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Big League Economics

This Wall Street Firm Has Quietly Gained Control Over the Financial Sector During Coronavirus Panic

BlackRock is gaining power because of this crisis.

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A big winner of the economic peril caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been the monolithic Wall Street management firm BlackRock, which has been granted sweeping new powers by the Federal Reserve.

Last month, the Fed named BlackRock as the adviser and investment manager for three emergency programs meant to prop up the fledgling markets. They are now tasked with controlling the primary market corporate credit facility (PMCCF), the secondary market corporate credit facility (SMCCF), and granting new bond and loan issuance.

Critics of the move fear that the agreement between the Fed and BlackRock are recreating the exact circumstances that have allowed systemic Wall Street corruption in the past.

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“By giving BlackRock full control of this debt buyout program, the Fed is further entwining the roles of government and private actors,” wrote many different consumer-advocate groups in a letter criticizing the BlackRock’s deal with the Fed.

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“In doing so, it makes BlackRock even more systemically important to the financial system. Yet BlackRock is not subject to the regulatory scrutiny of even smaller systemically important financial institutions,” the letter added.

BlackRock has become the world’s preeminent investment management corporation under the stewardship of its founder Larry Fink. Fink has exploited his Washington D.C. connections throughout his career, and he has particularly strong ties with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Fink was expected to lead her Treasury Department if Clinton defeated President Donald Trump in 2016. With Washington D.C. in his back pocket, Fink has been able to dominate Wall Street despite no apparent expertise or even basic competency.

“His economic empire is less a result of his economic skills and competitiveness and more a result of his political connections and trillion-dollar state contracts,” wrote sociologist and geopolitical scholar James Petras about Fink’s career.

“Fink’s most famous financial product, mortgage-based securities led to the biggest collapse in world financial markets since the Great Depression,” Petras added.

BlackRock has grown into the world’s most powerful firm because of Fink’s success in peddling influence with politicians in the Washington D.C. swamp. They capitalized during the last economic crisis, benefiting mightily from sweetheart deals orchestrated under former President Barack Hussein Obama. While corporations were going under left and right in the 2008 economic crash, BlackRock was cleaning up and consolidating power.

They profited from the economic misery by being awarded lucrative government contracts, often without having to even bid on them. BlackRock was tasked with managing the proposed rescue operations of Bear Stearns, the American International Group and Citigroup. They also implemented a Federal Reserve program to resuscitate the beleaguered housing market and were brought on as consultants to evaluate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Their growing influence was a major cause of controversy at the time.

“They have access to information when the Federal Reserve will try to sell securities, and what price they will accept. And they have intricate financial relations with people across the globe,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said in 2009. “The potential for a conflict of interest is great and it is just very difficult to police.”

“In other words, the conflict results in an enormous profit for the fund manager at the expense of the taxpayer,” wrote Neil M. Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, in a 2009 report about BlackRock’s gaming of the system.

In a decade’s time from 2009 to 2019, assets under the control of BlackRock skyrocketed in value from $1.3 trillion to $6.84 trillion. Cronyism has paid off for Fink, and BlackRock is perfectly situated to exploit coronavirus hysteria in order to commit another heist.

Petras noted: “Fink has turned BR into an empire by spending his time and energy in the politics of controlling and milking the US Treasury. Controlling this activity is more influential than the President of the United States or Pentagon in deciding who among the elite wins and who loses!”

BlackRock has maneuvered themselves into the same role they were in when they cashed out on the economic peril during the previous crash. While Americans struggle to pay the rent, BlackRock will be racking up trillions more in ill-gotten gains.

Big League Economics

SHAME: Democrats Are Blocking Stimulus Legislation That Includes Second $1,200 TrumpBux Check

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Democrats in Congress are blocking a bipartisan $1.5 trillion stimulus package that includes a second round of $1,200 TrumpBux payments to Americans.

Leading House Democrats are saying the bill isn’t big enough of a giveaway, but they favor stimulus measures that would divert funds away from the pockets of everyday Americans to institutions. They want to bail out Democrat state and local governments, and are willing to block TrumpBux payments to Americans if they aren’t allowed to.

The House passed a $3.4 trillion stimulus package in May that was shot down by Senate Republicans. The latest $1.4 stimulus legislation has been presented as a compromise, after House Democrats in turn rejected a thin $500 billion stimulus package proposed by Republicans last week. That package did not include a second round of $1,200 payments, and Republicans are now willing to sign off on another TrumpBux payment in order to pass another round of stimulus.

The $1.5 trillion stimulus legislation emerged from the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 25 Republicans and 25 Democrats who emphasize bipartisanship and common ground. Aside from TrumpBux 2, it features $500 billion for cities and states, unemployment insurance of $600 a week, increased SNAP benefits and rental assistance.

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Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi are claiming the legislation doesn’t go far enough and that it “leaves too many needs unmet.”

Pelosi and House Democrats are insisting that Congress will remain in session until a second stimulus agreement is met, but in rejecting the Problem Solvers Caucus legislation they’re already shown they’re not open to a generous compromise.

Try asking everyday working Americans of all stripes and walks of life if they’re willing to wait or even go without a second $1,200 stimulus payment in order to provide a bigger bailout to states and cities that already engage in questionable budgetary practices to begin with. The Democrats are resolutely determined to avoid making people the priority in  a stimulus package, and will block stimulus legislation to do so.

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