Oct 17, 2011
Bank of America has now told us it will charge a five dollar monthly fee if we use a debit card, charging us simply for spending our own money. Banks also charge us for taking our own money out of ATM’s. And they slap us with a fee for not keeping enough of our money with them.
The banks have practically stopped paying us any interest for depositing our money in accounts with them, that is, money we loan the banks. But when it comes to borrowing from them, the banks charge us high interest rates and fees. To take out a loan or mortgage, or keep a balance on a credit card, what the banks charge can easily come to two or three times the original purchase price. That is how the banks enslave millions to their debt.
These are the same banks that ran the mortgage scam that tricked millions into taking out outrageous amounts of debt to buy a home. When the housing and debt bubble burst, the banks took the homes of millions of people. Millions more lost their jobs and all their savings. Tens of millions lost their neighborhoods. But the banks had profited greatly.
Banks could play a necessary role by providing credit to finance investment and trade. But banks use their position to grab the cream of the wealth produced by our labor. The banks take it right off the top. And they are taking more and more of it.
To get ever richer, the banks smother the consumer and strangle production and investment. The banks are predators.
So, what do these predators do with all their ill-gotten wealth? They pour it into speculation. They make money off of money. They create debt and profits out of thin air. And they also produce speculative manias, bubbles and crashes.
In 2008, when the housing bubble burst and the economy crashed, the banks didn’t pay for their crimes. Instead, governments all over the world rushed to hand the banks trillions of dollars. The governments claimed they were saving the economy. No, they were increasing the wealth hoarded by the banks. And the governments had to go into debt to give those trillions to the banks. And who did the governments borrow the money from when they went into debt? The very same banks. The banks lent the government’s own money to the government – which then gave it as a bailout back to the banks. So the banks keep the money in this circular deal – and then profit off the interest the governments pay on the debts they ran up!
With all that extra money in hand, what did the banks do? They speculated. And this time they are doing it on government debt, driving up the cost of many governments’ interest payments still further.
To pay for this ever increasing debt to the banks, governments everywhere have gone after the laboring population. They imposed austerity. They cut jobs, wages, benefits, vital services and social programs and education. They imposed higher taxes and fees.
To pay off the banks, governments strangle the economy still further. This is sheer madness.
Union officials and activists in the anti-Wall Street demonstrations are calling for greater government regulation of the banks. By whom? By the very same governments that just fed the banks trillions of dollars. The banks own the governments! This proposal is madness on top of madness.
Working people must protect themselves from the banks and Wall Street. But workers can do this only by putting their own essential needs first.
And what are our essential needs as human beings in the midst of this crisis? A job and a wage that lets us live decently.
Facing the unemployment pushed by the banks, industrialists and the government, there is only one answer: everyone who wants a job should have one. The bosses have the money to provide a job for everyone. If the bosses won’t provide those jobs, then divide up the available work – with no loss in pay for anyone.
Today, our wages are losing out to inflation – inflation created by this vast government debt and speculation. Rising prices constantly eat away at our standard of living. So, wages should be indexed to inflation, increasing as prices rise.
Workers didn’t create the unemployment or the inflation. The bosses did. Take some of the money they and their bankers have squirreled away.
Decent jobs and wages for everyone: these are basic, essential goals in a society run by blood suckers.