Search This Blog

Monday, March 5, 2012

Let Bank of America Fail - Matt Taibi

Message From Matt Taibi

There are two things every American needs to know about Bank of America:
The first is that it’s corrupt. This bank has systematically defrauded almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, homeowners, shareholders, depositors, and the state, leaving a massive trail of wiped-out retirees and foreclosed-upon families in its wake. The second is that all of us, as taxpayers, are keeping it propped up. In fact, without the continued generosity of us taxpayers, and the extraordinary indulgence of our regulators and elected officials, this company long ago would have been swallowed up by scandal, mismanagement, prosecution and litigation, and gone out of business.

But Bank of America hasn’t gone out of business, for the simple reason that our government has decided to make it the poster child for the “Too Big To Fail” concept. This gigantic financial institution is the ultimate symbol of a new kind of corruption at the highest levels of American society: a tendency to marry the near-limitless power of the federal government with increasingly concentrated, increasingly unaccountable private financial interests. Bank of America is perhaps the biggest welfare dependent in American history, with the $45 billion in bailout money and the $118 billion in state guarantees it’s received since 2008. Since the crash of 2008, it’s also borrowed billions if not trillions in emergency, near-zero interest rate loans from the Federal Reserve. Bank of America represents a company that is kept protected from the judgments of the free market, and forces the state to expand to take on its debts. When did we make it the job of the taxpayer to buy failed companies, and rescue companies from their own bad decisions?

Bank of America has ruthlessly preyed upon millions of homeowners, throwing them out on the street. The firm sped struggling families to foreclosure court using perjured affidavits with full knowledge of management. It is the very definition of an unaccountable corporate villain. Companies like Bank of America are a direct threat to national security, for many reasons. For one thing, they drive smaller, more honest banks, but doesn’t have the implicit support of the federal government, out of business.

This robs more deserving and ingenious entrepreneurs of scarce capital, and also encourages more campaign contributions for politicians. Five years from now, our government’s decision to avoid jailing Bank of America executives for their roles in the vast robosigning program may result in a situation where no court document of any kind can be trusted. What will your defense be against a future lawsuit for a credit card debt or a foreclosure, when your bank walks into court with a pile of invented documents?

Bank of America and Chase and Wells Fargo have been caught rigging the bids for financial services in dozens of municipalities nationwide. Worse, these same banks have repeatedly been let off the hook by regulators. This behavior, if left unchecked, will ultimately mean that we will all have to pay more for our roads, our traffic lights, our sewers, in fact all public services. And it’ll be our fault, because we didn’t do anything about it now.

The only way to prevent this kind of slide to total lawlessness is to break this unhealthy relationship between bank and government. Allow Bank of America, to sink or swim on its own, in the free market. Allow Failure to Fail.

- – Matt Taibbi, February 29th, 2012, Occupy Wall Street.

No comments:

Post a Comment