Are Bankers Essential Workers?

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    • #370694
      • Total Posts: 6,940

      But the people are not buying it. When they clapped every night on their balconies at 7 p.m. or made signs or sent out heartfelt messages thanking “our essential workers,”they mentioned health care workers, first responders, teachers, grocery store workers, delivery people, and farmers, among others. But bankers?

      Still, the hard truth is that bankers make themselves “essential” by inserting themselves into the heart of the economy. This becomes most obvious during economic crises. In the run-up to periodic financial meltdowns, bankers’ reach, wealth, and power means they can direct the nation’s credit and, more important, its human and natural resources in socially perverse and destructive ways. Then, when their reckless actions get out of hand, they threaten all of us with economic destruction, unless we prop them up and bail them out. In this way, bankers and financiers make themselves essential workers the same way the local shake-down artist extracts protection money: pay up, or watch your store burn to the ground.

      Believe it or not, the problem gets even worse — policymakers help to make the bankers “essential workers.” In the current economic crisis, for example, the Federal Reserve (Fed) and the US Treasury made bankers essential workers to channel funds to small businesses and households and manage the Fed’s securities market operations. These private banks stand to earn more than $17 billion in fees from this work, though they appear poorly positioned to handle this efficiently and quickly.2 For instance, the $1.7 trillion asset management firm BlackRock has been commissioned by the Fed to manage several of its new bailout funds.3 Bankers stand to gain millions in fees for an activity that could be carried out by the Fed itself just as easily, more cheaply, and without conflict of interest.

      Thus, bankers have made themselves essential workers the way that most rent grabbers and middlemen do it: through political power, manipulation, and blocking the competition. These bankers’ biggest fear is that public banking would provide this effective competition, nullifying their claims to be essential and therefore worthy of the public’s largesse.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #370702
      • Total Posts: 1,257


      If you give a man enough rope, it will be six inches too short. This is not the nature of rope- it is the nature of man.

    • #370716
      HalfCentury Man
      • Total Posts: 834

      If you can work from home, less so.

      Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

      John F. Kennedy: 13 March 1962.

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