Does India need more swindlers?
by Ramtanu Maitra on 25 Sep 2008 0 Comment

These days when the Wall Street is being seriously considered to be re-named as ‘swindler’s paradise’, a sickening article appeared in the International Herald Tribune on 21 September 2008, penned by Rita Chandran and George Chen. The article made clear that some of those thieves and swindlers, or their accomplishes, now no longer employed in swindlers’ paradise because the swindlers, exhibiting the appetite of a PacMan, have gobbled up trillions of investors’ money,  bankrupting every institution where they could lay their greedy hands on, will be recruited in India and China.


My observation is that neither India nor China needs more money swindlers. These countries have plenty of those. Why need they import fresh ones?


Modern day bankers and their cohorts, wearing business school tags, have developed a striking similarity with the Mafia. Both go out in the morning to do business, which is to steal public money. There is a difference, though. Every morning, the Mafia capo on his way to “do business,” puts in his car an iron rod, a gas pipe and a baseball bat; the money swindlers carry a Blackberry and a laptop. Probably, the difference ends there.


While the Mafia is protected by a slew of bad cops; money swindlers were protected by top swindlers, in this particular case, it is Hank Paulson and his partner-in-crime “Helicopter Ben” Bernanke. For those who are not aware why Bernanke is known as “Helicopter Ben”, here is a tip. Bernanke in his previous incarnation as a professor at Princeton once said he would drop sack loads of money from a helicopter to avoid depression. He did not need a helicopter this time around; he had the representative of the swindlers as his partner!


Cash for Trash


It was something of a spectacle watching the Guru of swindlers, Paulson, appearing before the Senate Banking Committee on 23 September, expressing concerns about “Main Street” (the American people): “I share your frustrations; I feel those frustrations.”


But the Senators remember Paulson, who left Goldman Sachs two years ago with hundreds of millions in his pocket, and his assurance to lawmakers for the past two years that the market would take care of itself. As late as earlier this year, Paulson told lawmakers in the shadows of a financial meltdown that “the markets are going” and what the financial system is undergoing is a “housing correction.” He had then assured Capitol Hill: “I have confidence in our markets.” One American commentator mocked Paulson’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee as: “I come to you, Cashmere hat in hand...” 


What the Guru of the swindlers, nominated by the Bush administration to create a bankers’ dictatorship, seeks to build a huge trough for the pigs to munch on taxpayers’ money. If and when the trough is set up, and knowing US Congressmen and Congresswomen it is likely to be set up with minimal change in shape of trough (no, no, not circular, make the trough octagonal!), the pigs without lipstick will move in to secure their places.


Already financial firms of all hues are demanding to be included, by having government expand the types of “assets” it will buy, while others are lobbying for a piece of action managing all this government-owned crap. Paulson, acting more like a hedge fund manager, is going to appoint fellow swindlers as fund managers and bring them under the government payroll.


Paulson has already expanded his proposal from buying mortgages and mortgage-related securities into the right to buy “any other financial instrument” – a loophole big enough to push through the fattest pigs – and expanding the programme to include foreign institutions, giving him carte blanche to do virtually anything he desires with the taxpayers’ money and bust the essential budgetary requirements for years to come.


What the bailout really means is purchasing with public money bad mortgage securities from financial institutions. It will do nothing to help homeowners because it does nothing to alter the cash flows expected of them. The bailout does little to actually re-liquidate at least one thousand banks that are at risk. And, in essence, there would be an increase, rather than decrease, in the number of financial institutions having insufficient capital.


Now here is a pointer how the Guru of the swindlers is moving to protect fellow thieves and swindlers. On the night of 21 September, the US Federal Reserve Board approved the applications of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley banks to become bank holding companies. With that action the last of the major Wall Street investment banks will disappear. The reason these two swindling operations were given the status of bank holding companies is that with the demise of the securities markets, they were no longer viable, and this is the only hope they have of survival to loot another day! Meanwhile, as bank holding companies regulated by the US Federal Reserve, they will of course have access to the growing list of bailout facilities.


As the waves of bank failures begin in the coming days, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will now be in a position to begin gobbling up banks after the Federal Deposit Insurance Company, which protects the depositors’ money, has eaten the losses, and thus become major banks themselves. They, and other giants like J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America, can then use your bank deposits as their own speculative piggy banks.


Is there hope?


The question: Is there a hope to stop the swindlers from setting up this huge trough for the pigs? Not much, since the entire Capitol Hill is compromised. The majority of lawmakers got their re-election money from Wall Street and they, on their own, will be too willing to allow the swindlers to swindle. There are some exceptions though.


The exceptions would emerge from the response of the people, when they fully grasp what is being pushed by the swindlers under the pretext that “we are five minutes away from disaster.” The key here is the speed in setting up the trough and that is what is being seen this week on the Hill.


However, once people recall that the same swindlers were in droves on the Hill months before saying the financial system is undergoing a modest “housing correction” and “things are under control as always,” and now see the same thieves are begging to set up the trough, they would react.


Some responses have begun to rattle the lawmakers, and the swindlers, of course. One Congressman reported that his phone is ringing off the hook with calls from his constituency urging him to reject the bailout and send the criminals where they belong, and throw away the prison keys. Sen. Richard Shelby (Republican-Alabama) said during the Senate Banking Committee hearing: “What troubles me most is that we have given no credible assurances that this plan will work. We could very well spend $700 billion or $1 trillion and not resolve the crisis. Before I sign off something of this magnitude, I would want to know that we have exhausted all reasonable alternatives. But I don’t believe we can do that in a weekend.”


Therefore, my suggestion to fellow Indians is - stay away from hiring these swindlers with Wharton, Yale and Harvard degrees to give them a playing field to steal more. Send them to jail, and throw the keys. Let them rot.


That will be a service to the people.


The author is South Asian Analyst at Executive Intelligence Review News Services Inc.

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