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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/2/11

From Democracy to Kleptocracy: What's Being Stolen From Us and How

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If we dare look at the plain facts of the matter, we must conclude the US is a kleptocracy not unlike Greece, only on a larger and slightly more sophisticated scale.


Here' the evidence:


1.         Neither political party has any real interest in limiting the banking/financial cartel.   The original Glass-Steagall bill partitioning investment banking from commercial banking was a few pages long, was passed in a few days, and immediately had profound and lasting effects.  Today our political oligarchy spends months passing thousands of pages of complex legislation that accomplishes almost nothing.   What we are witnessing is a kind of political theater called Kabuki.


Here's what Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Thomas Hoenig recently noted in a rare admission by an insider like himself:


"The problem with SIFIs ("Systemically Important Financial Institutions," a.k.a. too big to fail banks) is:   they are fundamentally inconsistent with capitalism.   They are inherently destabilizing to global markets and detrimental to worldwide economic growth.   So long as the concept of a SIFI exists, and there are institutions so powerful, and considered so important, that they require special support and different rules, the future of capitalism is at risk, and our market economy is in peril."  


When he was asked if he really thinks Dodd-Frank and all the other "fooled by complexity" legislation has accomplished anything, Hoenig cut that fantasy off at the knees:


"As late as 1980, the U.S. banking industry was relatively un-concentrated, with 14,000 commercial banks and the assets of the five largest amounting to 14% of GDP.   Today, by contrast, we have a far more concentrated, and less competitive, banking system.   There are fewer banks operating across the country, and the five largest institutions control more than half of the industry's assets, which equals almost 60% of GDP.   The largest 20 institutions control 80% of the industry's assets, which amounts to about 86% of GDP.  


In other words, the domination of the political process and the economy, by the financial cartel, has been masked by a welter of purposefully obfuscating legislation.   This is of course the exact same trick Wall Street used to cloak the risk of the mortgage-backed derivatives it sold as "low risk" AAA rated securities:   By design, the instruments were so complex that only the originators understood how they worked.

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)

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