In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Posts Tagged ‘ponzi scheme’

Video: Afshin Rattansi, Max Keiser, Bernard Madoff & U.S.war

Posted by smeddum on December 18, 2008

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The ABCs of Paulson’s Bailout

Posted by seumasach on October 21, 2008

Michael Hudson

Counterpunch

20th October, 2008

Treasury Secretary  Paulson’s bailout speech on Monday, October 13, poses some fundamental economic questions: What is the impact on the economy at large of this autumn’s unprecedented creation and giveaway of financial wealth to the wealthiest layer of the population? How long can the Treasury’s bailout of Wall Street (but not the rest of the economy!) sustain a debt overhead that is growing exponentially? Is there any limit to the amount of U.S. Treasury debt that the government can create and turn over to its major political campaign contributors?

In times past, national debt typically was run up by borrowing money from private lenders and spent on goods and services. The tendency was to absorb loanable funds and bid up interest rates on the one hand, while spending led to inflationary price increases for goods and services. But the present giveaway is different. Instead of money being borrowed or spent, interest-yielding bonds are simply being printed and turned over to the banks and other financial institutions.  The hope is that they will lend out more credit (which will become more debt on the part of their customers), lowering interest rates while the money is used to bid up asset prices – real estate, stocks and bonds. Little commodity price inflation is expected from this behavior.

The main impact will be to reinforce the concentration of wealth in the hands of creditors (the wealthiest 10 percent of the population) rather than wiping out financial assets (and debts) through the bankruptcies that were occurring as a result of “market forces.” Is it too much to say that we are seeing the end of economic democracy and the emergence of a financial oligarchy – a self-serving class whose actions threaten to polarize society and, in the process, stifle economic growth and lead to the very bankruptcy that the bailout was supposed to prevent?

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