We're the fish.
The giant "too big to fail" banks are the bird. They've got their talons in the American consumer and the economy.
The only way out for us - the fish - is if someone "shoots" the bird ... or at least captures it and removes its talons from our hide.
In other words: Unless the mega-banks are broken up and reined in, we're in quite a pickle.
As I've previously noted, virtually all leading independent economists have said that the too big to fails must be broken up, or the economy won't be able to recover, and that smaller banks actually lend more into the economy than the mega-banks (and see this).
Unless we break up the mega-banks:
- Competition will remain impaired, there will be less loans extended to Main Street and larger banker bonuses, our debt problem will worsen, markets will be rigged and derivatives will never be reined in
- Unemployment will keep rising
- The big banks will continue to dominate American politics, destroying any chance of restoring a representative form of government
And now there's the foreclosure crisis.
You've probably heard about it. Even Jon Stewart is talking about it.
We're in tough spot, alright.
As Yves Smith notes:
The problems facing deals where the notes were not properly conveyed (which we think are pervasive) are not easily remedied. As we have discussed, the “fixes” for the note conflict both with the provisions of the pooling and servicing agreement and New York Trust law.
Breaking up the giant banks is the only way out.
As Congressman Grayson wrote to Geithner, Bernanke, the SEC, FDIC, and the rest of the financial overseers:
The liability here for the major banks is potentially enormous, and can lead to a systemic risk. Fortunately, the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation includes a resolution process for these banks.
Dodd-Frank legislation is the recently-passed "financial reform
legislation" that lets regulators force insolvent banks - no matter how
big - into bankruptcy.
Banking analyst Chris Whalen wrote on Thursday:
The U.S. banking industry is entering a new period of crisis where operating costs are rising dramatically due to foreclosures and defaults. We are less than ¼ of the way through the foreclosure process.
The largest U.S. banks remain insolvent and must continue to shrink. Failure by the Obama Administration to restructure the largest banks during 2007?2009 period only means that this process is going to occur over next three to five years –whether we like it or not.
The issue is recognizing existing losses ?? not if a loss occurred. Impending operational collapse of some of the largest U.S. banks will serve as the catalyst for re?creation of RFC?type liquidation vehicle(s) to handle the operational task of finally deflating the subprime bubble.
also said that the next three to six months is when things are going
to get out of control, and agrees that Dodd-Frank legislation - the
"financial reform legislation" that lets regulators force insolvent
international banks into bankruptcy - may be used to restructure
Similarly, Janet Tavakoli says:
This is the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets.
When we had the financial crisis, the first thing the banks did was run to Congress and ask for accounting relief. They asked to be able to avoid pricing this stuff at the price where people would buy them. So no one can tell you the size of the hole in these balance sheets. We’ve thrown a lot of money at it. TARP was just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve given them guarantees on debts, low-cost funding from the Fed. But a lot of these mortgages just cannot be saved. Had we acknowledged this problem in 2005, we could’ve cleaned it up for a few hundred billion dollars. But we didn’t. Banks were lying and committing fraud, and our regulators were covering them and so a bad problem has become a hellacious one.
In order to make the financial system healthy, we need to recognize the extent of our losses and begin facing the fraud. Then the market will be trustworthy again and people will start to participate.
This can be done with a resolution trust corporation, the way we cleaned up the S&Ls.
And Ellen Brown points out:
Karl Denninger ... writes:Those who bought MBS from institutions that improperly securitized this paper can and should sue the securitizers to well beyond the orbit of Mars... [I]f this bankrupts one or more large banking institutions, so be it. We now have "resolution authority," let's see it used.
The resolution authority Denninger is referring to is in the new Banking Reform Bill, which gives federal regulators the power and responsibility to break up big banks when they pose a "grave risk" to the financial system - which is what we have here.
Financial analyst Marshall Auerback ... writes:Most major banks are insolvent and cannot (and should not) be saved. The best approach is something like a banking holiday for the largest 19 banks and shadow banks in which institutions are closed for a relatively brief period. Supervisors move in to assess problems. It is essential that all big banks be examined during the "holiday" to uncover claims on one another. It is highly likely that supervisors will find that several trillions of dollars of bad assets will turn out to be claims big financial institutions have on one another (that is exactly what was found when AIG was examined--which is why the government bail-out of AIG led to side payments to the big banks and shadow banks)... By taking over and resolving the biggest 19 banks and netting claims, the collateral damage in the form of losses for other banks and shadow banks will be relatively small.What we need to avoid at all costs is "TARP II" - another bank bailout by the taxpayers. No bank is too big to fail. The giant banks can be broken up and replaced with a network of publicly-owned banks and community banks, which could do a substantially better job of serving consumers and businesses than Wall Street is doing now.