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Ongoing bailout coverup–Bill Moyers (my HERO!)

April 5th, 2009

This Bill Moyers interview is going viral so fast, I can’t even keep up with it. And for a very good reason – former S&L regulator Bill Black explains exactly why http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04032009/transcript1.html>  the current banking bailout is a mistake. There’s so much information, you simply have to read or watch the entire thing:

BILL MOYERS: Yeah. Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of  the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in  a cover-up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?
 

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely.
 

BILL MOYERS: You are.
 

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Absolutely, because they are scared to death. All right?  They’re scared to death of a collapse. They’re afraid that if they  admit the truth, that many of the large banks are insolvent. They think  Americans are a bunch of cowards, and that we’ll run screaming to the  exits. And we won’t rely on deposit insurance. And, by the way, you  can rely on deposit insurance. And it’s foolishness. All right? Now, it may be  worse than that. You can impute more cynical motives. But I think they are  sincerely just panicked about, “We just can’t let the big banks fail.” That’s  wrong.
 

BILL MOYERS: But what might happen, at this point, if in fact they keep  from us the true health of the banks?
 

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, then the banks will, as they did in Japan, either  stay enormously weak, or Treasury will be forced to increasingly absurd  giveaways of taxpayer money. We’ve seen how horrific AIG — and remember, they  kept secrets from everyone.
 

BILL MOYERS: A.I.G. did?
 

WILLIAM K. BLACK: What we’re doing with — no, Treasury and both  administrations. The Bush administration and now the Obama administration kept  secret from us what was being done with AIG. AIG was being used secretly to  bail out favored banks like UBS and like Goldman Sachs. Secretary Paulson’s  firm, that he had come from being CEO. It got the largest amount of money.  $12.9 billion. And they didn’t want us to know that. And it was only  Congressional pressure, and not Congressional pressure, by the way, on  Geithner, but Congressional pressure on AIG.
 

Where Congress said, “We will not give you a single penny more unless we  know who received the money.” And, you know, when he was Treasury Secretary,  Paulson created a recommendation group to tell Treasury what they ought to do  with AIG. And he put Goldman Sachs on it.
 

BILL MOYERS: Even though Goldman Sachs had a big vested stake.
 

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Massive stake. And even though he had just been CEO of  Goldman Sachs before becoming Treasury Secretary. Now, in most stages in  American history, that would be a scandal of such proportions that he wouldn’t  be allowed in civilized society.
 

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, like a conflict of interest, it seems.
 

WILLIAM K. BLACK: Massive conflict of interests.
 

BILL MOYERS: So, how did he get away with it?
 

WILLIAM K. BLACK: I don’t know whether we’ve lost our capability of  outrage. Or whether the cover up has been so successful that people just don’t  have the facts to react to it.

BILL MOYERS: Who’s going to get the facts?
 

WILLIAM K. BLACK: We need some chairmen or chairwomen–
 

BILL MOYERS: In Congress.
 

WILLIAM K. BLACK: –in Congress, to hold the necessary hearings. And we can  blast this out. But if you leave the failed CEOs in place, it isn’t just that  they’re terrible business people, though they are. It isn’t just that  they lack integrity, though they do. Because they were engaged in these  frauds. But they’re not going to disclose the truth about the  assets.

BILL MOYERS: And we have to know that, in order to know what?
 

WILLIAM K. BLACK: To know everything. To know who committed the frauds.  Whose bonuses we should recover. How much the assets are worth. How much they  should be sold for. Is the bank insolvent, such that we should resolve it in  this way? It’s the predicate, right? You need to know the facts to make  intelligent decisions. And they’re deliberately leaving in place the  people that caused the problem, because they don’t want the facts.  And this is not new. The Reagan Administration‘s central priority, at  all times, during the Savings and Loan crisis, was covering up the  losses.

BILL MOYERS: So, you’re saying that people in power, political power, and  financial power, act in concert when their own behinds are in the wringer,  right?
 

WILLIAM K. BLACK: That’s right. And it’s particularly a crisis that  brings this out, because then the class of the banker says, “You’ve got to  keep the information away from the public or everything will collapse. If they  understand how bad it is, they’ll run for the exits.”


 

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