Sunday, November 18, 2012

An Obama Four year Agenda

I’m thinking about the demands within Britain for a complete structural overhaul, from top to bottom, of the BBC.  Not to suggest that, their fairly glaring screw-up on the news show requires some serious accountability, but seems to me to stop short of blowing up BBC and starting over. Now, to be fair, we are great fans of the BBC, finding them to be both serious and talented for virtually all of their programming, from straight news to dramatic shows.  So, while we agree that a shake-up is perhaps needed, we also hope that the main parts of the BBC remain healthy and continue on as they were.  There are no public services that seriously rival the BBC for content and intelligence.

But, while I was thinking about dramatic structural redesigns, I was drawn inexorably to the global financial system. Now, if ever there is a case ready-made for a complete redesign, it is our global financial system. It would seem that global finance is too important to be left to (private) bankers.  I keep wondering why we don’t seem to grasp that simple fact—private bankers have demonstrated amply, beyond any reasonable doubt, that they are willing and able to gamble with other peoples’ money to the point of exhaustion, i.e., the exhaustion of the entire world’s supply of money. They seem not to care about any consequences, especially on other people, including their own clients. And when they are caught out and show signs of collapsing the entire financial structure, they expect to be bailed out by various sovereign governments.  And then they would get all huffy at the suggestion that any of them are criminals who need to spend some serious time in the slammer.  I mean, we pulled our accounts and money from the HSBC bank, upon discovering that they were really just part of a criminal enterprise—laundering and protecting the funds of Mexican drug lords and establishing offshore accounts to hide their (illegal) funds. To my knowledge, nobody has gone to prison from the HSBC bank community.
Another bank basically set up highly risky real estate ventures, sold those capital ventures to their clients and then went around them to bet against the success of the ventures—in effect betting against their own clients.
We have so many instances of the big banks—the “global” banks-- doing at best grossly unethical things and at worst patently illegal acts, that it seems to me the evidence is now in. Banks and bankers can no longer be trusted to operate global financial systems and they need to be regulated to the point that they no longer have much freedom of action. We need to get banks out of the gambling business. Goodness, we spend considerable time and discussion about Internet gambling, tsk tsking all over the place. Yet, we seem not to care that big bankers are basically very large gambling institutions. Las Vegas mobsters must be envious.
So, I am awaiting some sign from our global leaders that they now recognize that we need a new, from the ground up, redesign of the entire global financial system, including both international transactions, and actions within national boundaries. It may be that “global” banks need to be broken up into very small entities. Surely, we know by now that any bank “too big to fail” is also too big to exist.
So, maybe we have an additional item on Mr. Obama’s four year agenda:
1.       A strategic solution to the current financial mess, created by our republican banking community;

2.       A complete redesign of the world’s financial mechanisms and institutions;

3.       A strategic plan for engaging the climate change problem, with its potentially catastrophic effects should we not act;

4.       And, a new single payer approach to health care that gets rid of insurance companies and that covers all citizens of the nation.
So, there you go, Prez . . . a whole neat four-year agenda. Now, it’s your turn.
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