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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/27/09

Citigroup must die in order to make way for stronger banks to thrive

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Message Mary MacElveen
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As MSNBC broadcasted numerous times yesterday of ordinary Japanese citizens beating up on the ‘Poverty god’, while at first it seemed comical, it was treated with an air of jocularity by most anchors. In reality there is great frustration being felt world-wide.  The masses are truly hurting and there is no joke behind any of it.


Last week, Rick Santelli of CNBC in his rant blamed ordinary citizens for this ailing economy and perhaps Americans should direct any rants and frustration back to the powers that be on Wall Street.  Perhaps any ‘Poverty god’ here in America should have the faces of various Wall Street executives.  A neat thought. 


Just maybe the citizens of our country in an attempt to show Wall Street of how angry we truly are concerning their bad behavior should erect our own ‘Poverty gods’ in every town square.  In our case call them ‘The criminal thugs of Wall Street’. 


Within these town squares, we citizens can show our own anger and angst by taking it out on these replicas and as we do so, we shout from the top of our lungs, “We are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore!”  At this moment in time Americans must reclaim our dignity and give ourselves self permission to show a sign of force by having our own Howard Beale moment.


While not an economic expert, when I continue to see the Dow sink, an anger erupts in me and directed at the power brokers on Wall Street; not my fellow Americans.  My anger is a red as the Dow slides into negative territory. 


I get angry when trips made by bank executives are explained away to the American people as the way they do business especially when people are finding it harder to find a meal.


I am doubly angry with banks and the thugs that control them hold onto our money and refuse to release bank bailout funds back into the system to unlock this credit freeze.


I would love it if rich philanthropic people would come on-air and cite to the American people we will loan to you, we just need the specs and lock out Wall Street from profiting in these transactions.  What say you, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and other notable billionaires?  Perhaps it is you who have the power to jumpstart this economy.  Americans only want the chance to rebuild their lives instead of foraging for their next meal or sleeping in their automobiles.


This notion that we cannot allow some banks to die repulses me as five million people are out of work.  Are we treating these banks as a human being whose rights trump ordinary citizens in this country?  Patients in various hospitals are taken off life support systems every single day when there is no sign of life.  Meaning they are brain dead.  Can we not say the same thing of failing banks?  Aren’t failing banks just as brain dead?  Yet we keep the IV of cash flowing into their veins.


We keep hearing the same old mantra, “We cannot allow this bank to fail” and again, while not an economic expert, my thoughts are, “Why?”  To me failing banks are the cancer that is killing this country one Dow point at a time as it sinks further into negative territory.  Why not allow these cancerous banks to die off and allow the stronger banks to take root?  Isn’t that called the survival of the fittest?


As I read this article concerning Citigroup, what grabbed my attention was this, “The swap of $25 billion of preferred shares into common stock will expose the government to the same risks facing other holders of the bank's common stock. Shares of Citigroup and many other financial companies have plunged as the sector undergoes its worst crisis in seven decades.” This is a sick patient who is indeed brain dead, yet the IV remains intact.


I guess I am like the growing number of Americans who are getting tired of bailing out these banks, as the Dow continue to slide taking with it our economy. I am sick and tired of rewarding bad behavior when there are other lending institutions out there who have played by the rules and have not received any bailout money.  They are the banks we must allow to come to the forefront in this ailing economy and we must be bold as to say, “Let Citigroup die!”


As many cringe when one hears the term conservatism, I must say I was impressed upon reading a question and answer article of two bank CEOs in Texas whose lending practices are more conservative than others. Most notable as one reads this entire article is that they did not partake in the bailout package.


In fact in this interview, S. Royce Brown (Chairman, president and CEO of Extraco Corporation. Extraco is the largest independent bank in Central Texas with 15 financial centers and has been family-owned and managed since 1902.) was asked, "why did your bank turn away federal bailout funds?"


Brown's answer in part, "We don’t need the extra capital, and we don’t need the government as a shareholder. We don’t believe our taxes should be redistributed to our competitors, who we then are expected to compete with as if they weren’t held accountable for their risk choices. Some will use the TARP funds to make acquisitions or be encouraged by the government to take on more loan risk." There is that 'r' word again, meaning risk as the article on Citigroup cited sinking $25 billion dollars more into it would be risky.


When asked this pertinent question of Bill Nesbitt's (Chairman and CEO of Central National Bank), "why are local banks, including your institution, doing well despite the current economic crisis which has plagued so many other financial institutions?"

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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog I have been published by, and I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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