Want to know how Congress and Washington get away with screwing you every day? It’s simple: Stupidity.
A Pew Research Center poll released on Sunday (7/22) shows the following amazing results:
- 47 percent of those polled believe the TARP program was entirely created and implemented by President Barack Obama.
- 52 percent of those polled believe that the Glass-Steagall Act was the law that created Welfare, Food Stamps and Unemployment Insurance.
- 43 percent believe that the majority of TARP funds were paid to consultants and advisors of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
So, rather than rant about the grotesque ignorance of the people who participated in this poll, I’m just going to provide some incontrovertible facts about the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. What you do with this factual information is your business.
The Glass-Steagall Act of 1932
- The Glass-Steagall Act was proposed by Senator Carter Glass (D) of Virginia, and Representative Henry B. Steagall (D) of Alabama, and was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.
- The Glass-Steagall Act was designed to protect and isolate commercial banks from the risk-laden speculation activities of investment banks.
- Commercial banks are the type with which ordinary citizens have checking and savings accounts.
- Investment banks are the trade houses that employ speculators to gamble with invested accounts on the various global markets, indexes and exchanges.
- The Glass Steagall Act was repealed by the implementation of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
- The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act eliminated the protective “firewall” that separated your money from the pools of money corporate investors use to gamble with.
- Once the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed, the pensions funds, savings accounts, retirement accounts and cash accounts of ordinary citizens became fair game and literally any money in any bank entity became at risk.
- In the 1999 House of Representatives, 207 Republicans and 135 Democrats voted in favor of repealing the Glass-Steagall Act.
- In the 1999 Senate, 52 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act.
- A total of 6 Republicans and 94 Democrats in the 1999 Congress voted to retain the Glass-Steagall Act.
- 15 members of the 1999 Congress skipped the vote.
The TARP Program
- The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) program was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008.
- TARP initially allocated $700 Billion — and was later increased to $733 Billion by a Bush signing statement.
- TARP, as proposed, was designed to insure and protect “troubled assets,” which the TARP bill defined as “residential or commercial mortgages, securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages that originated on or before March 14, 2008.”
- Prior to leaving office in January 2009, President Bush allocated $396.8 Billion, with $140 Billion of that being bailout funds to the 7 leading investment and securities firms.
- Of that total, $85.1 Billion was directly paid to the 294 most-senior executives of those firms in the form of bonuses, incentive awards and salary increases.
- The remaining $336.2 Billion in TARP funds were allocated by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010.
- Of that total, $22.17 Billion was directly paid to the 154 most-senior executives of the remaining 6 investment and securities firms in the form of bonuses, incentive awards and salary increases.
- Between February and July of 2010, 23 Republican governors and 7 Democrat governors vetoed bills that called for a 50% one-time tax – retroactive to the date of Bush’s signing of TARP into law – on all bonuses of more than $400,000 at any firm that received more than $5 billion in TARP funds. The tax would have affected 13 firms and would have raised $10 billion to help cut the federal deficit.
- Of the entire $783 Billion in TARP funds, $496.5 Billion remain undistributed and instead rest in interest-bearing accounts held by the TARP recipient firms, with the interest is paid to that bank/investment firm.
There. Now, as Mulder would say, “The truth is out there.”
But I suspect that the people who took that Pew Research poll believe that Mulder’s search for space aliens was more real than these facts.