Financial Calamity

Our financial system is horribly broken, serving only the well-connected and well-monied interests of Wall Street. We, the American Taxpayer, gave billions of our dollars to save people who made stupid bets on gambles designed to make them millions and millions of dollars. We haven’t flinched yet but if the republic has a chance of recovering, we’re going to have to do something about it.

From Bill Moyers Journal January 8th, 2010:

“Thanks to taxpayers like you who generously bailed banking from the financial shipwreck it created for itself and for us, by the end of 2009 the industry’s compensation pool reached nearly $200 billion. And despite windfall profits, the banks will claim almost $80 billion in tax deductions. And nearly $20 billion of those deductions will go to just three institutions — Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs.

Ah, yes — Goldman Sachs, that paragon of profit and probity — which bet big on the housing bubble and when it popped — presto! — converted itself from an investment firm into a bank so it could get your bailout money. Now consider this: in 2008, Goldman Sachs paid an effective tax rate of just one percent. I’m not making that up — one percent! — while their CEO Lloyd Blankfein pulled down over $40 million. That’s God’s work, if you can get it. And, believe me, Wall Street bankers know how to get it…”

Did you read that? Goldman Sachs paid an effective tax rate of ONE PERCENT. This is the change we have been given. Short change indeed. Why we haven’t risen up and destroyed these people, either figuratively or literally, is beyond me. They are sucking the life blood out of America and calling it God’s work.

They are doing it because we let them. You do have some choice. Let your representatives know that you will not stand for it. Better yet, take any and all money you have in major banks and move them to small community banks as part of the Move Your Money movement. I will be opening an account with American National Bank of Texas today and closing my Chase account as soon as I can. I refuse to continue to support institutions who do anything they can to disadvantage me the customer while lining their pockets with my tax money. If you do not do what is right, you will continue to suffer the painful consequences of what is wrong.

Hat Tip: Jesse. If he isn’t in your daily reading list, you are missing out on commentary exactly describing what is going on in our financial and political system. Props

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it here at the Experiment but one of the most fantastic pieces of software I use regularly is Mint. Mint tracks your finances, spending and investments and it does it extremely well, far better than Money or Quicken. There is very little for you to do other than verify the categories. On top of that, it’s free. I’m a little more OCD when it comes to money than most people but still, I think almost anyone would benefit from having a comprehensive view into their finances without having to jump through all the hoops that other packages force you through.

If you’ve always wanted to track your finances but didn’t want it to require 3 hours a week to keep up with, you should check out Mint.