Skip to main content

The four banks listed in the infographic below – CitiGroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo – have received nearly $93 billion in taxpayer funds ($92,849,517,353 to be exact) since the bailouts began in 2008.

While they make up a small percentage of the 940 bailout recipients which have, to date, received $611 billion dollars from American taxpayers, they represent a significant chunk of those funds. More importantly, their acquisition trajectories represent the consolidation of major banking institutions in America which have made them "too-big-to-fail," or so we've been told.

banks

Click on the infographic above to enlarge.

The graphic above is not a statistical representation, as it does not display the relative sizes of those banks acquired, nor does it indicate which banks disappeared as a result of forced acquisitions. However, it does visually represent how banking institutions in this country are capable of not just dictating regulatory practices with their undeniable influence and size, but are able to get away with holding the country hostage after those criminal and unethical activities which brought our nation's economy to its knees and is serving to widen growing inequalities in America.

Regarding that latter point, income inequality is higher than its been since 1928, which is partly responsible for a crushing wealth gap in which the bottom 60 percent of Americans own only 3.5 percent of the country's wealth. We have a shrinking middle class with disappearing disposable incomes and an increasing number of Americans with no disposable incomes to speak of. Over 46 million Americans are below the poverty line, many of whom are employed but finding that "hard work is just not enough" anymore.

This is at a time in which behemoth financial institutions are getting larger, consolidating more and more wealth, and being not just financially protected by that consolidation – vacuuming up taxpayer funds from a drowning citizenry – but being legally protected as well.

In 2013, Eric Holder admitted that global financial institutions in the U.S. and abroad have become so large as to be above the law. This truth came into stark focus when the British bank HSBC, which does significant business in America, was neither shut down in the U.S. nor pursued with criminal charges after it admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels.

This and other criminal activities by those in the banking industry and on Wall Street prompted Elizabeth Warren to say two days ago:

A kid gets caught with a few ounces of pot and goes to jail, but a big bank breaks the law ... and no one even gets arrested.
Yes, they are shielded from the law. However, they have also been responsible for writing (or underwriting) our regulatory and financial laws which have propped up banks such as BoA, which has illegally defrauded its customers, and whose subprime lender, Countrywide, engaged in widespread mortgage fraud with BoA's knowledge.

Which brings us back to the beginning. The richest in our country continue to consolidate and grow their wealth as an increasing number of Americans slide into poverty or out of the middle class. And the consolidation of financial institutions into behemoth entities don't just symbolize what is happening, they are organically at the root of the problem.

If America has truly become an oligarchy, then the infographic above could be considered one of its banners. It is a banner which will continue to wave, I fear, until we hit a breaking point.

Where that point is, I do not know, nor do I know what the popular response will be when it is reached. However, one thing is certain: our current course will not be able to sustain itself without this country falling apart.

Perhaps that's what it will take.

--§--

What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.


Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:52 AM PDT.

Also republished by Writing by David Harris Gershon.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (34+ / 0-)

    "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

    by David Harris Gershon on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:52:05 AM PDT

  •  DHG - am I reading the link correctly (3+ / 0-)

    that the $92 billion was all paid back, with a profit? Looks like we are still in the hole $11 billion at GM. And there are many other institutions still deeply in the red column.  

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:02:55 AM PDT

    •  Perhaps because the smartest guys in the room (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, MKinTN, Jim P

      were also given money for nothing, which they lent back to us for a profit, then declared themselves job creator geniuses again, and paid themselves lavish bonuses.

      Nothing good about how the banks survived their consummate FAIL.

      I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      by Words In Action on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:06:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Once again you are so close to the crimes and the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior

      criminals you think they are virtues and saviors.

      I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      by Words In Action on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:07:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're reading it correctly ... the red indicates (4+ / 0-)

      losses, with the black indicating gains. Overall, $30 billion more has come in than have gone out, according to this statistical analysis. However, where does that money go?

      That's the true problem. It won't be going back into the pockets of taxpayers or the bottom 60%.

      "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

      by David Harris Gershon on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:09:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Meaning: regardless of net gain/loss, that $600 (5+ / 0-)

        billion is underwriting those at the top, regardless of the original outlay or the incoming margins.

        "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

        by David Harris Gershon on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:09:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The concept that banks have "paid back"... (6+ / 0-)

          ...taxpayers (to some extent) is a pure, 1% meme.

          The banks extract billions of dollars per year in tithes from cities and states throughout this country. (Much of it with questionable legality.) The banks receive billions of dollars in tithes from programs that feed and house and generally sustain the impoverished. (Cash cards, and loaded debit cards, and $30+ billion per year in overdraft fee income, alone (not even accounting for ATM chge ripoffs and consumer usury for credit cards and consumer loans, due to D.C. enabling the concept of federal [nationally chartered banks'] banking law PREEMPTION). Hell, even all of those "fines" and "penalties" that banks are paying--while bankers receive blanket impunity from criminal prosecution--are almost entirely tax deductible!

          When one looks at the TBTF banks, one needs to be reminded that, as JP Morgan Chase was recently described (and I'm paraphrasing it), 'they're little more than $75 trillion dollar proprietary trading casinos with small commercial banking subsidiaries attached to them.' And, of course, the entire "casino" is guaranteed/backstopped by everyone on Main Street, despite ALL of the bullshit we'll hear in response to the contrary, even now, six years after the last Wall Street crash.

          When you add in all of the hedge funds and private equity firms, the numbers get absolutely appalling (and we're only talking about the cash that's parked here in the U.S., never mind the trillions that are offshored).

          I could go on; and, I have, elsewhere and other times in my time here in this community.

          This is what's commonly referenced to by the status quo as "financial innovation." That's an amazing synonym for "pillaging", isn't it?

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:40:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  DHG - these were TARP loans from the Treasury (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep, robert8484

        so the gains go back to the Treasury as revenues, just like taxes.

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:30:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Whether or not the Treasury will be making a (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, Jon Sitzman, aliasalias, Jim P

          "profit" is peripheral to the central issue: the drain of money from taxpayers' pockets and into the hands of fraudulent financial institutions who needed those funds in order to survive.

          After all, are those profits which go into the treasury making their way back into taxpayers' hands, or into publicly-funded programs which will directly benefit the public?

          I think we know the answer to that question. As for those profits, there are questions as to what that really means.

          "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

          by David Harris Gershon on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:37:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree that all the TARP loans were at a (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            robert8484

            lower cost than the Treasury should have received as the lender of last resort, including all the bank and car company loans. I think Warren Buffet's loan to Goldman Sachs demonstrated real market clearing prices. However, I do think we faced a moment of crises where the Western financial system could have suffered a collapse that could have caused a depression which would have had a much more dire impact than the Great Recession on the US poor and middle class. It was the US Treasury and Fed that saved the day and provided the international banking system with liquidity. And they were the only two institutions in the world with the ability to execute a rescue.  

            "let's talk about that" uid 92953

            by VClib on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:31:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Give me $10 million at .75% interest, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, David Harris Gershon, kurt

      I'll pay you back 1% interest, because I'm a genius, too, AND give myself a really huge BONUS!

      Yes, Wall St. is BRILLIANT.

      I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      by Words In Action on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:17:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  TARP loans were not from the Fed (0+ / 0-)

        but rather from the Treasury. I think the terms varied by institution and included warrants. I don't think they were all at super low interest rates.

        Shouldn't the critique of the program be focused on those institutions that are still in the red?

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:29:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But they were given low interest Fed loans, (0+ / 0-)

          and they made lots of money to pay off the TARP loans. GM, did not have access to that kind of money...

          I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

          Trust, but verify. - Reagan
          Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

          by Words In Action on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:01:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  $92 billion was all paid back, with a profit (0+ / 0-)

      Yes you are reading it correctly, however you have failed to acknowledge that the profit was again at the expense of the taxpayers, the little guys, the shrinking middle class. We are the ones that pay outrages penalties and fees for the banks to use our money, and then they want to "charge us" for using "our" money.

      These banks that put our country at risk for the unlimited lining of their pockets even gave themselves bonuses with the money they received from the taxpayer, yet in order for the auto industry to receive assistance from the government, people lost their jobs, including some of the big honcho's, but mostly the workers. It is amazing how everyone wants to scream about the loss on the loans to the Auto Industry, yet no one stops to think about the how much the damage done by these banks caused some of the main troubles the Auto Industry went through, or the fact that contracts were renegotiated for the Auto workers, retirees lost benefits, but the Bank honcho's received at'a boys!

  •  We're looking at a rigged system here. (7+ / 0-)

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:12:53 AM PDT

  •  And this time, there won't be any sort of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Jon Sitzman, aliasalias

    Big-Company-BustUp that you saw at any point in the previous century. They've partnered up with the too-big-to-destroy political parties and intend on sustaining each other for as long as they can.

    •  And they'll sustain each other into total meltdown (0+ / 0-)

      for everything around them - all the while blaming the poor and needy through their politician mouthpieces.

      Sorry for the bitterness.

      One of my favorite video game franchises posited a future country in which - not unlike what David Mitchell would later visualize in Cloud Atlas - corporations are the only rule, the only law; the ultimate authority.  I used to wonder how close it was to being true, then I figured out it already IS true; the last vestiges of the disguise are still clinging to the corporatocracy's face, but that is all it is - a disguise.

      Not all people are human; not all humans are people.

      by Jon Sitzman on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:16:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, David. Good, if painful, information. /nt (2+ / 0-)

    Not all people are human; not all humans are people.

    by Jon Sitzman on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:18:05 AM PDT

  •  You know, if we just got rid of the top 10%, we .. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eral Felder, raspberryberet

    could each split it to the tune of a check for $153,000 to each man, woman, and child in America. So, how 'bout it?

    •  excellent observation, however (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thanatokephaloides

      in order to have a check for any amount distributed to each individual this action would need to take place from within the system with no failure of the system...

      it probably will not happen quite like that... in order for the system to eliminate its failures, the top 10%, a major chaos will erupt because such a change won't be easily tolerated by the system and those entrenched in it...

      I suspect that either a near complete collapse of the global economic system resulting in near chaos throughout the world, or a civil war in America in which the top 10% are simply wiped out, also resulting in near total chaos -- will be the more likely scenario...

      any way you look at it, it probably isn't going to be very comfortable for some decades or centuries...

      as above: not all people are human; not all humans are people -- the underlying reality of all of this is the evolution and maturation of the race -- and evolution has no care about comfort, the middle or poorer classes, humanity or people or how humans treat each other...

      if humans decide to cooperate with each other we might survive with some elegance... if humans decide to continue to fight and deny each other evolution may just move along without humans or certainly with a very altered version and a much smaller population...

      we are at a turning point of an enormous magnitude... we have the ability to destroy human civilization as we know it and return to a dark age... we have the ability to choose not to do so. history demonstrates that humans have always had the choice to destroy or cooperate but seldom has the choice for peaceful coexistence and cooperation ever been made and if so it does not remain so for very long...

      these are growing pains of an immature species... or perhaps it is literally true that not all people are human and not all humans are people... pathetic and pitiful

  •  Want this to change? (0+ / 0-)

    Here's our best shot. Http://www.MayOne.us.

    Join the Thunderclap launching June 4th at

    https://www.thunderclap.it/...

    It's time to stop bitching and start doing. This can be doing some thing that really counts if we all pitch in together. Don't sit back and let your neighbor do it for you.

    Take a stand now.

  •  Fail (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides, sjustice

    No bank is too big to fail. Since most deposits are insured by the FDIC, the account holders shouldn't be out any money. On the other hand, the fat cat crooks that run the banks, the hedge funders, and all the other little cockroaches would scream bloody murder. When under Dumbass (Dubya) the real estate junk bond bubble burst the banks should have been allowed to fail. The account holders should have been given the cash, and then the bankers could have grovelled for depositors to do business with them. So Obuma got conned by Geithner to bail those assholes out. If big banks want to merge I would let them WITH one cavaet- They must forgive all the fraudulent loans they set up that created the collapse in the first place.  Other wise, tell them to go to Hell.

  •  I sure am happy with my (0+ / 0-)

    Golden1 Credit Union here in NorCal.

  •  You are totally correct except... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reasonshouldrule

    If the total wealth of the bottom 40% is -.9%, as it shows on the graph, then the total wealth of the bottom 60% would not be 3.5%, but about half that.

    Whenever we mention 1928 or 1929 as the year when we last had this much wealth disparity, we should also mention that that date was the eve of the stock market crash & Great Depression.  Most of us automatically associate these dates with those catastrophic events, but I'm afraid much of the public wouldn't, so it's good to always remind them of it.

    Great piece, in any case.  I remember a lot of those former banks.  So that's what happened to them...

  •  Let's put our money where our mouths are... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reasonshouldrule

    If a bank is too big to fail, it's too big to hold our money. There are still a few successful, reliable small banks and credit unions left in America. Bank in--and on--them.

    Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you...Elsie de Wolfe

    by Hilltop Mama on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:00:43 AM PDT

  •  bank graphic (0+ / 0-)

    When I clicked on this diary's graphic to enlarge, as the cutline invited me to do, I was transferred to a flickr sign-up page.  I'm letting you know this in case the graphic has been tampered with and transferring me to flickr was not part of the author's intention.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site