Thom Hartmann: Max Keiser is with us, TV presenter, radio host, entrepreneur, broadcaster, journalist, MaxKeiser.com, does a show now also for Russia Today, RT.com, MaxKeiser.com, though, his website. Max, welcome back to our show.
Max Keiser: Hey Thom, thanks for having me.
Thom Hartmann: Has President Obama just become a Herbert Hoover Republican?
Max Keiser: Well, not really, but the numbers are kind of trivial. You know he’s talking about 250 billion over 10 years, to put that into context, the United States of America currently has deficits totaling 107 trillion.
Thom Hartmann: Yeah, let me put it in an even larger context, Max. 250 billion dollars over 10 years. The banksters, this year, in one year, put 145 billion dollars in their own pockets. That’s 1% of GDP about 25, 35,000 guys on Wall Street just paid themselves.
Max Keiser: Yeah, well the, if Obama is serious about doing something to rectify the US economy then he has to start to shut down the speculators. The speculators are in control in the US economy, and the speculators are driving interest rates to artificially low levels, they’re driving reserve requirements to artificially low levels, and they’re driving wages down to artificially low levels and the result of this is a huge transference of wealth from the 99% of the population that doesn’t have a job at Goldman Sachs to the people at Goldman Sachs. So he has to attack the speculators. You have to go after the speculators and there’s only one way you can do that.
Thom Hartmann: And that is?
Max Keiser: You have to raise interest rates. Only by raising interest rates can you drive out the speculators. Only by raising reserve requirements, and margin requirements are you gonna drive out the speculators. If not, then the speculators will continue to set domestic policy, both financial and military, they’re gonna set the health policies, they’re gonna set the environmental policies. They’re in control.
Thom Hartmann: Well, you could also go back to Dwight Eisenhower’s tax policies, you know, and tax incomes. When Eisenhower was President, incomes over what in today’s dollars would be around 2.3 million dollars, were taxed at 92%, 91%, excuse me. And so, you know, speculating to become a billionaire just wasn’t in the cards.
Max Keiser: Well, to go back to the Eisenhower days or to go back to the FDR days, it’s difficult to make comparisons to the current situation.
Thom Hartmann: Well even under Nixon you had these high tax rates and we didn’t have these kind of speculative bubbles.
Max Keiser: Well it’s, again, Nixon, it’s not an apt comparison necessarily because it’s only during the past 10, 15 years that we’ve see a complete dismantling of all the regulations that were keeping Wall Street in check.
Thom Hartmann: Right. Gramm-Leach-Bliley and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in particular. Those two pieces of legislation in ’99 and 2000 passed by both Republicans and Democrats, pushed by Republicans, supported by Democrats, and enthusiastically signed by Bill Clinton. These are the things that took apart the regulatory infrastructure that has allowed the speculators to take over the country. The problem I think that Obama is facing right now, Max Keiser, is that with the Supreme Court decision that we had on Thursday, if he were to take on these speculators, I mean these guys, like I said, they just paid themselves 1% of GDP as pay, not to an industry or to a company, they just took it as a frigging paycheck. They could take 10% of that paycheck and have more money than all the money that President Obama spent on television to become president and just, you know, carpet bomb, money bomb, carpet bomb with television advertising, any politician who gets in their way. They can, the speculators are now so rich, these banksters, they’re so rich. And the Supreme Court is saying they can spend unlimited amounts of money on politics.
You’re living in Paris, aren’t you? In France?
Max Keiser: Yeah, when it became obvious that Bush was gonna win the election back in 2000 I moved to France because I didn’t want to live in the United States under the Bush administration. And I didn’t live in the United States during the previous Bush administration either.
Thom Hartmann: Right. So you’ve got the benefit of looking at us from outside and seeing this thing. What’s, what are the options that, I mean Europe seems to be handling this fairly well, with the exception of the UK, which had Maggie Thatcher the same time we had Reagan, you know, taking an ax to the, to everything. What, in your opinion, and what are you hearing there in Europe, about what can or should be done, and in the minute we have left, Max Keiser, the sense of who is Barack Obama at the end of the day?
Max Keiser: Well, I mean, when you went back, go back to what you were saying there a second ago which is that Barack Obama is not doing anything to shut down the banksters on Wall Street. So it’s up to the people to do something. And we saw in the last few weeks something actually occur to suggest that the people are becoming more proactive, you know, this "Move Your Money" campaign is trying to decapitalize the four major financial terrorists on Wall Street by taking away this money and by raising the cost of their speculation. So that’s a populist campaign, that’s an attempt by the people to do something to fill the vacuum that Obama has left. There are…
Thom Hartmann: Right. The problem is that these banksters are still just doing speculation, they’re doing proprietary speculation. Obama’s talking about ending it but I haven’t seen a legislative initiative.
Max Keiser: That’s correct. So what else can the people do to shut down the speculative financial terrorism that… Frank Rich in the New York Times two weeks ago wrote a column saying that the bankers on Wall Street were a much greater threat to America's economy and security than Al Qaeda.
Thom Hartmann: He’s absolutely right. He’s absolutely right, and you are too. Max Keiser, MaxKeiser.com, get over there, check it out. TV presenter, radio host, entrepreneur, broadcaster and journalist, thank you Max.
Max Keiser: Sure.
Thom Hartmann: Good talking with ya.
Transcribed by Suzanne Roberts, Portland Psychology Clinic.