Senator Warren Introduces the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, her first piece of stand-alone legislation, on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. The bill would enable students who are eligible for federally subsidized Stafford loans to borrow at the same rate the big banks get through the Federal Reserve discount window.
From her floor speech:
“Some people say that we can’t afford to help our kids through school by keeping student loan interest rates low,” said Senator Warren. “But right now, as I speak, the federal government offers far lower interest rates on loans, every single day–they just don’t do it for everyone. Right now, a big bank can get a loan through the Federal Reserve discount window at a rate of about 0.75%. But this summer a student who is trying to get a loan to go to college will pay almost 7%. In other words, the federal government is going to charge students interest rates that are nine times higher than the rates for the biggest banks–the same banks that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke this economy. That isn’t right. And that is why I’m introducing legislation today to give students the same deal that we give to the big banks.”
“Big banks get a great deal when they borrow money from the Fed,” Senator Warren continued. “In effect, the American taxpayer is investing in those banks. We should make the same kind of investment in our young people who are trying to get an education. Lend them the money and make them to pay it back, but give our kids a break on the interest they pay. Let’s Bank on Students… Unlike the big banks, students don’t have armies of lobbyists and lawyers. They have only their voices. And they call on us to do what is right.”
The bank foreclosure settlement that was intended to speed relief to homeowners is having some problems. Probably not a surprise to those already screwed over by the Big Banks.
On Tuesday, some of the first people to receive payouts under the $9.2 billion deal between federal regulators and the mortgage industry called into a government hotline to report that their bank would not cash their check, the Federal Reserve announced in a press release. Though the unspecified problem was eventually resolved, the Federal Reserve noted, the episode is likely to further erode confidence in a program that has failed to deliver on almost every promise made by federal regulators.
The paying agent for checks being sent to borrowers under the Independent Foreclosure Review has assured the Federal Reserve Board that early problems with some checks have been corrected and that funds are available to cash all checks.
Some early recipients of checks informed the Federal Reserve's consumer helpline on Tuesday that they were told their checks could not be cashed. Members of the Board staff contacted the paying agent, Rust Consulting, Inc., and the paying bank, The Huntington National Bank. Rust subsequently corrected problems that led to some checks being rejected.
The Board will continue to monitor the payments closely and encourages borrowers who have concerns or experience difficulties cashing their checks to call Rust at 1-888-952-9105.
As previously announced, on April 12, payments began to 4.2 million borrowers following an agreement reached by federal bank regulatory agencies and 13 mortgage servicers. More than 50,000 people have already cashed or deposited checks.
Warren embarrassed the poor regulators during a Senate Banking Committee hearing last Thursday morning as she demanded to know why they won’t reveal how frequently big banks illegally foreclosed on homeowners, only to be told that information about bank's illegal activities is "proprietary" and may not ever be disclosed.
When the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street drove this country into the deepest recession since the 1930s, the largest financial institutions in the United States took every advantage of being American. They just loved their country - and the willingness of the American people to provide them with the largest bailout in world history. In 2008, Congress approved a $700 billion gift to Wall Street. Another $16 trillion in virtually zero interest loans and other financial assistance came from the Federal Reserve. America. What a great country.
But just two years later, as soon as these giant financial institutions started making record-breaking profits again, they suddenly lost their love for their native country. At a time when the nation was suffering from a huge deficit, largely created by the recession that Wall Street caused, the major financial institutions did everything they could to avoid paying American taxes by establishing shell corporations in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens.
In 2010, Bank of America set up more than 200 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands (which has a corporate tax rate of 0.0 percent) to avoid paying U.S. taxes. It worked. Not only did Bank of America pay nothing in federal income taxes, but it received a rebate from the IRS worth $1.9 billion that year. They are not alone. In 2010, JP Morgan Chase operated 83 subsidiaries incorporated in offshore tax havens to avoid paying some $4.9 billion in U.S. taxes. That same year Goldman Sachs operated 39 subsidiaries in offshore tax havens to avoid an estimated $3.3 billion in U.S. taxes. Citigroup has paid no federal income taxes for the last four years after receiving a total of $2.5 trillion in financial assistance from the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis.
September 25, 2011, 12th St between University and 5th Ave, NYC. A journalist (Louis Jargow) is violently arrested for documenting police brutality against OWS protesters and a young woman is attacked by a police officer and dragged into the street by her hair. Moments later the young women from the opening shot of the video are pepper sprayed, point blank without warning or provocation.
Naomi Wolf gives an excellent in-depth analysis of those newly released documents that reveal the FBI's counterterrorism monitoring of Occupy Wall Street, and points out the assassination by sniper fire threats against OWS leaders that the FBI never bothered to inform anyone in the movement about.
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.
The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations' knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).
Wolf mentions that Jason Leopold, at Truthout.org, has sought similar documents for more than a year, and reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration of Occupy Wall Street existed at all. So indeed, is the release strategic? Having your personal information harvested and sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, and the threat of an unknown entity's "longterm" plans to shoot you could easily frighten off even the most hard-core activists among us.
Are we all Wikileaks?
Wolf writes,"There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people's income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent."
And of the push for counterterrorism fusion centers and the Department of Homeland Security militarization of police departments, she adds, "It was never really about "the terrorists". It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you."
Videographer Luke Rudkowski (#OWS) got yet another chance to question the current chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke. The last time the two met, Bernanke was not in a talkative mood and since Luke only had one chance to ask one question he decided it had to be an important one. Luke asked Bernanke about the 2007 - 2010 secret trillion dollar Federal Reserve bailouts, that only recently came to light from a partial audit of the Federal Reserve. Barnanke was not happy with the question but since no one in the main stream media ever questioned Bernanke on the biggest bailout in world history, Luke had to seize the opportunity. During the inpromptu interview, Bernanke actually grabbed Luke's microphone and tried to snatch it away from him, but sadly the video did not capture his hands on the microphone.
Two of the U.S. largest banks, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, reported big quarterly profits on Friday—with JPMorgan Chase having a third-quarter profit of $5.7 billion, up 34 percent from last year. The economy is adding jobs, the housing market is recovering, and the federal reserve provides money for free. Which means it is a great time to be a bank. Earnings at Wells Fargo were up 22 percent for the third quarter, or $4.9 billion profit. Chase’s profits come in the aftermath of the “London whale” trading debacle.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke spoke dire words during a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday. Bernanke told senators that “economic activity appears to have decelerated somewhat” and that “the reduction in the unemployment rate seems likely to be frustratingly slow.” He did not say whether the Federal Reserve plans to do more to boost growth. He also warned lawmakers that federal spending cuts and tax hikes that automatically take effect in 2013 if Congress does not act to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, is the biggest threat to the nation’s economy. He urged lawmakers to “Do no harm.”
Luke Rudkowski, Mark Dice & Adam Kokesh team up to take on the most insidious mafia organization in DC, The Federal Reserve. Watch what happens when Luke, Mark & Adam begin innocently filming the outside of The Federal Reserve building on Constitution Ave.
Federal officials laughed at warning signals, and gushed that Alan Greenspan was totally awesome as the economy headed towards the biggest iceberg in about 70 years. Reading the Federal Reserve transcripts- available here - was much like watching "The Titanic," without the Grammy winning theme song or the romantic sex scenes between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.
As the housing bubble entered its waning hours in 2006, top Federal Reserve officials marveled at the desperate antics of home builders seeking to lure buyers.
The officials laughed about the cars that builders were offering as signing bonuses, and about efforts to make empty homes look occupied. They joked about one builder who said that inventory was “rising through the roof.”
Some officials, including Susan Bies, a Fed governor, suggested that a housing downturn actually could bolster the economy by redirecting money to other kinds of investments.
And there was general acclaim for Alan Greenspan, who stepped down as chairman at the beginning of the year, for presiding over one of the longest economic expansions in the nation’s history. Mr. Geithner suggested that Mr. Greenspan’s greatness still was not fully appreciated, an opinion now held by a much smaller number of people.
Meanwhile, by the end of 2006, the economy already was shrinking by at least one important measure, total income. And by the end of the next year, the Fed had started its desperate struggle to prevent the collapse of the financial system and to avert the onset of what could have been the nation’s first full-fledged depression in about 70 years.
The transcripts of the 2006 meetings, released after a standard five-year delay, clearly show some of the nation’s pre-eminent economic minds did not fully understand the basic mechanics of the economy that they were charged with shepherding. The problem was not a lack of information; it was a lack of comprehension, born in part of their deep confidence in economic forecasting models that turned out to be broken.
I had friends already losing their jobs and homes in 2006. The people who should have been looking out for us, they were laughing. George W. Bush even put a medal on Alan Greenspan.
Timothy Geithner is, as you're probably all aware, our Secretary of the Treasury, and Ben Bernanke our current Chairman of the Federal Reserve, as well as the central bank of the United States.
Alan Greenspan (Or Mr."Terrific" as Geithner referred to him) is the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006, first appointed by Ronald Reagan. Greenspan held economic views influenced by Ayn Rand, need I say more? Probably not, but I will. He also supported the idea of the privatization of Social Security, and deficit-spurring tax cuts.