These accounts of our banking system were left on a Guardian comments thread in response to the revelations about Barclays, and other banks, ‘fixing’ the Libor interest rates for their own profit interests. They deserve wider coverage. To paraphrase a tweet from one-time-Cameron-favourite Philip Blond .. the banks’ actions evidence the mythology of a ‘free-market’. The four excellent and informed pieces are all written by the same author, Payguy2 .. with my emphasis in bold.
We watched as the banks greed caused the deepest World recession since the 1930’s. We see a quarter of our youth on the unemployment scrap heap.
We watch as the banks receive a trillion pound public investment from us the tax payers.
We watch as the opportunity cost of this investment is played out as the deepest cuts to our public infra structure since WW2/the Great Depression. Millions will be made unemployed. Hundreds of thousands will lose their homes. University fees triple to £9,000 a year.
We watch as this artificially maintained recession drives down wage demands and keeps us, the public, subservient with declining living standards whilst the global elite make out like bandits.
We watch as the banksters trouser billions of pounds in bonuses and pay rises whilst we, the public, endure years of stagflationairy reductions in living standards.
We watch as banks trouser further billions from quantitative easing and use it to speculate on oil and food, driving up the prices we have to pay to live.
We watch as the banks have enough money left over from the taxpayers gifts, after their bonuses of course, to fund over half of the Tory parties election budget.
We watch as the Tories reward the banksters with changes to the tax laws that allow no tax to be paid on overseas profits. A policy that no other country in the world has except Switzerland. In addition the Tories remove the bankers bonus tax and reduce corporation tax,
We watch as the banks reward the global elite by maintaining a shadowy network of trusts, quasi banks and other tax avoidance vehicles based in Jersey, Sark, Guernsey, Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands etc.
The level of avoidance is gargantuan with for example the authoritative US periodical TaxAnalysts estimating that conservatively in 2007 that the Crown Dependencies hosted about US$1trillion of potentially tax evading assets. This equates to about $30billion a year in avoided income tax alone and only measures the scale of avoidance in three tax havens.
We watch as the banks rip us off by borrowing from each other using insane FRB techniques and the absurdly low Bank of England rate (0.5%) yet charge us, the public, interest at 10 times this level on our loans and mortgages. We watch as the banks and their shadow arms and hedge funds short all the crippled European sovereign bond markets precipitating huge interest rate costs to taxpayers and threatening another economic collapse.
We watch as the banks borrow at 0.5% and then force our governments to pay them 3-4% interest on the bonds needed to pay for the taxpayers bailout of the banks. This is in itself insane and costs the government £20-30billion a year. The banks bought 97% of the government debt issued over the last 6 months (£36 billion worth) and trousered a tidy 3.8% interest, you and I have to pay them for the privilege.
We the public should demand not just ring fencing but separate ownership of casino and retail banks.
We should demand a Robin Hood or Tobin financial transaction tax.
We should demand the return of the bonus tax.
We should demand an increase in contingent capital ratios to the levels seen in the 1970s and the level adopted now by Switzerland (e.g. 20%).
We should demand an end to Over-the-counter derivative trading and insist on these monstrous immoral bets be traded only in registered stock exchanges.
We should demand an end to tax avoidance by transfer pricing and the use of shadowy secrecy tax havens such as Jersey, the Cayman Island and Gibraltar. Places where the banks shelter the money of every gangster, terrorist, third world dictator and mafia boss on the planet.
It’s not likely though with the banks providing over 50% of Tory party funding and a third of Tory MPs having worked or are still working in the City. These people would rather lie and put the blame on previous government or public sector workers.
We are not all in this together. We are living in a kleptocracy. The bankers should pay for the mess they caused. They should be taxed, not ordinary citizens or public sector workers.
When will somebody do something about these people?
My morgage has cost thousands of pounds more than it should have because of this fraud. Will Barclays traders, management and shareholders (who are reposnbile for holding the company responsible) be prosecuted? Will I be able to sue Barclays for their fraud?
Banks are the real cause of the deficit, not public spending. The Government pays banks usurious interest on future borrowing for no readily apparent reason. Ban fractional serve banking and regulate the banks properly. The following is just one example of how our banking system causes recessions, inflation and public sector debt. The Mint is the only bit of Government that can create money. The notes and coins it makes comprise only 3% of the “money” in circulation.
The other 97% is created by spivs/banksters who take money they’ve either robbed from the real economy with usurious interest charges (e.g. ten times the rate they borrow at due to the UK governments guarantee) or been given for free from a bailout/QE operation (again taxpayer money).
For example, say SirGreedy of Chinless-Shonky Bank gets his greedy mits on £1,000,000 from the real economy. He then borrows £30,000,000 from his friend Piers Bigend at RSWipe bank using the £1,000,000 as collateral.
He is able to borrow the £30,000,000 at a ridiculously low rate of interest as the money he is holding is 100% guaranteed by the UK Government. So he is likely to only to have to pay 1% or less interest on the loan (LIBOR or Euromarket rates).
SirGreedy takes the £30,000,000 and he might choose to gamble the money by speculating on food futures or shorting a European currency if he can persuade enough friends to join in on the pillaging. The UN recently pinned the blame for rising World food costs on bank speculation and it is undoubtedly the cause behind the food riots we are seeing in Africa and the Middle East.
But if SirGreedy is feeling cautious or has no friends a good safe bet is to buy a UK bond. It is 100% guaranteed by the UK Government and will pay him a return of 4%. He keeps this for a year and then sells it back to Bigend.
Sir Greedy repays his loan to Bigend (who makes £300,000K “profit”) for his bank RSWipe.
Sir Greedy takes home the 3% profit (£900K) he has made. He books it as a 90% profit on the £1,000,000 initial capital he had.
It’s now bonus time and both traders point to the hundreds of thousands pounds of profit they have made and its trebles all round and fat bonuses for both of them.
Notice there was no risk in any of these transactions as they are all underpinned by cast iron guarantees from the UK Government.
The UK taxpayer has lost £900K and gained nothing from the transactions.
In terms of inflation and effect on the real economy. £1,000,000 has disappeared from savers/house buyers somewhere and has reappeared as Government debt to the banks (£400K).
The £1,000,000 has turned into £1,400,000 causing inflation eventually.
In all likelihood it is very unlikely that exchanges would be this one sided. Much more likely that BigEnd will lend Sir Greedy £30M to play the game and Sir Greedy will in turn lend £30M to Bigend. This is why commentators refers to this as “interbank lending” or “Euromarket”.
Essentially its spivs both writing IOU’s for £30M on a napkin, swapping the napkins and magically creating profit for themselves by pillaging the UK taxpayer who as underwritten the whole deal.
Doesn’t look socially useful to me. Doesn’t look too intellectually demanding.
Why are we letting these people pay themselves salaries of 100s of time average wage for things that damage the well being of everyone else?”
And you still blame labour? Bear in mind that over 50% of Conservative party funding comes form banks
Here are some quotes from George Osborne:
August 2007 — FREEING BRITAIN TO COMPETE: Submission to the Shadow Cabinet, Economic Competitiveness Policy Group (Conservative Party):
“The last ten years in particular have been good years for the world economy as a whole. They have been characterised by two massively favourable trends. The first is an era of easy money. The main central banks worldwide have opted for low interest rates, the ready creation of credit, and tolerance of innovatory means of financing public and private sector activity through big increases in debt. It has been the era of public/private partnerships, specialised credit-based funds and funds of funds, collateralized debt obligations, collateralized loan obligations, credit default swaps, special purpose vehicles and many other similar ways of raising borrowing throughout the financial system.”
September 2007: TORIES ‘TO MATCH LABOUR’S SPENDING’.
A Conservative government would match Labour’s projected public spending totals for the next three years, shadow chancellor George Osborne has said. He pledged two years of 2% increases. The final year total would be reviewed […] Mr Osborne said government spending under the Conservatives would rise from £615bn next year to £674bn in 2010/11. He said, like Labour, the final year total would be reviewed in 2009. He said the move would create “headroom” for lower taxes because the economy is expected to grow faster than public spending.
October 2008: TORIES BACK BANK RESCUE BUT WE ALL PAY PRICE OF FAILURE (by David Cameron)
“The scale of the crisis facing our economy should not be underestimated. In recent weeks the banks have all but stopped lending to each other and businesses and families are also suffering from the credit crunch. We made the key judgment over a week ago that it may be necessary to take significant steps to help save the banking industry. That’s why we back, in broad terms, what the Government has done. “We have taken a lead in defending the interests of taxpayers by demanding that taxpayers’ money must come with conditions. The banks that will be most reliant on that money are those that have taken the greatest risks and in some cases behaved irresponsibly. “That’s why I pressed the Prime Minister yesterday to guarantee that there will be no bonuses for senior executives of those banks this year. That is a justified requirement given the situation these banks find themselves in. There should be no rewards for failure.”