Obama Gets a Set — Accepts Volcker’s View

Editor’s Comment: Finally! The president has now played out the Geithner-Summers scenario and seen the results — a large middle finger raised in the air from an arrogant bunch of people who are tone deaf to the needs of the nation and the world. This decision brings us into line with the rest of the world, whose central bankers have been waiting for ANY signal from Washington that we were ready to get real about financial services and currency weakness.

This is a massive break from the Bush era of “free-market” self regulation and a recognition of the truth — that the markets are anything but free. As of now, the financial markets and our economy are in the death grip of a very small coterie of people more bent on power and privilege than commerce, profit, accountability to shareholders, fairness to the consumer and respect for the taxpayers whom they bilked for trillions of dollars after stealing trillions from homeowners and investors through destruction of the lives and prospects of most middle class Americans.

The lone voice in the inner circle has been the chairman of economic advisers, Paul Volcker who until now has been marginalized, discounted and generally avoided. Joined by the former Fed Chairman Greenspan who now admits the mistakes of “free-market” thinking and the consequences of taking the referees off the playing field, Volcker proposes a whole new paradigm. By breaking up the large “too big to fail” institutions we break up the oligopoly that is running our government.

We have a very long road ahead. Deflating the bubble that still exists in trading proprietary currency-equivalents (derivatives, mostly) will take a long time and will no doubt have both negative and positive, intended and unintended consequences. Nothing is perfect. But what is perfect is a nation that can go through peaceful revolution and come out the other end with a healthier, safer, free society where the goal is opportunity for everyone and protection from those who would economically enslave people and systematically dumb them down through starving educational initiatives.

Following through on this initiative means we can really address the jobs problem and the corporate welfare drain on the American taxpayer. Those must end as quickly as possible. Changing the context to consumer protection and transparency in the financial markets means that the reality of the foreclosure crisis can be stated openly: neither the obligations nor the property were ever worth what they were sold for and they never will rise to those levels again in any meaningful amount of time.The ONLY honest answer is principal reduction. The only open questions are how to share the losses amongst all the affected losers.

Recent realistic projections show that the largest wave of foreclosures is yet to come in 2012 and 2013. Unwinding the increasingly damaged titles of property encumbered by fabricated documents asserting false terms could take generations. If the President follows through on this announcement, our ordeal, now projected to be 20-30 years and beyond, could be shortened considerably with a real brass ring at the end instead of a simple sigh of relief and resignation that the b–tards are always in charge.

The President promised change. Now he is aiming for it. Let’s hope he makes it. Write your congressman, senators, governors and legislators supporting this initiative. Give the President as much support as you can — he’s going to need it in the battle ahead. Believe in yourself and not in the messages blasted at us through institutionalized advertisements and a lazy media. And keep fighting the battle against foreclosure. You are warriors on behalf of yourself and what will be a grateful nation.

By JACKIE CALMES and LOUIS UCHITELLE

Published: January 20, 2010

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Thursday will publicly propose giving bank regulators the power to limit the size of the nation’s largest banks and the scope of their risk-taking activities, an administration official said late Wednesday.

The president, for the first time, will throw his weight behind an approach long championed by Paul A. Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve and an adviser to the Obama administration. The proposal will put limits on bank size and prohibit commercial banks from trading for their own accounts — known as proprietary trading.

The White House intends to work closely with the House and Senate to include these proposals in whatever bill dealing with financial regulation finally emerges from Congress.

Mr. Volcker flew to Washington for the announcement on Thursday. His chief goal has been to prohibit proprietary trading of financial securities, including mortgage-backed securities, by commercial banks using deposits in their commercial banking sectors. Big losses in the trading of those securities precipitated the credit crisis in 2008 and the federal bailout.

The president will speak at an appearance on Thursday at the White House with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, an administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private. It will come after a meeting with Mr. Volcker.

A similar discussion is percolating in Europe, led by Mervyn King, head of the Bank of England.

The president’s announcement comes as his popularity in public opinion polls is falling because of stubborn unemployment and the stagnant economy, and just days after he suffered a stinging loss when the Republicans won the Senate seat from Massachusetts.

It will be the third time in just a week that he has waded into the battle heating up in Congress over tightening regulation of financial institutions to avoid the sort of abuses that contributed to the near collapse on Wall Street. Last week he proposed a new tax on some 50 of the largest banks to raise enough money to recover the losses from the financial bailout, which ultimately could cost up to $117 billion, the Treasury estimates.

And this week, he served notice to senior lawmakers that he wants an independent agency to protect consumers as part of any financial overhaul legislation.

Only a handful of large banks would be the targets of the proposal, among them Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street trading house, became a commercial bank during this latest crisis, and it would presumably have to give up that status.

“The heart of my argument,” Mr. Volcker said, “is who we are going to save and who we are not going to save. And I don’t want to save what is not at the heart of commercial banking.”

Mr. Volcker has been trying for weeks to drum up support — on Wall Street and in Washington — for restrictions similar to those passed in the Glass-Steagall Act in 1933. That law separated commercial banking and investment banking, so that the investment arm could no longer use a depositor’s money to purchase stocks, sometimes drawing money from a savings account, for example, without the depositor’s knowledge.

The 1929 stock market crash and subsequent Depression made a shambles of that practice. But Glass-Steagall was watered down over the years and revoked in 1999.

Now the concern is a new type of activity in which financial giants like Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase engage. They now operate on two fronts. On the one hand, they are commercial banks, taking deposits, making standard loans and managing the nation’s payment system. On the other hand, they trade securities for their own accounts, a hugely profitable endeavor. This proprietary trading, mainly in risky mortgage-backed securities, precipitated the credit crisis in 2008 and the federal bailout.

Mr. Volcker, chairman of the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, a panel of outside advisers set up at the start of the Obama administration, has gradually lined up big-name support for restrictions on such trading.

But the Obama administration until now focused on regulating the activities of the existing financial institutions, not breaking them up or limiting their activities. Under the new approach, commercial banks would no longer be allowed to engage in proprietary trading, using customers’ deposits and borrowed money to carry out these trades.

“Major institutions with a deposit facility should not be allowed to invest in subprime obligations under any conditions,” said Henry Kaufman, an economist and money manager, and one of a dozen prominent Wall Street figures who have told Mr. Volcker that they support his proposal, in principle if not in detail.

Others include William H. Donaldson, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Roger C. Altman, chairman of Evercore and a Treasury official in the Clinton administration, and John S. Reed, a former chairman of Citigroup.

“When I was running Citi,” Mr. Reed said of his tenure in the 1980s and 1990s, “we simply did not trade for our own account.”

Jackie Calmes reported from Washington, and Louis Uchitelle from New York.

17 Responses

  1. And Lucy, think of it this way. Neil and Brad are on a mission to help us stop foreclosure. The issues brought up here go to the argument that the Judiciary and the regulatory “authorities” in charge are letting this happen. This is germain to the conversation.

  2. VEGAS GUY IS RIGHT NOT TO TRUST THIS POMPOUS FOOL WHO IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE! And he really is a fool! I threw a couple jabs in about Obama after the election and nobody wanted to hear it. (I was a RACIST then). Well, it’s over one year since the election, and THE ELECTORATE NOW SEES HIM FOR WHAT HE IS. Let’s take this a step further. The big “Health Care Debate” has been nothing more than a smokescreen to obfuscate what is really happening economically to the country. I am a native of Illinois, and the crowd he took with him to Washington is proof that the “Chicago Way” of doing things moved 1200 miles east to Washington D.C. There is no health care “CRISIS”, as they want YOU to believe. There is no GLOBAL WARMING “CRISIS”, the second BIG LIE they want you to believe. This guy is an anarchist from the South Side of Chicago who is hell-bent on literally destroying the liberties set forth in the Constitution. What else could this be about? The next “crisis” is how much salt there is in your food. Are you kidding? I gotta tell you people something: unless you have lived in the City of Chicago, you have not had a taste of the liberal agenda as put forth by Obama. They want to control every aspect of your life…. THROUGH REGULATION AND TAXATION. And the Republicans? Forget about them, too. They are on the side of Big Banking, Big Pharma, and BIG OIL. I know this all sounds like a “cliche”, but this is the place we are at right now in our history.
    I was listening to Michael Savage on the radio Friday night, and he just started to touch on Glass Steagall and the repeal of that set of laws that set this all in motion. Michael Savage, the only voice in the wilderness that even gets close to touching on the truth. Except maybe Glenn Beck. This did indeed start with the Democrats (Clinton, Rubin, et al) as this was the linchpin of their plan to destroy capitalism. I really think they got together in a room to talk this through and when RON BROWN (remember him? Commerce Secretary?) decided he was against it , they took him out. Literally. Now, I’m NOT a conspiracy theorist, (even though I think Obama IS a Kenyan and a Muslim, why else would the birth certificate controversy even exist?) or a 9/11 “truther” (Bush did not plan 9-11 you idiots, and WTC 7 was destroyed by fire and debris, not by the CIA). But the conspiracy I DO believe in is that, with the repeal of “Glass-Steagall”, they were indeed able to set this scheme in motion. Obama IS a Saul Alinsky radical (along with creeps like Dick Durbin, Russ Feingold, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and rest of the “LEFTISTS”) who thinks America is a rotten, imperialist, slave trading, earth polluting, war mongering, misery exporting dynamo that needs to be knocked down to size. Our founding, based on freedom, is what brought about the industrialization, capitalization, success, and yes..SUPERPOWER STATUS of this country. Can anyone name a country that we invaded and took control of and then made it a territory of the United States of America? No, you can’t. We are not an “imperialistic” empire bent on controlling the world. We left that to the Russians to try. They failed. China is the next superpower to be reckoned with, together with the Islamic states that wish to destroy Israel, the United States, and any other western cultures that do not believe in SHARIA LAW.
    But the battle WE face as citizens, fighting a banking system that has sought to make money (illegally) at the expense of the people, is an internal struggle that is on the same level as the revolution that separated us from ENGLAND 234 years ago. Money and power is winning at this point. Yes, there are some small victories like the ones we read about here (far too infrequently, I might add) but the people of this country are too immersed in their own lives and distracted by their own problems to see what is really happening here. This is a fight for the soul of this country. Justice must prevail!
    The arguments will become more heated, but let’s not turn against each other when the REAL ENEMY IS THE GOVERNMENT, THE MEDIA, AND THE BANKS (AND OTHER BIG ENTERPRISES THAT HOLD THE CONGRESS HOSTAGE).

  3. Wow! Sorry everybody…..I surely didn’t mean to start any kind of war over those Obama issues. Lucy’s right….let’s get back to focusing on the foreclosure prevention and defense. Some parts of the executive are corrupt, just like some parts of the judiciary. We just have to do the best we can do and hope that the truth finds the light of day…..like it often does.

  4. You should not use this valuable website to vent out your personal anger. We are here to share and help each other with information.

    I am not liking what I see. I really don’t think this is what Neil and Keiser had in mind.

    LET’S GET BACK TO THE REAL ISSUE !!!!

  5. The US government is the most corrupt and evil entity this world has ever known, bar none. Worse than the Nazis, worse than the Roman Empire. It needs to be overthrown, and it’s not going to be done with “elections”.

    Steve
    99Libra@gmail.com

  6. Obama Sin London

  7. if this so called birth certificate (which is actually a COLB) is so domineering as to destroy anyone’s doubt about his eligibility that lays eyes upon it, then why hasn’t anyone (the judge, us attorney, obama etc.) lodged it with the district court? a couple of judges have publicly stated that they’ve seen it in the paper and media seeming to be satisfied with its validity then why can’t the district court be enlightened with this assurance? Bob though you may be right I wasn’t there at his birth and while i do admire you impartiality, Obama’s own grandmother in a deposition that was entered into the record of the district court before her untimely death, the she had been present at and a witness to obama’s birth in kenya. I mean come on people are really so naive to not suspect that in the midst of all this chaos the one is supposed to be managing the welfare, life and liberty for the whole country might have his own agenda in mind. the bottom line is this people while yes the banks acted with insidious bad intentions that connot be tolerated by the people, the only thing more intolerable than that is our government aiding and abetting and pretty much allowing it all to happen while the public suffers. we can no longer jepordize the fate of or nation by waiting for elections, hope that better laws will be passed, waste our time convincing any branch of government that this or that should be done, attempt to seek justice in a court of law that now manages all cases with CM/ECF which individual citizens not licensed to practice law are ineligible for registration to file case in courts that require a consumer that is seeking enforcement of private rights already chosen to have exercised to survive an obstacle course of judicially imposed doctrines and state all the facts (when not all are known) in the initial complaint and then turn to hear the lender’s case and rule that recital that all laws have been complied with and no irregularities occured is conclusive proof that the home owner has no defense regardless of how many irregularities are obvious from glancing at the record. it is time we all unite, dethrone the enablers of this injustice and do for the country what we know is right.

  8. o boy…….volker isnt he the guy that legalized usury?? I can hardly wait to see what he has up his sleeve this time.

  9. mr volcker stood his ground and is finally heard, that gives us all hope

  10. Libra 99
    you are correct.
    But “Kennedy’s [ jfk&rfk ] during their terms, had qualities that appeared as tho a hope of a real democracy could emerge.. but they we killed ..hmm..
    Carter” after his term showed qualities of a true humanitarian [ appeared being key here]..
    all the rest of those mentioned were & or are complete pieces of shit & a total waste of oxygen.
    If Obamanation has changed his tune again it is only to appear to or appease public opinion ,there can be no move forward in our Gov with the powers that be still controlling everything and they do, they will not be unseated without bloodshed,i do not condone violence & would hope rising above this barbaric style of power exchange was possible.But It is obvious those who have planned & been at the controls for the last 100 years will not surrender willingly .. soooo …..they can ALL just have a nice day…..

  11. Obama is no different than other politician that has ever existed; he is pure evil. He’s no different than Big Bush or Little Bush, Clinton, Gore, any of the Kennedy’s, Carter, Reagan, Nixon …

    Steve
    99Libra@gmail.com

  12. DT,

    Since you were not a witness to Obama’s birth you could never testify if his birth certificate was authentic. You can only give opinion which you have, think opinion = hearsay.

    I am neutral on Obama.

    Opinion and hearsay are one thing but will never hold a candle to facts.

  13. like I said…give it a break…the birth cert is public info….move on!

  14. vegasguy’s got the right idea. You 2 are stupid especially you Eden, do you know what branch of Government is allegedly holding office in.. the Executive and he’s been gambling with a lot more than our money so he should be sent to jail as well before he gets transfered to INS, but you are right about him being a “CHIEF” (CEO) Chief Executive Officer… after all someone had to lead the pack of corporate hienas. Ask yourselves this why would anyone lawfully holding office of the president spend the million dollars he had on 3 different private lawfirms to defend a constitutional lawsuit against him challenging his right to hold office and then when all outta cash use the US Attorney’s Office to defend it for him, when if he were validly holding office he would have never had to hire private counsel in the first place as it’s not only the right but I believe the duty of the US Attorney’s Office to represent the president in legal manners. Furthermore if he were legit all he would have to do is file an affidavitt with the court and be done with it, but he has just as the “Executives” do hid and continue to hide behind counsel never having to answer for their crimes.

  15. I second that martyb! Really Vegasguy…He is the best voice we have right now…the CHIEF!!! We should support his fight against the ” TO BIG TO FAIL” Banks. They certainly could care less about their CUSTOMERS.

    The Wall Street FAT CATS set this entire Theft of the Middle class in motion. One could only hope that the Middle class is restored and the Executives that Gambled with our Economy be sent to jail.

    If we “the little people” have done a partial amount of what these Executives have done, the jails would certainly be overcrowded.

  16. give us ALL a break on this citizenship nonsense!!

  17. I don’t know…..I still don’t trust this guy. After all, he does not even qualify under the citizenship requirement in the Constitution to be president. He’s totally backed by Wall Street. It was his administration that “bullied” the banks into taking the bailout money (several banks did not want the funds), and now wants them paid back! I expect some more banks to fold as a result. It’s all a big push toward more centralization. While this latest move might seem like a step in the right direction, I’m willing to bet that it is really just a ploy to strengthen the money powers behind him, and it will still continue to get harder to find relief in the courts for the victims of all the fraud, wrongful foreclosures, and evictions with no authority.

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