The mainstream media suggests that the banks are being nationalized as a result of TARP, In fact, it is exactly the opposite: the State is being taken over by the banks, the State is being privatized. The establishment of a Worldwide unipolar financial system is part of the broader project of the Wall Street financial elites to establish the contours of a world government.
They act as creditors of the US State. They evaluate the creditworthiness of the US government, they rank the public debt through Moody’s and Standard and Poor. They control the US Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board and the US Congress. They oversee and dictate fiscal and monetary policy, ensuring that the state acts in their interest.
People across the land, nationally and internationally must mobilize. This struggle to democratise the financial and fiscal apparatus must be broad-based and democratic encompassing all sectors of society at all levels, in all countries. What is ultimately required is to disarm the financial establishment
America’s Fiscal Collapse
By Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, March 2, 2009
“Strong economic medicine” with a “human face”
“Promise amid peril.” The stated priorities of the Obama economic package are health, education, renewable energy, investment in infrastructure and transportation. “Quality education” is at the forefront. Obama has also promised to “make health care more affordable and accessible”, for every American.
At first sight, the budget proposal has all the appearances of an expansionary program, a demand oriented “Second New Deal” geared towards creating employment, rebuilding shattered social programs and reviving the real economy.
Obama’s promise is based on a mammoth austerity program. The entire fiscal structure is shattered, turned upside down.
To reach these stated objectives, a significant hike in public spending on social programs (health, education, housing, social security) would be required as well as the implementation of a large scale public investment program. Major shifts in the composition of public expenditure would also be required: i.e. a move out of a war economy, requiring a movement out of military related spending in favour of civilian programs.
In actuality, what we are dealing with is the most drastic curtailment in public spending in American history, leading to social havoc and the potential impoverishment of millions of people.
The Obama promise largely serves the interests of Wall Street, the defence contractors and the oil conglomerates. In turn, the Bush-Obama bank “bailouts” are leading America into a spiralling public debt crisis. The economic and social dislocations are potentially devastating.
Obama’s budget submitted to Congress on February 26, 2009 envisages outlays for the 2010 fiscal year (commencing October 1st 2009) of $3.94 trillion, an increase of 32 percent. Total government revenues for the 2010 fiscal year, according to preliminary estimates by the Bureau of Budget, are of the order of $2.381 trillion.
The predicted budget deficit (according to the president’s speech) is of the order of $1.75 trillion, almost 12 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
War and Wall Street
This is a “War Budget”. The austerity measures hit all major federal spending programs with the exception of: 1. Defence and the Middle East War: 2. the Wall Street bank bailout, 3. Interest payments on a staggering public debt.
The budget diverts tax revenues into financing the war. It legitimizes the fraudulent transfers of tax dollars to the financial elites under the “bank bailouts”.
The pattern of deficit spending is not expansionary. We are not dealing with a Keynesian style deficit, which stimulates investment and consumer demand, leading to an expansion of production and employment.
The “bank bailouts” (involving several initiatives financed by tax dollars) constitute a component of government expenditure. Both the Bush and Obama bank bailouts are hand outs to major financial institutions. They do not not constitute a positive spending injection into the real economy. Quite the opposite. The bailouts contribute to financing the restructuring of the banking system leading to a massive concentration of wealth and centralization of banking power.
A large part of the bailout money granted by the Us government will be transferred electronically to various affiliated accounts including the hedge funds. The largest banks in the US will also use this windfall cash to buy out their weaker competitors, thereby consolidating their position. The tendency, therefore, is towards a new wave of corporate buyouts, mergers and acquisitions in the financial services industry.
In turn, the financial elites will use these large amounts of liquid assets (paper wealth), together with the hundreds of billions acquired through speculative trade, will be used to buy out real economy corporations (airlines, the automobile industry, Telecoms, media, etc ), whose quoted value on the stock markets has tumbled.
In essence, a budget deficit ( combined with massive cuts in social programs) is required to fund the handouts to the banks as well as finance defence spending and the military surge in the Middle East war. Obama’s budget envisages:
The order of magnitude of these allocations is staggering. Under a “balanced budget” criterion –which has been a priority of government economic policy since the Reagan era–, almost all the revenues of the federal government amounting to $2.381 trillion would be used to finance the bank bailout (1.45 trillion), the war ($739 billion) and interest payments on the public debt ($164 billion). In other words, no money would be left over for other categories of public expenditure.
TABLE 1 Budgetary allocations to Defence (FY 2009 and 2010), the Bank Bailout and Net Interests on the Public Debt (FY 2010)
Source: Bureau of the Budget and official statements. See A New Era of Responsibility: The 2010 Budget
* The officially announced bank bailouts to be financed from Treasury Funds. The timing of disbursements could take place over more than one fiscal years fiscal years. The actual value of bank bailout cash injections is substantially higher.
The Budget Deficit
These three categories of expenditure (Defence, Bank Bailout and Interest on the Public Debt) would virtually swallow up the entire 2010 federal government revenue of 2381.0. billion dollars
Moreover, as a basis of comparison, all the revenue accruing from individual federal income taxes ($1.061 trillion), (FY 2010) namely all the money households across America pay in the form of federal taxes, will not suffice to finance the handouts to the banks, which officially are of the order of 1.45 trillion. This amount includes the $ 700 billion (granted during FY 2009) under the TARP program plus the proposed $ 750 billion granted by the Obama administration.
While TARP and Obama’s proposed bailout are to be disbursed over Fy 2009 and 2010, they nonetheless represent almost half of total government expenditure ( half of Obama’s $3.94 trillion budget for fiscal 2010), which is financed by regular sources of revenue ($2381 billion) plus a staggering $1.75 trillion budget deficit, which ultimately requires the issuing of Treasury Bills and government bonds.
The feasibility of a large short-term expansion of the public debt at a time of crisis is yet another matter, particularly with interest rates at abysmally low levels.
The budget deficit is of the order of 1.75 trillion. Obama acknowledges a 1.3 trillion-dollar budget deficit, inherited from the Bush administration. In actuality, the budget deficit is much larger .
The official figures tend to underestimate the seriousness of the budgetary predicament. The $1.75 trillion dollar budget deficit figure is questionable because the various amounts disbursed under TARP and other related bank bailouts including Obama’s announced $750 billion aid program to financial institutions are not acknowledged in the government’s expenditure accounts.
A major crisis of the federal fiscal structure is occurring. The multibillion dollar allocations to the War Budget and to the Wall Street Bank Bailout program backlash on all other categories of public expenditure.
The Bush administration’s $ 700 billion bailout under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was approved by Congress in October. TARP is but the tip of the iceberg. A panoply of bailout allocations in addition to the $ 700 billion were decided upon prior to Obama assuming office. In November, the federal government’s bank rescue program was estimated at a staggering 8.5 trillion dollars, an amount equivalent to more than 50% of the US public debt estimated at 14 trillion (2007). (See table 2 below)
Meanwhile, under the Obama budget proposal, 634 billion dollars are allocated to a reserve fund to finance universal health care. At first sight, it appears to be a large amount. But it is to be spent over a ten year period, — i.e. a modest annual commitment of 63.4 billion.
Public spending will be slashed with a view to curtailing a spiralling budget deficit. Health and education programs will not only remain heavily underfunded, they will be slashed, revamped and privatized. The likely outcome is the outright privatization of public services and the sale of State assets including public infrastructure, urban services, highways, national parks, etc. Fiscal collapse leads to the privatization of the State.
The fiscal crisis is further exacerbated by the compression of tax revenues resulting from decline of the real economy. Unemployed workers do not pay pay taxes nor do bankrupt firms. The process is cumulative. The solution to the fiscal crisis becomes the cause of further collapse.
Structure of The Public Debt
This large scale appropriation of liquid money assets under the bank bailouts by a handful of financial institutions serves to increase the public debt overnight.
When the US Treasury allocates 700 billion dollars to the Troubled Assets Relief Program, this amount constitutes a budgetary outlay which inevitably must be financed from within the structure of government revenues and expenditures.
Unless all other categories of public expenditure including health, education and social services are slashed, the various outlays under the bank bailout will require running a massive budget deficit which in turn will increase the US public debt.
America is the most indebted country on earth. The US (federal government) public debt is currently of the order of $14 trillion. This does not include mounting public debts at the state and municipal levels.
This US dollar denominated (federal) debt is composed of outstanding treasury bills and government bonds. The public debt, also called “the national debt” is the amount of money owed by the federal government to holders of U.S. debt instruments.
US debt instruments are held by American residents as part of their savings portfolio, companies and financial institutions, US government agencies, foreign governments, individuals in foreign countries. but does not include intergovernmental debt obligations or debt held in the Social Security Trust Fund. Types of securities held by the public include, but are not limited to, Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds, TIPS, United States Savings Bonds, and State and Local Government Series securities.
The proposed solution becomes the cause of the crisis. The 700 billion bailout under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) combined with the proposed Obama $750 billion aid to financial services industry is but the tip of the iceberg. A panoply of bailout allocations in addition to the 700 billion have been decided upon.