Skip to main content

The Real Housewives of Wall Street

Matt Tabbi @ Rolling Stone - America has two national budgets, one official, one unofficial. The official budget is public record and hotly debated: Money comes in as taxes and goes out as jet fighters, DEA agents, wheat subsidies and Medicare, plus pensions and bennies for that great untamed socialist menace called a unionized public-sector workforce that Republicans are always complaining about. According to popular legend, we're broke and in so much debt that 40 years from now our granddaughters will still be hooking on weekends to pay the medical bills of this year's retirees from the IRS, the SEC and the Department of Energy.


Most Americans know about that budget. What they don't know is that there is another budget of roughly equal heft, traditionally maintained in complete secrecy. After the financial crash of 2008, it grew to monstrous dimensions, as the government attempted to unfreeze the credit markets by handing out trillions to banks and hedge funds. And thanks to a whole galaxy of obscure, acronym-laden bailout programs, it eventually rivaled the "official" budget in size — a huge roaring river of cash flowing out of the Federal Reserve to destinations neither chosen by the president nor reviewed by Congress, but instead handed out by fiat by unelected Fed officials using a seemingly nonsensical and apparently unknowable methodology. Read more.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Injustice of This Moment Is Not an ‘Aberration’

Our nation’s prison and jail population had quintupled in 30 years, leaving us with the highest incarceration rate in the world. A third of black men had felony records — due in large part to a racially biased, brutal drug war — and were relegated to a permanent second-class status. Tens of millions of people in the United States had been stripped of basic civil and human rights, including the right to vote, the right to serve on juries and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, education and basic public benefits.  Read more.

How the CIA used modern art as political propaganda

The CIA chose to headquarter the Congress for Cultural Freedom in Paris, because that city had long been the capital of European cultural life, and the CCF’s main goal was to convince European intellectuals, who might otherwise be swayed by Soviet propaganda, which suggested that the U.S. was home only to capitalist philistines, that in fact the opposite was true: with Europe weakened by war, it was now the United States that would protect and nurture the western cultural tradition, in the face of Soviet dogma.  Read more.