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Sunday, September 21, 2008 ISSUE #517
 

Bankers and Wall Street same as eighty years ago

#517 September 21, 2008

COLUMBUS: This week Treasury Secretary, Mr. Paulson, pulled off an early Halloween Trick or Treat. Without even the benefit of a mask or a bed sheet with holes for the eyes and mouth, he knocked on our door and demanded Seven Hundred Billion Dollars. Or else.

He said he was acting on orders from Wall Street, the big bankers and insurance companies. He says it's not as bad as it might first appear; it's a loan.

What's the collateral, you ask. Mortgages, he answers.

Why don't the bankers just collect on the mortgages to get their $700 Billion? Because these particular mortgages are pretty much worthless, bought by poor sops with no foreseeable means of ever making the payments.

Why did the bankers loan money to these poverty stricken souls? Because the bankers and brokers got paid their commissions and bonuses for what money they handed out, not for what they collected.

Well, you can have the money on one condition: For all those birds responsible for creating and perpetuating this mess, we, the taxpayers, get to set the length of the prison terms.

In 1929, Mr. Andrew Mellon was the Treasury Secretary for President Hoover, but he didn't have nerve to ask for $700 Billion. Even if he had, I don't know that it would have put off the Great Depression. And we don't have any way of knowing if in 2008 it will put off Great Depression II.

We owe a Trillion Dollars on credit card debt, we're sending $700 Billion a year overseas for oil, so perhaps sending an equal amount to New York don't seem like such a hopeless deal.

It sure caught our Presidential candidates by surprise. They are working on a joint statement to be released just before the Friday night debate that will read: "Since Sec. Paulson is spending in one week all the money we intended to spend over the next four years for new and wonderful programs, we propose to suspend the campaign and postpone the election until November 2012."

Since we haven't learned anything in eighty years, I'll let the authentic Will Rogers take it from here:

Will Rogers on Banking and Wall Street:

"I guess there is no two races of people in worse repute with everybody than the international bankers, and the folks that put all those pins in new shirts." Aug. 26, 1932

"The bankers just got a good cussing by everybody for loaning too much money. Well, they got some awful nice buildings. So when a banker fails, he fails in splendor." DT #2345, Feb. 7, 1934

"If a bank fails in China, they behead the men at the top of it that was responsible...If we beheaded all of ours that were responsible for bank failures, we wouldn't have enough people left to bury the heads." Feb. 6, 1927

"You can't break a man that don't borrow; he may not have anything, but Boy! he can look the World in the face and say, "I don't owe you Birds a nickel." You will say, (if everyone stops borrowing) what will all the Bankers do? I don't care what they do. Let 'em go to work, if there is any job any of them could earn a living at. Banking and After-Dinner Speaking are two of the most Non-essential industries we have in this country. I am ready to reform if they are." WA #14, March 18, 1923

[In a speech to the American Bankers Association convention in New York City] "You have a wonderful organization. I understand you have ten thousand here. And if you count the ones in the various federal prisons, it brings your total membership up to around thirty thousand." 1923

"Bankers are likeable rascals. Now that we are all wise to 'em, it's been shown that they don't know any more about finances than the rest of us know about our businesses, which has proved to be nothing." DT #1924, Oct. 4, 1932

"But we can't alibi all our ills by just knocking the old banker. First he loaned the money, then the people all at once wanted it back, and he didn't have it. Now he's got it again, and is afraid to loan it, so the poor devil don't know what to do." DT #1833, June 8, 1932

"We never will have any prosperity that is free from speculation till we pass a law that every time a broker or person sells something, he has got to have it sitting there in a bucket, or a bag, or a jug, or a cage, or a rat trap, or something, depending on what it is he is selling. We are continually buying something that we never get from a man that never had it." DT #1301, Sept. 24, 1930

"Just been talking today out here to all the Senators investigating these stock swindles and overcapitalizations. There has been hundreds of millions lost. There ought to be some form of guardianship for people that buy all this junk. Education won't do it. (The buyers are) the ones we have educated up till they are just smart enough to fall for everything that comes along." DT #2270, Nov. 12, 1933

"The whole financial structure of Wall Street seems to have fallen on the mere fact that the Federal Reserve Bank raised the amount of interest from 5 to 6 per cent. Any business that can't survive a 1 per cent raise must be skating on mighty thin ice... But let Wall Street have a nightmare and the whole country has to help get them back in bed again." DT #950, Aug. 12, 1929

"It's no laughing matter being a Republican in these perilous times. Anyone can be a Republican when the stock market is up, but when stocks are selling for no more than they're worth, I tell you, being a Republican – it's a sacrifice." Oct. 14, 1934

"I am not against (bull fighting). Every nation has their own affairs and own sports. Some nations like to see blood, and some like to see their victims suffer from speculation. It's all in your point of view. They kill the bull very quick. Wall Street lets you live and suffer." DT #1646, Nov. 1, 1931


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