The bailouts continue: The Economic Populist

Cross posted from The Economic Populist.

By Garrett Johnson

Most people think that the Wall Street bailouts ended at least a year ago. They would be wrong.

(Reuters) – Increased housing commitments swelled U.S. taxpayers’ total support for the financial system by $700 billion in the past year to around $3.7 trillion, a government watchdog said on Wednesday.

The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said the increase was due largely to the government’s pledges to supply capital to Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB) and to guarantee more mortgages to the support the housing market.

Increased guarantees for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, the Government National Mortgage Association and the Veterans administration increased the government’s commitments by $512.4 billion alone in the year to June 30, according to the report.

“Indeed, the current outstanding balance of overall Federal support for the nation’s financial system…has actually increased more than 23% over the past year, from approximately $3.0 trillion to $3.7 trillion — the equivalent of a fully deployed TARP program — largely without congressional action, even as the banking crisis has, by most measures, abated from its most acute phases,” the TARP inspector general, Neil Barofsky, wrote in the report.

So Congress nearly comes to a standstill over $33 Billion for unemployment extensions, but there isn’t even a debate over $700 Billion for Wall Street.

via The bailouts continue | The Economic Populist.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Ina Deaver

    “So Congress nearly comes to a standstill over $33 Billion for unemployment extensions, but there isn’t even a debate over $700 Billion for Wall Street.”

    — Yep. That about covers it.

    OH — but all those unemployed have is one vote per person. Wall Street contributes soooooo much more to politicians, er, I mean, society.

    1. Rex

      Well there should be quite a lot voters in the unemployed. I hope they remember who didn’t care about them come election time.

      1. NOTaREALmerican

        Half of the voters “know” this is all “those people’s” fault. The other half “know” that the People’s Central Committee needs to “act”.

        The peasants are dumbasses. Dumbasses believe anything the sociopaths tell them. That’s why the county is in the state it’s in.

        1. LeeAnne

          ” …that’s why the county’s in the state its in”

          I think you meant to say ‘country.’


    2. Francois T

      There is a very good reason why CONgress has been written up (or off) as The Broken Branch.

      These REMFs would be well advised to change this institution for the betterment of the nation. Otherwise, others will do it for them. Then it’ll be a matter of how; peacefully…or else!

  2. LeeAnne

    “So Congress nearly comes to a standstill over $33 Billion for unemployment extensions, but there isn’t even a debate over $700 Billion for Wall Street.”

    Proof that Congress has nothing but contempt for the American people. Proof that they feel they have nothing to lose from a population abused by their lawlessness and propaganda.

    Only a few exceptions come to mind; heroes who risk a lot if not their lives by standing up to these people: Al Franken and Alan Grayson come to mind. I would list Ron Paul if he weren’t so obsessed with freedom for corporations and banks, but government control over the bodies of women against their will.

    Dylan Ratigan has listed those senators who voted for bailouts but against extending unemployment:


    Lamar Alexander [B-TN]
    Robert Bennett [B-UT]
    Christopher Bond [B-MO]
    Richard Burr [B-NC]
    Saxby Chambliss [B-GA]
    Thomas Coburn [B-OK]
    Bob Corker [B-TN]
    John Cornyn [B-TX]
    John Ensign [B-NV]
    Lindsey Graham [B-SC]
    Charles Grassley [B-IA]
    Judd Gregg [B-NH]
    Orrin Hatch [B-UT]
    Kay Hutchison [B-TX]
    John Isakson [B-GA]
    Jon Kyl [B-AZ]
    Richard Lugar [B-IN]
    John McCain [B-AZ]
    Mitch McConnell [B-KY]
    Lisa Murkowski [B-AK]
    Ben Nelson [B-NE]
    John Thune [B-SD]
    George Voinovich [B-OH]

    1. MattJ

      LeeAnne, I’d say it is the complete opposite; it is proof that Congress believes that the American people do not want more bailouts and higher deficits. The only way to get them is to have them done in the dark by unelected, unaccountable officials.

      1. LeeAnne

        You get a pass on this one ” Delta Air Expects 65,000 Applicants for 1,000 Job Openings – Bloomberg ”

        Maybe you didn’t see it.

        1. LeeAnne

          MattJ, my apologies –I don’t know how I lost that comment; it was meant for eric anderson

          Time for me to get busy with my day job. Have fun everyone!

      2. LeeAnne

        What I meant to say to you Mattj is that unemployed Americans don’t give a shit about DEFICITS, nor should they.

        Your conflating $Trillions of taxpayer money to BANKSTER BAILOUTS to cover their non-productive losses and put outrageous bonuses into their own thieving ignorant psychopathic pockets after crashing the US finance system along with the real economy produced by the now unemployed in the multi millions of people with your Republican talking points, is disingenuous at best.

        Increasing deficits for the unemployed will put money into the pockets of people who without a doubt will spend it immediately to pay for necessities like housing expenses, utilities, phone and Internet, food for themselves and their children, interest payments on usurious loans, car payments and gas, student loans, health care insurance and co-pays (not necessarily health care) etc. etc. etc.

        1. LeeAnne

          furthermore, those unemployed workers have been working longer hours with fewer paid days off and shorter vacations, lousy health care and higher health insurance costs than any other industrial nation on the face of the mother earth.

          now I really have to get to my day job.

          1. Francois T

            Contrast how lousy health care insurance for the rest of us has become with this:


            Believe you me, it is not John Q. Public health care plan. Have a look at what Lord & Taylor’s CEO Joseph E. Brooks got. As the awesome team at HCRenewal summarized:


            [emphasis and highlights are mine]

            In 1983, Lord & Taylor’s corporate parent told Brooks it sought to provide ‘great comfort to executives knowing that their medical costs are fully reimbursed by the Corporation.’ The company told Joe it was a lifetime guarantee.

            CEOs should never, ever, have to worry about health care.

            And for nearly 27 years, substantially all medical costs have been fully covered, even premiums.

            We’re not just talking doctors’ visits, hospitals, medications and tests. We’re talking all travel and ancillary expenses associated with care, too.

            We’re talking first-class transportation, accommodations and meals while being treated at the Mayo Clinic and the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. We’re talking expenses for a companion or personal aide, too.

            We’re also talking ‘cosmetic services (surgery, medications, injections, creams and the like)’ dental care, gym memberships, personal trainers, vitamins, massages — all paid by Joe’s former employer for the rest of Joe’s life.

            Oh, and if any of these benefits have tax consequences, we’re talking gross-up payments to cover that, too.

            The elites’ motto seems to be: “Give the most at the cheapest price possible (free is best!) to those who could afford it all on their own. The unwashed masses should go to hell if they’re not happy.”

    2. Piero

      It’s actually a little more complicated than you’re portraying it to be. As I understand it, most of those on that list wanted to vote to extend the benefits but pay for it by reducing some other budget item.

      So, in a way, you’re falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book. Set unreasonable standards for the X Bill. When the other side objects to the unreasonable standards, howl that they don’t care about X and ignore what might be quite reasonable objections to some of the conditions.

      Doesn’t it feel bad to be duped?

      1. LeeAnne

        some other budget items like bankster bailouts perhaps? or maybe budgets like the military/drugs/security complex?

  3. Fellated by Fallacies

    It’s doubtful that the unemployment extension is a “one-off” event. Thus, characterizing the debate as being over a “measly” $33 billion is not accurate.

    The $33 billion may very well be part of many other $33 billion commitments, as these benefits will also expire.

    A problem with this type of non-thinking, is that it eventually leads to a Behavior Trap, whereby one engages in poor decision-making by making the decision based solely on what one has already committed. Behavior Traps are vicious loops of Poor Decision Reinforcement.

    Thus, after several little $33 billion commitments, we’ll find ourselves saying: “We’ve already extended over a $132 billion on this extended program, what’s another $33 billion? We’ve come this far. We can’t stop up now.”

    [Please note, I’m not saying the extension was wrong. I’m simply saying your characterization is inaccurate. The need to re-extend stands on its own merits and does not need misleading factoids for support.]

      1. aet

        Even counting that 33 billion four times obver like F & F does, the 700 billion this year to the banks is 5 times that amount, for a few thousand bank “employees”, i mean, owners…the employees are just well-paid slaves.

        1. NOTaREALmerican

          There are slaves and there a vassals.

          If we can assume (for a moment) that many more people are sociopaths than is “commonly” admitted then large useless (and destructive) organizations exist and thrive BECAUSE the people in the organization are willing participants in the organizations behavior.

          The human brain is a magic bullshit machine. It’s purpose is to create stories that reconcile morally conflicting “realities” into one bullshit “reality”.

          Example: I work for Phillip Morris. I am a moral person. (Start up bullshit machine…) Liberals hate Phillip Morris, Phillip Morris (must be therefore) good. (Bullshit makes the world go `round).

          (Disclaimer: I work for a Zombie bank. I know I’m a sociopaths. I could careless what the sociopaths running the company do as long as they key paying me)

          (Btw, History is MUCH easier to understand – and explain to people – of you assume there are more sociopaths in the world than “the nice people” are able to admit.)

    1. aet

      Perhaps if you think we ought to count all of the unemployment benefit extensions, we ought to compare that to all of the bank bail-out costs…wghich are about six times 700 billion, IIRC….

      1. Fellated by Fallacies

        aet, if you grant the fact we may need more $33 extensions, and if your main source of support for proceeding anyways is “because the bank bailouts were waaayyy more expensive”

        Then your argument might well be reduced down to “Two wrongs make a right”. [A fallacy we should have learned to avoid by the time we reached 10 years of age.]

        The fact that we bailed out the banks is not a legitimate source of support for extending the unemployment benefits–unless your argument is predicated only upon equity.

        But equity arguments, on their own, are weak. Any many opponents of your position will simply claim that they were against the bailouts. In fact, they’ll use the bailouts against you by saying, “We didn’t know it was going to ultimately cost this much. We were tricked into escalating out commitment, piece-meal. Just like we’re getting tricked into a massive unemployment subsidy—in one $33 billion chunk at a time.”

        aet, I am in favor of the extensions. I am with you!

        The unemployed are not “lazy”–they are down on their luck. As a just society we cannot just cut them off.

        But it’s going to cost more than $33 billion. And, like it or not, we’ve already committed trillions to the bank bailout (I detest this also, btw). That money is sunk.

        As a result, we have a choice over limited resources. We have tough decisions ahead of us. Perhaps we could find ways to reduce some of our ongoing commitments (as opposed to merely referring back to sunk costs).

        Take, for example, our many wars. Maybe as a society we need to ask ourselves: What is more important–continuing these wars or providing benefits for the unemployed?

        We might actually get somewhere, instead of wallowing in the typical malaise of shit. So my point remains:

        Referencing the bank bailouts as a main source of support for granting unemployment benefits, while distorting the other side is shoddy thinking, poor argumentation and all it does is foster attitude polarization.

        And it’s part and parcel why this country is falling apart. People refuse to engage in legitimate debate about where we’re headed. Instead we get pandering and button-pushing and we just shout past one another.

        1. LeeAnne

          Military/US illegal drug industry/security rackets, 30,000,000 health premium gift to private insurance companies who have proven themselves as racketeers and a cancer on the American people, growing number of Washington cronies are ‘sunken’ costs?

          1. NOTaREALmerican

            Lesson: In a socialist / fascist society, to prosper you’ve got to be either running a scam on the government – or participating in one.

        2. LeeAnne

          “The unemployed are not “lazy”–they are down on their luck. As a just society we cannot just cut them off.”

          Memo To All Employees: no luck required. Everyone here is treated equally.

          Memo To Corporate Executives: squeeze employees out, save money and pay off the top TEMP corporate executives who average 3 years a pop with no need to understand or even have industry experience. No Experience Required. Nothing needed but to be networked into the crony system of obeisience to Wall Street.

          Example of Corporate Executive talent: British Petroleum $10 Million dollar man after turning the Gulf of Mexico into a deadly no-photo zone sewer: “sticks and bones will break my bones -na na nana naaaaa”

          There’s a top executive for ya. He obviously needs some kinda welfare.

  4. Friedman's Ghost

    In light of the extensive contributions made by the financial industry to both parties in Congress I am not sure why anyone would be surprised that there was no heistation in passing along more taxpayer dollars to Wall Street.

    Since the unemployed cannot give millions (billions) of dollars to elected officials they have no recourse.

    Thomas Jefferson (et al) in the Declaration of Independence stated that when government becomes destructive to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness it is the right and in fact obligation of the people to throw off that government. Of course, there are very few people who know this as it is not in line with k-12 education goals.

    The Constitution is no longer a valid document for the common people.

    1. alex

      “Since the unemployed cannot give millions (billions) of dollars to elected officials they have no recourse.”

      I’d like to propose a radical system whereby our politicians are chosen by a vote of citizens, that each citizen has an equally weighted vote, all citizens who are at least 18 years old may vote, and that citizens not be taxed or otherwise pay for exercising this right.

      Of course for such a system to work as intended, practical matters such as funding for campaigns must be taken into account. I propose that they be funded from the public treasury, so as not to have private financial backing influence the elections. Too radical I suppose – it’s what they do in the People’s Republic of Arizona. Don’t they have a statue of Karl Marx in front of their capitol?

      1. aet

        Politicians need money to buy media time…and the media are in no hurry to stop that gravy train.
        All us media ought to be required to give free-time political broadcasts time to all candidates in every election, as a condition opf their Licence.
        No? Why not?

        1. NOTaREALmerican

          Re: No? Why not?

          Any how – exactly – would this help those who already own the country (including the media).

          Great ideas are – uh – great until a few simple tests are applied:

          1) Does this great-idea benefit the people who already own everything.
          2) Can this great-idea be used by the sociopaths to manipulate the dumbasses for fun and profit.

          Look around, the world if full of dumbasses. They are ALL believe some group of sociopaths that are filling their tiny brains with bullshit. That’s just how life works. You can’t change life, but you CAN try to figure out who the sociopaths are and who their believing dumbasses are.

    2. NOTaREALmerican

      Re: The Constitution is no longer a valid document for the common people.

      No Constitution, regardless of who wrote it and how smart they were, can suspend the rules of natural selections.

      Over 200 years, the sociopaths changed the Constitution to benefit other sociopaths. This is how evolution works. The most impressive thing is how many dumbasses can’t even see it when it’s right under their noses.

      Sociopathic behavior in humans is the equivalent of fur-pattern camouflage for animals. It hides the predator (the sociopath) from his prey (the dumbass) allowing the predator to feast on the live prey. Isn’t nature glorious!?

  5. steelhead23

    Here we have Timmy’s Christmas present to FNM/FMA bondholders bearing fruit at the same time that President Obama is promising “no more government bailouts.” Exactly who does he think he’s kidding?

    “The American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes. There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts. Period.”

    1. Eric

      Bond investors in Chrysler had their senior claims stripped from them to benefit junior claims of well connected political supporters, while bond investors in the atrociously managed Fannie/Freddie are untouchable. I voted for hope and change, but kind of expected reason and equitability as a given. Not so, apparently.

      1. NOTaREALmerican

        Re: I voted for hope and change

        You voted for the Blue Team of the Republicrat Party. The Party system in the US is nothing but a sociopath vetting system. And overnment in the US is nothing more than a loot conduit; from the taxpayers to the politically connected.

        The real question is why do people keep voting for “the Party” over and over expecting different results.

        There’s no way to fix this either. The sociopaths win when the loot is concentrated in a few huge piles. This concentration process has been taking place for generations now. The best that can be hoped for is a “benevolent” Corporate State; much like China is working toward.

        All the peasants need is food, entertainment, and propaganda that keeps their brain’s bullshit machine happy.

    2. NOTaREALmerican

      Re: Exactly who does he think he’s kidding?

      He’s fooling almost everybody. Most people aren’t “smart” enough too figure this out. A majority of the peasants have no clue what is going on and do NOT care. The peasants have always known that “the nobility is special” and “deserves special rules”. Most of the peasants are MUCH MUCH MUCH more pissed off at other peasants getting more loot than they are; which is why unions are so vilified by the dumbasses. Never underestimate the stupidity of the masses.

      The nobility simply needs to give the peasants enough loot to keep this “special treatment” intact. Bread and circus; it always works.

  6. eric anderson

    Anybody think that neither the banksters nor the unemployed deserve unending welfare payments?

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      The entire country has been on a “bailout” (stimulus) for 30+ years now. Everybody is arguing if 1 trillion to banksters is worse than perpetual “unemployment” payments; as tho there’s some sort of difference.

      The fact is the entire society exists on perpetual increasing debt. The only thing that matters is who has access to the fake loot.

      Lesson: In a socialist / fascist society, to prosper you’ve got to be either running a scam on the government – or participating in one.

      Disclaimer: I work for a Zombie bank which is doing really “great”.

  7. LeeAnne

    You get a free pass on this one. “Delta Air Expects 65,000 Applicants for 1,000 Job Openings” – Bloomberg *

    You may not have seen it.

    While TBTF banks are getting 0% interest money they shift into their own pockets with the huge bonuses everyone BUT YOU are aware of.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Re: While TBTF banks are getting 0% interest money they shift into their own pockets with the huge bonuses everyone BUT YOU are aware of.

      As sociopathic behavior is the highest form of human evolution, this is simply an example of their winnings.

      Note that most of the peasant dumbasses are still worried about “those people” getting the crumbs tho. This is natural, the dumbasses are – well – dumbasses. Most people just don’t appreciate the beauty of nature and evolution. So, stop complaining about what is natural and simply admire evolution at works.

      1. Raging Debate

        You seem to always leave out the second part of the evolutionary story of re-balancing from the Sociopaths. As you admitted, you work for zombie bank so of course you glorify Sociopaths and don’t want your party to end. We all are altruistic at the end of the day. You also don’t mention what happens when the Golden Calf is built (wealth concentration) which is decentralization and this mostly happens through war and nowadays, global.

        The sequence of the re-balancing is as follows: Truth, Freedom, Justice. By the time justice rolls around for particular individuals, they will largely be dead and the Sociopaths know this. How harsh the justice phase is this time around will depend on if the world ignites in world war. Hank Paulson if he survives it, would be wanting to get a face transplant afterward.

        1. NOTaREALmerican

          Re: You seem to always leave out the second part of the evolutionary story of re-balancing from the Sociopaths.

          Oh gosh NO!!

          You are right, there is a balancing. But you are totally wrong about “re-balancing from the Sociopaths”.

          History shows we re-balance from one set of sociopaths to another. War, the ultimate manipulation of the dumbasses, results in an NEW set of sociopaths.

          Human life (and history) is (queue male TV announcer): All sociopaths, all the time. The most watched people in history. (Don’t change that channel!)

  8. MSinDC

    Here’s a thought:If our first few Congresses were worried about deficit spending we wouldn’t have had our war of independence.
    And when they did refuse to pay the peasants ( we call them now our revolutionary heroes)they were marched upon.
    I suggest a re reading of Brandeis, as well as the Federalist Papers.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Re: deficit spending

      Nothing wrong with deficits until too many people expect the deficits to continue forever.

      Plus, there’s that problem of the sociopaths getting all the benefits.

  9. Hugh

    steelhead23 has it right. This is all kabuki. The banks are bankrupt. Obama is lying. But then he always does to us rubes. The whole plan of Team Obama from the start has been a backdoor recapitalization of the banks by any means necessary. They dumped a trillion dollars in crap repos on the Fed and then figured why bother. So Geithner took the caps off losses at Fannie and Freddie, lubed the FHA, and just moved the party over there. Banks can also borrow at ZIRP and buy Treasuries. Money for nothing. The other prongs of this recapitalization strategy are to allow banks to cook their books, no reform, charge high fees to customers, and gamble in the stock bubble. This is the plan. It has always been the plan. I don’t understand the resistance to this, the need we have to believe they must have meant to do something different or even that they were just inept. They mean to recapitalize banks out of our hides. Get used to it. This has been going on for 20 months already. There is nothing new here.

  10. Jim

    NotaRealmerican, as a confessed sociopath, can you clarify the link between the evolution of your personality and the evolution of our social structure?

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Well, I’m just an average sociopath. So, you wouldn’t want me to explain it.

      I’m an amoral scumbag, but I’m not all that smart. Special note: raw intelligence is just one small component of “smart”. When people say something like “so-and-so (politician) is stupid” you know this can’t be true, because a “stupid” sociopath would NOT be the leader of the GREATEST country in the entire universe (as an example).

      You want an explanation from the really smart amoral scumbags, the winners.

      I’m pretty sure too, that the successful sociopaths wouldn’t be able to know they are sociopaths. Part of living life in a perfect rationalize lie would be lying to yourself. A highly evolved sociopath would think of himself as being very moral (near perfect, and perhaps God – I know I do, of course).

      The same paragraph could be read as applying to a society too. A society that does evil without morals, in a very efficient way, is nothing more than – uh – well, nearly perfect, and perhaps Godlike – of course, our society is (right?).

  11. CaptainCrackpot

    (1) It is not entirely clear according to the above article (“The bailouts continue”) that this $700 billion extra government support is for “Wall Street.” It appears to be mostly for the mortgage GSEs (paragraph 04), which are not “Wall Street,” although their activities could be seen as beneficial to Wall Street. But these mortgage-support activities can also be seen as more directly beneficial to Main Street, in the form of residential mortgage borrowers, and this is overwhelmingly how they are justified by the political class.

    (2) Congress comes to a “standstill” over unemployment benefit extension primarily because this requires congressional action, while the increase in GSE support does not.Acting is always more difficult that not acting.

  12. Jim

    NotaRealmerican, as a purely average sociopath, how were you capable of gaining insight into yourself (taken your description of how our brains work)?

    I have a sneaking suspicion you are not what you say you are!

  13. Cynthia

    Not only has our financial bailout ballooned from $700 billion in the past year to around $3.7 trillion, but our war spending is well north of a trillion dollars, too:

    And believe me, most of this public money isn’t being used to bail out homeowners or to provide support for our troops. Most of it is being used to line the pockets of our banksters and our war profiteers. They achieved their wealth not by beating out competitors in the free market, but by receiving handouts from Uncle Sam. Our welfare queens used to live in cracker boxes, now they live in sprawling mansions. What I find particularly disturbing about welfare as well as warfare for the rich is that it seems to be causing the gap between rich and poor to widen even further, thus hollowing out our middle class even more.

    And notice that our deficit hawks refuse to take the axe to our ongoing financial bailout or our ongoing expenditures on wars. They’d rather fix the deficit by cutting unemployment benefits, by sending teachers to the unemployment line, and by reducing Social Security benefits. I don’t understand why the American people aren’t up in arms over the fact that Washington is being run by a bunch of heartless thugs and sleazy sycophants for the super-rich, who are pushing Marie Antoinette economics down our throats!

    1. John

      I think the American people aren’t up in arms because they commute a few hours each day and when they get home at night they turn on the TV.

      So what if they are living from paycheck to paycheck.

      They always blame the wrong people for how they are screwed because the media that gives them the wrong information is run by and for the elites who are screwing them.

    2. Cynthia


      The American people are up in arms because they think that the Mexican immigrants are taking their jobs, the Islamic terrorist are destroying their religion, and the socialists in Washington are taxing them into poverty. They can’t seem to get it in their heads that the banksters, the war profiteer and the other crooks on Wall Street are doing more damage to them than all the Mexican immigrants, all the Islamic terrorists, and all the socialists in Washington combined. I suppose that Evangelical leaders have successfully brainwashed some Americans into believing in Biblical capitalism, which encompasses the notion that the more money you have, the closer you are to God. So they’ve come to believe that taxing the rich on Wall Street and even prosecuting them for crimes involving money is a direct frontal assault on God. But it’s hard for me to believe that many American think this way, but I could be wrong.

  14. ChrisPacific

    “the government’s pledges …. to guarantee more mortgages to support the housing market.”

    It never ceases to amaze me how the general public just takes it for granted that “supporting the housing market” (i.e., making house prices go up) is a good thing for the government to be doing.

    Why should we be spending public money to make house prices go up? Do we spend money on making the price of personal computers go up? Food? Oil and gasoline? Why should houses be any different?

    Readers of this blog know the answer, of course, but surely it can’t be that difficult for others to figure out as well.

Comments are closed.