Friday, October 28, 2011

Hating bankers and the "Unholy Alliance" -- the long history

An excellent if brief article at Salon.com gives some useful historical context to the current animosity toward bankers -- it's nothing new. Several interesting quotes from key figures in the past:
“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul this unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship.”

Theodore Roosevelt, 1912

“We have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks. The Federal Reserve Board, a Government board, has cheated the Government of the United States and the people of the United States out of enough money to pay the national debt. The depredations and the iniquities of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve banks acting together have cost this country enough money to pay the national debt several times over…

“Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are United States Government institutions. They are not Government institutions. They are private credit monopolies, which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers, foreign and domestic speculator sand swindlers, and rich and predatory money lenders.”

Louis McFadden, chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, 1932
I should have known this, but didn't -- the Federal Reserve Banks are not United States Government institutions. They are indeed owned by the private banks themselves, even though the Fed has control over taxpayer funds.This seems dubious in the extreme to me, although I'm sure there are many arguments to consider. Memory recalls reading arguments about the required independence of the central bank, but independence is of course not the same as "control by the private banks." Maybe we need to change the governance of the Fed and install some oversight with real power from a non-banking non-governmental element.

And my favourite:
“Banks are an almost irresistible attraction for that element of our society which seeks unearned money.”
FBI head J. Edgar Hoover, 1955.

In recent years, the attraction has been very strong indeed.

This is why knowing history is so important. Many battles have been fought before.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if J Edgar was referring to machine gun toting gangsters holding up the teller, or those criminals wearing silk suits who occupy the corporate suites. Or both.

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