Restocking The Swamp

Retirement, The Fed, U.S Investments

America is going through a regime change, out with the old, and in with the new. Oh really! With the entrenched political establishment, the faces may change, but the swamp remains.

Pundit Bill Bonner recently wrote, “Bush, Obama, Trump…and presently, the hack from Delaware…all share the same goal – to keep the elites in power, at any cost.”

Chuck Butler wrote:

“Seems that the new president is going to name Gary Gensler as chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission…. Here’s what the GATA folks said about that, “Former CFTC exec who couldn’t spot gold and silver market rigging to head SEC….” I find this news preposterous! Totally preposterous!

The Reuters article that GATA highlighted, said that Gensler was known as a hard-nosed regulator that would stand up to the Big Banks… Really? I mean Really? All the years he was at the CFTC (the commodities regulator) and never found one thread of evidence that price manipulation was going on, is going to be the head of the SEC? I’m getting some exercise this morning, as I shake my head in disbelief!”

He added, “I said that I was calling B.S. on his ability to be a hard-nosed regulator… In my opinion, he couldn’t see the trees in the forest if he stood right smack in front of the forest!”

When Gensler headed up the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) he behaved like TV character, Sgt. Schultz, of Hogan’s Heros; “I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing.”

After the Reuters article praised Clayton, they added:

“A former Wall Street lawyer, the incumbent Clayton was criticized by Democrats for his extensive ties to many companies he was tasked with overseeing and for leading an ambitious agenda to reverse a 20-year decline in U.S. public company listings with an overhaul of dozens of rules.

Among the most controversial changes were measures critics said reduced corporate disclosures to investors, weakened auditor independence, made it harder for shareholders to push for corporate votes on issues such as climate change and racial justice, and allowed more retail investors to dabble in private company investments.”

I’m with Chuck, BS. Please make a liar out of me, I would love to be wrong.

Moving on to treasury secretary

Former Fed Chairperson, Janet Yellen got confirmed.

The Department of the Treasury proudly proclaims:

“The Treasury Department is the executive agency responsible for promoting economic prosperity and ensuring the financial security of the United States.”

Ah yes, a public servant who looks after all of us, “promoting economic prosperity and ensuring the financial security of the United States.” Forbes reassures us, she is up for the job:

“As the former chair of the Federal Reserve…Yellen is no stranger to charting a course for the U.S. economy. It’s a key qualification, as she joins President-elect Biden’s cabinet during one of the most turbulent economic and political periods in U.S. history.

“We face great challenges as a country right now. To recover, we must restore the American dream-a society where each person can rise to their potential and dream even bigger for their children,” Yellen tweeted after her nomination. “As Treasury Secretary, I will work every day towards rebuilding that dream for all.”

…. Yellen’s career, which spans five decades, proves she’s one of the most qualified people to ever serve as Treasury Secretary.”

Janet Yellen was the Vice Chair of the Fed from 2010-2014, and then became the Chairperson from 2014-2018. Remember the 2008 bank bailout was supposed to be temporary and we were reassured that things would quickly return to normal.

In 2017, consumer advocate Ralph Nader wrote an open letter to Ms. Yellen, asking:

“…. We want to know why the Federal Reserve, funded and heavily run by the banks, is keeping interest rates so low that we receive virtually no income for our hard-earned savings while the Fed lets the big banks borrow money for virtually no interest. It doesn’t seem fair to put the burden of your Federal Reserve’s monetary policies on the backs of those Americans who are the least positioned to demand fair play.

…. We are tired of this melodrama that exploits so many people who used to rely on interest income to pay some of their essential bills. Think about the elderly among us who need to supplement their social security checks every month.”

It was estimated that over $4 trillion in interest that would have been paid to seniors and savers, has instead gone to banks and the government in the form of saving interest expense.

Ms. Yellen’s response was ridiculous:

“Americans generally have benefited, most particularly lower- and middle-income people affected disproportionately during the downturn….”

“For decades the American financial system was stable and safe. But then something changed. The financial industry turned its back on society, corrupted our political system and plunged the world economy into crisis. ….

The men and institutions that caused the crisis are still in power and that needs to change.

They will tell us that we need them and that what they do is too complicated for us to understand. They will tell us it won’t happen again. They will spend billions fighting reform.”

— Charles Ferguson, Inside Job

In 2015, the House of Representatives passed a bill to audit the Fed. Fed chair Janet Yellen vehemently opposed the bill.

Yellen said the House bill “attempts to increase transparency and accountability through misguided provisions that would expose the Federal Reserve to short-term political pressures.

She argued that policymakers do not understand the economy well enough to come up with a rule that would reliably guide the economy through its ups and downs.” (Emphasis mine)

She must be the smartest person in the room. The Senate was unable to pass the bill.

She added she would be “very open” to looking at ways for the Fed itself to improve on transparency.

Wall Street on Parade (WSOP) reports:

“…. In 2008 (The U. S. financial system) received a super-secret $29 trillion bailout from the Fed. The details of the Fed’s obscene bailout were made public three years after the fact under a federal court decision and government audit.”

Transparency does not describe Ms. Yellen.

WSOP reports, “Janet Yellen’s Cash Haul of $7 Million Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg; She Failed to Report Her Wall Street Speaking Fees from JPMorgan and Others in 2018.”

“…. She has released her financial disclosure forms which showed a windfall of more than $7 million in speaking fees since she left her position with the Federal Reserve. The bulk of that money came from Wall Street firms, which are variously regulated and bailed out by the Fed.

…. Why did her financial disclosure form report her cash haul from Wall Street…for just the years 2019 and 2020 when common sense suggests her biggest haul would have been in 2018….

Less than two months after stepping down from the Fed, Yellen was raking in huge fees for chumming around with, and delivering her bits of wisdom to, the mega trading houses on Wall Street….

Senior Reporter Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica Tweeted: “Deeply troubling two-fisted money grab from banks by Janet Yellen. This is corruption, but isn’t called that because it’s so quotidian.” (Quotidian: ordinary or every day) Eisinger also noted: “Sure, Yellen might think she can make independent decisions once in office. But how arrogant is it to imagine that money corrupts everyone but you?” (Emphasis mine)

Was Ms. Yellen “vehemently opposed” to an audit of the Fed in an attempt to hide the truth from Congress and the public? Were her subsequent speaking fees from those same banks a coincidence?

After her confirmation, Jim Rickards writes:

“Janet Yellen has no real understanding of money and monetary economics. Her tenure at the Fed proves it.

The Fed and Congress may try to stimulate the economy, but they will fail. We’re likely heading for another crisis. ….

Yellen’s nomination greases the skids for a disastrous policy that could lead to a monster crisis down the road.”

Ms. Yellen is a political appointee, proclaiming her goal is transparency and rebuilding the American dream for all. Like most in Washington, her words and deeds are inconsistent.

But wait! There’s more!

WSOP reports, “Sherrod Brown, One of Wall Street’s Biggest Critics, Set to Take the Gavel at Senate Banking.”

“On November 10…Brown said this during his opening remarks at a Senate Banking hearing with the federal regulators of banks:

‘We have to break up the biggest banks, and give that power to everyone else who has been denied a voice in our economy’….”

Brown didn’t support the audit of the Fed, noting the legislation, “really solves nothing but to politicize the Fed.”

Keeping score.

WSOP adds, “Big Wall Street Donors to Biden Will Maneuver for Key Posts”:

“Finance, Insurance & Real Estate” donated a stunning $201,675,240 to Biden’s campaign and PACs supporting him. Add…”Lawyers and Lobbyists,”…and you’re looking at a cool quarter of a billion dollars.”

— The head of the SEC talks big but sees, hears, knows and does nothing.

— The Treasury Secretary collects millions in fees from the companies she regulated at the Fed, ignoring financial disclosure rules while hiding $29 trillion in their bailouts.

— The head of the senate banking committee talks tough, but does not support a simple bill to audit the fed. He wouldn’t get much support for reinstating the Glass-Steagall act.

I’m with Chuck. Despite the hoopla and tough talk, I’ll believe it when I see it. A quarter of a billion dollars buys a lot of support in the swamp. I expect the Fed to continue to pump out more fake money while Wall Street and the politicians smile.

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