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Playing with the bank's money

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Dear Editor:

President Trump recently announced that his war on trade was supported by the fact that the stock market was at near all time highs. Since stock prices are so high, he says, we can endure a little "pain" that may be caused by his tariff and trade policies because he is "playing with the bank's money." To make this perfectly clear, if you own stocks or are at all invested in the stock market through your 401K or IRAs, the "bank's money" is YOUR money. Of course, President Trump doesn't really understand any of this at all, because many of his business dealings and investments have pretty much been based on dealing with "the bank's money."

This is how many of the wealthy operate. They inherit or are lucky enough to make a boatload of cash, then they incorporate to protect that wealth while gambling with "other peoples' money" to try to make even more. If their gamble fails, the banks or investors who were unfortunate enough to bet their money lose large portions or even all of their investments. The owner of the "corporation" or front company (LLC, e.g.) loses nothing. This is the game of bankruptcy the privileged get to play, because even though the Supreme Court Citizen's United case essentially ruled that corporations are people, a corporation has never been sent to jail. Any monetary penalties and fines assessed against corporations are not personally paid by those operating and in charge of the corporation (them), but by shareholders and corporate bond holders (us) or the assets of the corporation only. Corporate officers are rarely if ever truly held accountable. Sure, the value of their stock holdings may decrease (which they largely didn't actually buy but were "awarded") and they may get fired (with a multi-million dollar termination package). That's the deal -- the rules the big boys thrive in while too many Americans face the true pain of bankruptcy should they happen to become seriously ill and choose medical care to continue living.

To top it all off, today the news is reporting White House approval of $12 billion of emergency aid to farmers due to the consequences of President Trump's trade war. Besides the hypocrisy of "free trade" and government subsidizing of businesses who can afford the best paid lobbyists and generous political contributions, who do you think is actually paying for that? No surprise again -- it's the BANK (that's US, the taxpayers). Not much different than bailing out Wall Street, except this time instead of the bankers causing the problem it is the president. Of course, no one (neither the president nor Congress) will require that we pay for it. We'll just print more money and borrow it, from the BANK! That way we'll think it's free. After all, why should WE sacrifice? Let our kids pay it back down the road when we're long gone. And to be sure, by the time this is printed the president will have crowed about the growth in second quarter GDP. There again, it is being fueled by unfunded tax decreases (disproportionately to the already well-off), growth in consumer debt, and an expansion of our national debt during a period of low unemployment when we should be reducing the debt rather than adding to it. I can just as easily increase my "personal GDP" by borrowing $25,000 on my home or racking up the same amount on my credit cards. Doesn't make me any more wealthy, though. Nor happier, to be truthful. If we paid attention to our parents, preachers, or history, we'd appreciate the age-old adage "money cannot buy happiness." It's time we all started figuring that out.

Brian Wegner

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