No Recovery Under Rule of Bankers

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Wall Street’s seizure of the U.S. government has made meaningful economic recovery impossible. The financial capitalist class will not invest in productive enterprise, and prevents the government from doing so. It’s much easier to make money through systematic, multi-trillion-dollar raids on society.


No Recovery Under Rule of Bankers

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Wall Street is stripping the country of its ability to pull out of the death spiral.”

There will be no economic recovery for the masses of people in the United States. A real recovery, with decent jobs at decent wages under secure terms of employment, is now impossible absent a social upheaval such as the United States has never experienced. The reason is structural, and in some ways, simple. Wall Street has effectively captured the apparatus of government, and is methodically stripping the country of both its assets and the nation’s ability to pull out of the death spiral.

When the history of the era is written, Barack Obama’s term in office will be remembered as the period when Wall Street achieved its definitive conquest of the American state, thus depriving the society of the means to avoid economic and social disaster. Two men helped give us stark evidence of the theft of the American state as it was occurring. Neil Barofsky was the former prosecutor charged with overseeing the $700 billion TARP bank bailout program. But back in the summer of 2009, just six months into Barack Obama’s presidency, Barofsky reported that the federal government had already funneled about $14 trillion to bail out financial institutions. That’s 20 times as big as the TARP bailout, about the size of the annual real economy of the United States. The Obama administration and the Federal Reserve, acting on their own, were giving the banks 20 times as large a bailout as the Congress had voted for. Then, a year later, in July of 2009, Neil Barofsky dropped another bomb: the total federal bailout of the financial class could be $23.7 trillion, about 34 times the TARP bailout and approaching twice the gross domestic product of the United States. But it gets worse.

The banks will not invest in productive enterprises that provide decent jobs, and they will not allow the government to invest in jobs.”

This fall, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the other key person in providing evidence of Wall Street’s seizure of the American state, forced the Federal Reserve to submit to a one-time, snapshot audit. It showed that the Fed had provided American and foreign banks with $12.3 trillion in taxpayer money. That’s about six trillion dollars more from the Federal Reserve than Barofsky had discovered, a year before, bringing the total to about $30 trillion. That mind-boggling figure is about half the size of the entire economy of the planet Earth!

But the theft is even bigger than that. The Federal Reserve routinely lends banks money at virtually no interest, which the banks then use to buy U.S. Treasury bonds for which the banks are paid interest. This is a daily taxpayer subsidy to Wall Street that also amounts to trillions of dollars. The banksters bet some of this money in their derivatives casinos, which are valued at 600 to 1,000 trillion dollars – many times more than the real economy of the planet – and they spend a portion of their stolen loot to buy politicians to help them steal more money from the government. But they will not invest in productive enterprises that provide decent jobs, and they will not allow the government to invest in jobs, because that would reduce the amount of money the banks can steal. And that is why there will be no economic recovery worthy of the name, under the current structure of power in the United States.

So, what do you prefer – poverty, or an uprising? Those are the only choices.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].


"Oink, Oink"

56 percent of bankers say bonuses ‘not enough’

Men 24 times more likely than women to feel bonuses 'unfair'

Wall Street's five biggest banks had a banner year in 2010, racking up their second-highest revenues on record, and to celebrate they put aside some $90 billion for year-end bonuses. But an informal poll suggests that more than half of the people receiving those bonuses feel they aren't getting enough

Vanity Fair's Foster Kamer went to Wall Street and carried out an informal poll asking bank employees how they felt about their bonuses. He found that, of the 98 people surveyed, 56 percent said their bonuses were "not enough."

Sixty-one percent of those polled said they received a bonus this year, while 39 percent said they didn't. Even if all the respondents who didn't get a bonus were among those who wanted more, that still leaves about one-third of those with bonuses wanting more."

the banksters and their cousins

Hey Glen,

I think you are correct in that the shift in the U.S. domestic economy from investment in industrial manufacture to finance/services/real estate/insurance (FIRE+S) has resulted in stuctural changes that translate directly into crisis for the working class majority.

However, it would be wrong to think that this trend is a recent phenomenon and to interpret it mechanistically. The actual transition in capital flows was well under way as the post-war boom drew to a close.

The end of the boom marked the full-blown, bipartisan assault on the labor movement and movements of oppressed people, and the gains that had been made during the 60s and 70s by these movements: Douglas Frasier's "one-sided class war," the "culture wars," etc. Not only was this assault meant to drive back wages, including the "social wage," but to decimate organizations, destroy expectations and, overall, shift the balance of class forces against working people in consonance with the economic shifts underway. We, of course, call this "neoliberalism."

And -- very important -- the shift in the domestic economy was NOT accompanied by the total shift in capital flows away from manufacturing. Rather, these shifted to a great extent, overseas. Capitalists didn't pour all of their capital into financial speculation, but into other sectors, as well.

It's hard to argue against the idea that finance capital has tremendous power, but it has done so since Lenin's time. I do think it is a mistake to assume that finance capital alone calls the shots in Washington. The very role of finance capital means that it is impossible to separate it from other sectors, but these do have their own distinct and somewhat antagonistic interests.

Insofar as the state is the "executive for managing the common affairs of the capitalist class," Obama and company must do something of a balancing act between Big Finance, Big Pharma, the Agribusiness giants, the death panels, Big Oil, etc. And the policies may ALWAYS favor the rulers, but they don't always favor Big Finance.

In any case, we are well and truly screwed without that social upheaval.

Excellent article!  To borrow

Excellent article!  To borrow a line from a great film, Fried Green Tomatoes, "It is hog-boiling time."  The little peak we had into the Federal Reserve should be enough to make the US government make some serious changes, but then again, they are in cahoots.

We all have become economic slaves and it is time to free ourselves.  I don't quite know how we go about it but our consumerism put them in a place to buy and take power so we should be able to unwind the reel.  It's not like many of us have money to spend anyway but we need to give serious consideration about where our few dollars will end up.  People need to make the connection of our united power, stop supporting these crooks and kick the pigs off the farm.

US corporations are making record profits and sending jobs overseas while the US economy is sliding further every day. It wasn't a shock to see them trade the billionaire's tax-cuts for our unemployment but they had the gall to say it is good for the economy.  One pundit said the tax-cuts must be good because everbody is against them.  They must think we are really dumb but they are mistaken.  Our education is also slipping but it doesn't take a genius to know that jobs won't grow from unemployment checks.

The bankers don't play fair and they don't play nice but we can outsmart them because they can't see a thing with all the dollar signs in their eyes.  We can and should have an uprising but it must be done peacefully because they aren't loaning any money for bail.  My momma always said, if you want something done right, do it yourself... so 'We the People' have to get seriously involved and put ourselves in governement.  We can all learn a lesson from JFK and MLK and stay safe as we possible can while we put the real criminals in jail.  No company is too big to fail and no crook is too fat to jail.  It is third-party-time.  Thank you again for an excellent, concise and honest article.