Move your money

Perhaps  you have seen the commercial.  Bank of America asks “What is 720,000,000, 000 ?” ” A good start.”  I find the commercial offensive.  For me it reminds me of the anti-lawyer joke, what do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean.  A good start.  

The commercial implies that Bank of America wants to receive more bail out money.  The banking industry with its deregulations and greed have caused the deepest recession this country has ever faced.   I am still not convinced that bailing the big banks out was in the country’s best interest.    We are the nation of free markets after all.  This is our mantra that here the free market reigns and if there is a market for something it will do well, if the market cannot support it,  it will fail.  Well, the market did not support the hedge funds, the quasi pyramid schemes, the credit default swaps, the soft mortgages and those banks that pushed these quick money schemes should assume the consequences of such irresponsible actions.  Instead, Bush and Obama following suit, gave billions of dollars to bail out these guys instead of allowing the market to correct itself or instead of bailing out the deceived who signed onto soft mortgages.   The victims of these shoddy business deals are still being held responsible when they were coerced more times than not to do something that every business person knew was not sustainable. 

Now that the economy is now beginning to rebound the banks are fighting against the regulations that are needed to prevent this sort of mass greed from happening again.   They do not want to be reigned in on their shoddy business practices and extravagant bonuses rewarding bad and unethical behavior.  

There is a way that the message that never again will big banks be allowed to squander our money can be heard.  And it is with our money that they have squandered.  Everytime a deposit is made to a bank we are giving the bank carte blanche approval to invest that money in however they see fit.  It might be in a hedge fund.  Or it might be in developing a coal processing plant in a foreign country endangering the livelihood of the local people and ruining the environment. 

However, what if people decided to invest their money in community banks?  Banks that invest the depositers money to support the local economy.  There is a movement that is beginning to take notice to move your money from the big banks like Bank of America that squandered our money recklessly and created the largest financial crisis in our history and place them into community banks. 

Community banks and some of these are also non-profit banks invest the money into local economies supporting building construction, local non-profit organizations with grants, and job creation with small business loans. It makes sense to support the local economy.  It also sends the message to the big banks that they can no longer rough ride over investors money with greed and unethical business practices.  

It will take some research to find the right community bank that reflects your values.     Paul Raushenbush writes, “Like the terms ecology and ecumenism, the word economy has the root oikos, which is a Greek word that translates as family or house. Any economy should be judged on its ability to provide for the needs of the entire human family it is meant to serve. Banks are an important part of our economy. As part of our economy they should be judged on how well they are serving our community and national family.”

You may get more information on how to move your money at this site.  Blessings,

Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 3:56 pm  Comments Off on Move your money  
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Perhaps its time to pull the bandaid

When I was a kid, I never ever wanted to remove a band aid.  It hurt.  It would tear the hair follicles from their roots and hurt.  My father after watching me for half an hour gently working the ends of the adhesive would call me over an in one fell swoop pull the band-aid off.  I would cry.  He would tell me I would get over it and soon forget about the 2 second pain I felt.  He was right of course but I am grateful for the modern day adhesives they use on bandaids which are so much easier to remove. 

As most of Americans, I am concerned about the current economic crisis.  I am watching and observing as Wall Street continues to fall after Jack and Jill down the hill.   I am witnessing the government trying to transfuse life blood back into failing banking and insurance companies and the bleeding does not stop with these band aids. 

I laughed sardonically when the person screamed about the error of giving financial help to home owners who are in danger of foreclosing with the argument that they made their mistakes so why should I enable them with my taxpayer dollar.   Yet, that is exactly what we are doing with the failed banks, failed insurance companies, and auto industries.   They made major mistakes.  They wanted and got de-regulation that removed the safe guards on their industry which in turn resulted in this collapse.   And they cried that they needed taxpayer money to cover their financial foolery.

Comedian Jon Stewart has suggested that home-owners should receive the bail out money with the caveat that it be used to pay off their bad defaulted mortgages, which in turn would go to the banks that are failing, which in turn would mean that AIG and other insurance companies would no longer be responsible to pay out payments that they do not have to pay, which in turn might encourage banks to begin lending again.   What does he know, he is just a comic.  Many a profound statement has come from the jester.  His suggestion does make simple sense and perhaps that is why it is so argued against because common sense is something we cannot have in America. 

NPR recently aired a commentary that stated that never in the history of economic theory has a theory been so severely tested and found to be false.  They were talking about Reaganomics, the infamous trickle down theory.   Reagan proposed and all of America jumped for joy, that if tax incentives were given to the wealthiest of Americans and to industries along with deregulations then the money saved would then create new jobs, and income would trickle down to the poorest of Americans.  When this was proposed 1% of Americans had 9% of the wealth.  Today, 1% of Americans have 22% of the wealth.  The theory failed to trickle down and the result is the current economic crisis. 

I hear the argument for a Free Market on many issues–mostly from conservatives but the piece of the Free Market that is not being allowed to happen are the consequences when major mistakes are made.   Perhaps we need to allow this theory of Free Market to also be fully tested and allow the companies that have allowed their greed and gluttony to rule their wallets to feel the full weight of the consequences.  Let the de-regulated industries fall. 

Let’s take the pain it will produce and with the spirit of American ingenuity rebuild a better system.  Let’s learn from these mistakes and stop trying to prop up these zombie banks with our Life’s blood that is gushing out faster than we can tranfuse it.  It isn’t working and the suffering it is engendering is worse than if it was over and done with so the true healing can begin. 

If we allow these mismanaged industries to fail, yes, it will cause pain but we at least will know what we have to work with that is working.  We at least would be able to focus our energy on creating industries that could create jobs for a new America.   We could be putting our energy towards the needs of the people impacted by the failures caused by the CEO’s and boards of these industries; universal health care, new vocational education programs, extended unemployment benefits, food resources, infrastracture rebuilding.  Perhaps create an America that lives up to its ideals of liberty and justice for all.  We might even turn away from our hyper-individualistic greed and build a nation that sees the common good as supreme.  

The lesson that I see in all of this is that we learned that extreme Communism does not work hence the fall of the Soviet Union and its puppet states in Europe.   Extreme Capitalism also does not work hence the current collapse we are attempting to forestall here in America and in Europe.   Now perhaps there is another form economic system that has not yet been developed, but if these are the only polarities then what is in the middle?  Socialism?  We already know it too has problems.   There has to be a better way and perhaps pulling the band-aid is the start towards that way.  Blessings,

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 2:47 pm  Comments (1)  
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