church, "I Love You"
. And guess what? He didn't have a reply, he simply walked on past me.

One of his assistants asked him to take me on a tour and to show me around his building: the church was in the midst of an expansion project. He refused, and told his elder to show me around eek, I thought, what happened to him and why is he behaving in such a manner?

Americans allow too many institutions and institutional leaders, be they religious or not, to stay around for too long. In some instances they stay around too long, in order to maintain the lavish life-style that they have become accustomed to in deference to the needs of the people. Also, some Americans are afraid to step outside of the box and question some of the things that the culture and religion has taught them.

It is time, I believe, for something radical to take place in the United States. And I believe that with the recent government bail out, that we may have missed our opportunity. America's star in the world has begun to settle if not diminish. Other nations are catching up intellectually, monetarily and military. Oftentimes, when something does not appear to be broken, individuals don't try to fix it. And sadly, they wake up one day and find out that it is too late to do then, what they should have done a long time ago.

I’m not finished. The American people are going to have to wake up, those who have not woke up yet and realize that it is time for a real change in America is now. This nation, a nascent nation of just over 2-decades, cannot survive on its current course without some major upheaval. America is a bi-furcated society, one with too much of the wealth being concentrated in the hands of a few.

We have politicians spending fortunes, Meg Whitman, in California is running in the gubernatorial race. She lives in an area, where there is the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Individuals are loosing their homes, cars, jobs ... Shelter programs are closing, recreational centers are closing and what are the Meg Whitman's of the world doing to help? She has spent approximately 68M trying to get elected to the office of Governor of the State of California.

And even though she is sinking in the poles, she plans to spend and nearly another 150M of her own personal wealth, valued at 1B, in order to get elected. What's wrong with that? My answer is, who needs another politician, who somehow has amassed such a fortune (Goldman Sachs money or not), at the same time that so many, perhaps, 10,000 individuals, both young and old, male and female in San Jose California alone who have host everything and living on America's streets, when at the same time other individuals like Meg enriched themselves.

If Meg looses the election, she will have to consider just how many people and how many institutions she could have helped in Santa Clara County alone, as she pursued more power and a more powerful position for herself.

America's institutions, even the family institution is failing. The American divorce rate, depending on who you believe is about half of those who get married. And in some areas of the country, that rate is at about 80%. America has an immigration problem, and on top of that a gang problems. America is engaged in wars on 2 major fronts, not to mention the war that is taking place on its southern border.

Other nations are threatening America, and America citizens are even participating in terrorist activities against the state ... And what are too many Americans, including the wealthy class concerned about? In the words of the rapper Fifty-Cents, How To Get Rich or Die Trying! .

There is an old saying that goes like this, ‘If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it’. Then the opposite of that it would seem to me would be, ‘if is broken, then we need to fix it’! Can the current administration fix a problem that it is a part of folks? I don’t think so. Can we rely on religious organizations, with leaders who are following an American Corporate Model, that are trying to enrich themselves help America. I really don't think.

The question, can Satan cast out Satan, words reportedly spoken by Jesus Christ, come to mind? Or better yet, would Satan cast out Satan? In answer to that, I don't think so, and neither do I believe that our croup of icons, political, religious and corporate will never do anything to change the current 'get rich and stay rich' trend in America. .

The American government, over 300,000 registered lobbyists, mammoth monopolies, Wall Street, the rest of the financial system (Market of the Beast), religious organizations… are all in bed together. The rest of, well let’s just say that we need to get together and to start something new before we are swallowed up in the morass of greed in a wealth-driven, I AM NOT MY BROTHER'S KEEPER society!

America and its institutions, beginning with the American form of government, requires a forklift upgrade, because Satan (whatever it is), our government officials at times and well corporate, religious and non, CEOs, are all working together. And, as a result their demonic practices will never cease if we wait for them to correct their own practices and behaviors. The question is can we find a forklift that is big enough to move the problem? And can we wait for any of these structures to police and to then sanction themselves? Haven't we seen enough of this tryst already.

I suspect that going back to a time when a single head of household would abuse his power, without consequences, and Lord it over everyone in the household, that many Americans who are experiencing the same today from our time-honored institutions.

But rather than continuing to play the role of a dependent whimpering wife citizen, who is solely dependent upon her dependent government and corporate mate, that the American people will have to create a system that works for all of the people.

Americans must disabuse themselves our typical institutions, be they religious or non (remember there are dogmatic but abusive teachers and leaders in religion too) and learn to be self-sufficient, that have been and are failing us.

And for those of you who are afraid of change, and would ask what would likely happen if we were to allow some of these bad institutions to go away that all of us in one way or another have supported? I suspect that it would be painful for awhile, but afterwards, we would regroup and rebuild new and better institutions to replace them.

I also believe that we would be better off if power, were not concentrated in the hands of a wealthy, corporate or religiously structured power elite, particularly those individuals and institutions that are in bed with our government officials. We have got to come together, strip away their power and to put in place a system that works, a system that is of, by and for the people!

For how many of the leaders of the failed corporate institutions that exist in America today should, or will go to jail? Answer, not too many so far - and I suspect that not too many of them ever will! Again, how many of Bernie Madoff’s regulator friends in the SEC, who overlooked his misdeeds, have gone to jail so far? How many child-molesting ministers and priests have gone to jail?

The answer is in the question. Will the current administration fix a problem that it is a part of folks? I don’t think so.

Americans, like the spouse who has silently experienced prolonged abuse for perhaps all of her life, all should know by now that there is an existing problem within American institutions. And the American people, like too many an abused spouse, one who can't see any other way of surviving without her abusive mate ought to be able to see now that unless we get together and do something about the problem, that the abuse will continue into perpetuity. Too many are like her, they have simply given in, when it is time for a NEW AMERICAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT!

And make no mistake, about it, the American Federal Government has been bought and sold to the highest bidders - American corporations. And the American people remain the abused spouses of the American government and its paramours that have all gone awry. Why? Because, the American government and the American people for that matter have decided, it would seem, that it is easier to keep her (Things the way hat they are and have been rather than to do anything about our the problem). It's easier, apparently, to do nothing!

On the other hand, American people, why don't we simply pay the alimony (our individual sacrifices, if we have to and get rid of these jerks, so that we can move on and live the lives that we are entitled to live. If we were to do so, at least we will be able to sleep at night, have peace and be able to live with ourselves and to build a bigger America!

Rev. C. Solomon

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