Remember when it was little guys who robbed banks?
By Don Hank
Remember when little guys robbed banks? Well, now big crooked bankers rob us, thanks to the crooks we put in office.
Alternet recently ran an amazing article on the ten most corrupt capitalists. I take issue with the use of the word “capitalists” to refer to people whose behavior is best described by the term “fascist” or, as my UK friends politely say, “corporatist.”
But the point is, as a quick scan of that column shows, if you want to get rich through corruption, the winning formula is to be an investor who is well connected to government officials. The popular bank bailouts, started under G.W. Bush and pursued enthusiastically by the Obama administration, are the quintessence of the concept. The idea is to hit up the taxpayer to make your banking buds richer. Of course, no kickbacks ever occur, because crooked politicians wouldn’t stoop that low.
Most of us are vaguely aware that this phenomenon of government-private partnering as part of a get-rich scheme is not just happening in America. It is all the rage in Europe as well, and the following illustrates to just what extent.
Previously, we had run a German language column (no translation yet) at Laigle’s Forum exposing a giveaway of hard-earned EU taxpayer money to millionaire investors in Panama under the wafer-thin guise of “carbon credits.” I sent the column to a number of outlets and a Swiss publisher asked for permission to reprint it there. Briefly, the column shows that the investors received the cash because they planned to build a hydroelectric plant instead of a coal-fired power plant.
What’s wrong with that, you say?
Two things come to mind:
1—There never have been nor ever will be coal-fired power plants in Panama. Thanks to the country’s rich water resources, rivers brimming with enormous flows and lakes to back them up, anyone proposing the construction of a coal-fired plant would become laughingstock immediately. Therefore, the incentive is not an incentive.
2—The same people who want to give the “carbon credits” to Panama for not proposing a coal-fired plant are keen on distributing “carbon credit” wealth to the Tata company to build a coal-fired plant in Gujarat, India under the paper thin pretext that this plant is more efficient than ordinary coal-fired plants.
In other words, there is always an excuse to rob from the poor to give to the rich. The governments of 2 continents saw how readily we swallowed the warnings that the banks would all collapse without a bailout, and now the sky’s the limit.
Now here comes an even taller tale of poor-to-rich wealth redistribution — but a true one (sorry, I was unable to find an English language report on the web).
Banker profits most from bailout?
The billionaire rakes in an additional 12 billion from the billion euro grab in Germany. He’s friends with EU Chief Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso. Get the picture?
Naturally, the report by the ARD didn’t come out until after mental pygmies in the Bundestag (German Lower House) agreed to the package.
According to the report, the billionaire gets an additional 12 billion euros because ordinary Germans are being forced by greedy hands with long arms and fingers reaching into the multi-billion euro grab bag shoveled in by the Bundestag. Is it insane to wonder whether money is being transferred to certain parties in Germany from these 12 billion extra euros that the billionaire will rake in? Are we out of our minds to think about a secret ugly but juicy kick-back?
The ARD web site explains the European Central Bank (EU) is buying Greek government junk bonds and that Spiro Latsis, Greece’s most powerful banker, is the chief beneficiary. He owned the government bonds, which fell to a value of zero until the EU bought them back from him at face value. Latsis is a personal friend of EU Commission Chief Barroso, who is one of the decision makers in the bailout process. The conflict of interests is obvious, and the ordinary Europeans who paid the bill now know the story.
Once they have taken our last dime, we may all finally figure things out.
Just don’t expect to get your money back.