The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Return Of The Robber Barons


"We must break the Money Trust or the Money Trust will break us."
- Louis D. Brandeis, 1913

When the economy appeared to be melting down last September, Wall Street bank representatives began showing up in Congress like mobsters walking into a mom-and-pop business looking for protection money.
"Nice economy ya got here.(crash!) It would be a shame if something were to happen to it."

Mobsters and Robber Barons have a lot in common.
Neither has any respect for the law or morals, only for power. Neither can ever be satisfied with any amount of wealth. They will always need to steal more and more and more until they've completely bankrupted their victims.

We are now at the mercy of modern Robber Barons, and if history is any judge, it is either them or us.

Bank Wars

"The great monopoly in this country is the money monopoly. So long as that exists, our old variety and freedom and individual energy of development are out of the question."
- Woodrow Wilson, 1911

On February 28, 1913, the House of Representatives released a report with the most banal name imaginable - Committee Appointed Pursuant to House Resolutions 429 and 504 to Investigate the Concentration of Control of Money and Credit.
In spite of the long-winded and innocuous title, the testimony in the report revealed to the world an unseemly and corrupt conspiracy of Wall Street bankers that threatened the very foundations of our democracy. Despite the dangers, many of the recommendations of the Pujo Committee were ignored until after the 1929 Crash.

Arsene Pujo

As a species and a nation, we seem to be doomed to repeat our mistakes.

Dirty political battles between Washington and eastern bankers are not a new concept in America. The Bank War between President Jackson and the Second Bank of the United States is the most obvious and public of these exchanges. Nicolas Biddle, the Second Bank's President, purposely caused the 1834 Depression, by restricting the money supply, to use as leverage against President Jackson.

Src: The Smoking Argus Daily, Allison Bricker

Unfortunately for Mr. Biddle, his arrogance regarding his ability to cause an economic collapse allowed his ego to get the best of him. He continued boasting, now publicly that relief would only come if Congress renewed the bank’s charter. When Pennsylvania Governor George Wolf, a previous supporter of the central bank was made aware of the bank President’s sentiments, he immediately came out against extension or renewal of the bank’s charter.
When someone mentions trusts and trust-busting, people tend to think of John. D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil, J. P. Morgan's Northern Securities railroad company, and Andrew Carnegie's U.S. Steel.
What frequently gets forgotten is the Money Trust of Wall Street. The reason that it isn't mentioned is because it was never totally broken. Instead the decision was to regulate it via the creation of the Federal Reserve. Nicolas Biddle's dream was finally realized.

Src: The Smoking Argus Daily, Allison Bricker

Our Financial Oligarchy

"Far more dangerous than all that has happened to us in the past in the way of elimination of competition in industry is the control of credit through the domination of these groups over our banks and industries."
- Pujo Committee

"The dominant element in our financial oligarchy is the investment banker. Associated banks, trust companies and life insurance companies are his tools...Though properly but middlemen, these bankers bestride as masters America's business world, so that practically no large enterprise can be undertaken successfully without their participation or approval."
- Louis D. Brandeis, 1913

What frequently gets lost in economic discussions is that the current depression is different from all other post-WWII recessions. All previous recessions were caused intentionally by the Federal Reserve.
The Fed would raise interest rates in order to choke off inflation. Once the inflation was contained they would lower interest rate. Consumer demand, which was artificially suppressed by the Fed's high interest rates, would then be released and the economy would boom.

That didn't happen this time.

The Fed didn't raise interest rates to choke off inflation. There was no consumer demand that was artificially suppressed, thus there was no pent-up demand that was waiting to be released when the Fed cut rates.
What little "less bad" news that we've heard with home and auto sales has been almost exclusively to do with the tax rebates for first-time home buyers and the cash-for-clunkers program. Both of these programs are limited in time and scope, and both bring future demand to the present, which will leave an even bigger gap in demand once they are finished.

What happened this time was an economic collapse that emanated directly from Wall Street. It's source was bad loans that the bankers and rating agencies pushed onto the financial markets of the world, knowing full well that it was only a matter of time before they blew up and took down the world economy.
The economy didn't collapse because of government regulations. It didn't collapse because the government taxed too much or spent too little.
It wasn't because the American consumer stopped spending.

It was because the financial system knowingly overpriced a major financial asset class, and then leveraged itself against that asset class in the vain hope that the Day of Reckoning never came.

The whole financial crisis only came to light because of what amounts to a falling out amongst thieves.

War Between the Ruling Kleptocracy

Read the rest by clicking here.

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