Can you say oligopoly in the USA?

Financial consumers are screwed. Can you say oligopoly in the USA? Based on a study released by the White House yesterday – the four biggest banks in America could grow even bigger under the financial reform law passed last year. The law put a cap on the growth of financial institutions to prevent them from posing a systemic risk to the entire financial system – like what happened a few years ago. However that cap is calculated using a skewed formula that allows even the biggest banks in America to continue to grow into “too big to fail” monsters. Bank of America, JP Morgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo all have plenty of room under the cap and can add another trillion dollars to their balance sheets by taking over and merging with other banks. To put it into perspective just how big these banks are – they collectively hold nearly $8 trillion in assets - about half of the entire banking system – and originate 3 out of every 5 home mortgages. Less than a decade ago – 15 banks made up half of the financial industry – today that’s 4. And sadly – there’s nothing in the law to prevent these massive banks from growing larger. Looks like the banks won after all…again.


Redlocks's picture
Redlocks 12 years 19 weeks ago

@Luis Moss

That is a strange way to sell your web-site. It isn't even related to Thom's post.

Sorry, I don't need a research paper written for me in college. I always wrote my own.

Redlocks's picture
Redlocks 12 years 19 weeks ago

This was a nice job by the bankers. First they got the money to buy other banks (mergers) and invest in the stock market. Then they got the regulation put into place to insure they could keep doing "business as usual" but with their banks being favored. They even got the Republican to make a bunch of noise about too much regulation, so that no one would notice that the banks were being favored.

This news is no surpise with Obama bringing in people from the banking sector to be his top advisors! I am surprised that they let this report slip out from the White House though. Is the White House proud of this accomplishment?

making progress's picture
making progress 12 years 19 weeks ago

Stephen Colbert is so Eloquent!

North Carolina Tea Partiers want to reverse socially engineered progress until things get so bad for the poor that they can't be ignored.

Mr. Twisted's picture
Mr. Twisted 12 years 19 weeks ago

You don't say....

Government regulation of private industry leading to more -- not less -- corruption? Well now that's just crazy talk....

This should come as a shock to: No one at all.

two Ns's picture
two Ns 12 years 19 weeks ago

It all depends on who's writing the regulations Mr. Twisted. If you let money decide politics then the money will control the government and what will that lead to? Middle class tax dollars going to billionare banksters.

Sherman J Gorve's picture
Sherman J Gorve 12 years 19 weeks ago

Chris Dodd, now gone, could have gone out a Hero, But He Caved, and now will be remembered as the Senator who enabled the Banks, with back door help, from the Fed. to take complete control of America.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 12 years 19 weeks ago

Banking woes...found a couple of strange charges against my checking account dated a couple of days after bills we mailed went missing (mail box was full making it easy for anyone to reach in and steal the mail...followed up weeks later by complaints from creditors of those bills that they did not receive payment). One for a nice round figure and another for a lesser amount. These were not checks against my account but were debits (and not POS or ATM debits). Bank is investigating...but the problem is, I learned (from the bank employee), that all anyone has to do is have your account number and the routing and they can easily debit that account. This is really, really strange. Why is it so easy for someone to debit bank accounts? I don't have on-line banking because although I might tend to trust encryption between the bank and my computer, I could easily have a keystroke logger, or other exploit, on my computer that my virus checker will not see because it was a rootkit. Man-in-the-middle and other exploits are also possible. I don't know if it is even a valid choice anymore to keep money in the bank (is my mattress safer?). Either your money will be stolen by some scam artist hacker with a computer or the bank will eventually screw you...FDIC notwithstanding.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 12 years 19 weeks ago

Tacit Monarchy. Bank of America and Wells Fargo are the SAME BANK. I wish someone believed me. That is how the mergers have been funneled down since 1907.

ajackson652 12 years 19 weeks ago

I taught industrial management at the Northwest Institute of Light Industry in Xianyang, near Xian (terracotta soldiers) back in 1992. I was brought in to teach and develop classes, consult area industries, and to speak at their conference in industrial management about the cloning of manufacturing via a facilities communication content and infrastructure. I was in China approximately 9 months. I would like to share some of my observations and thoughts of China:


  1. First of all, we must differentiate between the wonderful and very hard working people of China, the Chinese Communist Government, and the ancient ‘family’ structure that is still a real power, it not the power of China. I believe China’s ruling families are using the structure of Communism as corporatist in America are attempting to use our Democracy, for self empowerment and to rule their nation.
  2. The common people of China are very much like the working class of America in that they are doing the best they can to better themselves and their families under the circumstances and conditions they were born. A colleague was able to have his wife, who worked in a different ‘work community’, with him when she had their first born daughter. Otherwise, they lived apart. She was to be their only child.
  3. The management within manufacturing is working very hard to improve their areas of responsibility and to advance and modernize their facilities. Part of the power structure that I was confronted with is “what will you do for me so that you can get your raw materials you need for your manufacturing?” ‘Guan-chi’ is a very real currency. With so little ‘cash’ in circulation, ‘guan-chi’ is the currency of “favors”. I do something for you and sometime you will do something for me.
  4. The corporate and political news of “China’s manipulation of their currency” is bogus. The cost of labor (and living), engineering, and management, is so low that it literally unimaginable and unintelligible to our Western Culture. The average faculty was paid, at that time, $50 per month. The high priced manufacturing jobs (management) were in the industrial development zone along the coast (Shanghai) paid $500 per month. The people don’t have anything. The college where I taught, the whole college of several thousand students and faculty had a total of two cars, and one telephone. What is the cost of producing anything, when the labor to mine and manufacture the raw materials, make the machines, to build the manufacturing plant, to run the machines is virtually zero. Some accountant needs to do the actual math.

I enjoyed working in China and learning their culture. I was married to a first generation Chinese-Brazilian who was gifted, motivated and energized to make the most of life’s opportunities. (She died of cancer.) The people of China still admire the west and what the Western Culture has accomplished. In my talk at Xianyang’s industrial conference, I spoke of the “sleeping dragon” that is China. The west is just beginning to understand the potential that is China.

whoknew42 12 years 19 weeks ago

Oligopoly - the market condition that exists when there are few sellers, as a result of which they can greatly influence price and other market factors.

I absolutely believe that our nation has become an oligopoly. We cannot argue that we don't fit the description of the meaning of the word - so how can we claim that we are not?

nanatea's picture
nanatea 12 years 19 weeks ago

I would say that we are but not yet a dictatorship. The oligarchs have not yet figured out a way to control 300,000,000 people. I think they are working on it in the classical way of obtaining compliance with bread and circuses. It is a new situation since the oligarchs in Athens did not need the constant turnover of specie to maintain their status and our oligarchs do need that turnover.

Mr. Twisted's picture
Mr. Twisted 12 years 19 weeks ago

Regulation favors large, bureaucratic machines. Period.

The idea people have that somehow more regulation will benefit "the little guy" is an absurd one that should be smashed with the Hammer of Thor.

To address your statement, no, it doesn't matter who is writing the regulation. The larger the bureaucracy/corporation/organization, the easier it will be for them to adapt, comply or circumvent said regulation. Conversely, the smaller an organization or company is, the tougher it will be for them to do the same.

This is a fundamental truth that somehow escapes a large number of our population. Yet it is still a fundamental truth.

Accept the fact that any proposed regulation will become so convoluted that only lawyers can understand it and, as a result, only those who can hire said lawyers will have an advantage.

Politicians and legislators are not your friends. Having them make laws for the "betterment of society" is in no way beneficial to the common man. The sooner people get that through their head, the better off we will be. Sadly, that will never happen on a large scale. People will continue to say "if we just passed this legislation, it would even things out/make things better/prevent this evil that just happened." And then they will complain when the "big corporations" somehow manage to circumvent the law. It is the same every time.

Barbazza's picture
Barbazza 12 years 19 weeks ago

Actually Twisted, if corporations weren't allowed to corrupt our government with money and thereby write the legislation themselves, then we might actually have real legislation which all companies would have to comply with. Furthermore, the regulators themselves have all to often shown to be former industry shills who turn the other cheeck in return of monetary favors. If we could rid ourselves of corporate influence in our government (ie, the BS concept of corporate personhood) and rid DC of lobbyists and the revolving door they create between elected officials, regulators, industry execs, etc, then, and only then, will we have proper legislation which is enforced by non-corrupt individuals. Its really not a hard reality to see, and your attitude that people need to forget about regulations is absurd, ignorant, and downright condescending. Do a little more thinking on the topic my friend; your assumptions and assertations are only logical so long as we ignore the real problem our country faces: a growing corporatocracy.

Mr. Twisted's picture
Mr. Twisted 12 years 19 weeks ago

I'll give you condescending, but my argument is a long way from absurd or ignorant.

None of what you wrote refutes my point. Your response equates to "those big meanie heads with money make it unfair." Guess what? Life is unfair a lot of the time. Special interest groups throw their weight against politicians on both sides to pressure them into doing what they want them to do.

The fallacy here is in thinking that money only influences politicians in one direction. Nothing could be further from the truth. Organized labor has, for decades now, pushed numerous politicians to the "left" in the political aisle. The same goes for "green" money (Al Gore, anyone?). Interest groups with large bank accounts hold sway over politicians. Again, and this is important so pay attention: get over it. That's the way it works and has worked throughout our country's history. You know what else holds sway over politicians? Voting. Yeah, crazy, I know.

Where does this myth come from that somehow in the past politicians weren't affected by money and large interest groups? Fortunately for America, we have a system that minimizes that practice as much as possible (comparitively speaking to other countries), but it's still -- and always will be -- affected by any organization with large amounts of cash. For some odd reason, people think that it will be more so that way since the Citizens United case, but that only proves a vast misunderstanding of that ruling (as I'm guessing you have, based on your "BS" comment).

In short, my "assertations" are logical only as long as we accept this thing I call "reality." The idea that we have a growing "corporatocracy" (whatever that means -- apparently it can be made to mean whatever you want) in this country is, to put it mildly, invented in the minds of only those who wish it to be so.

dylon dogs run free's picture
dylon dogs run free 12 years 15 weeks ago

Greetings,interesting to follow someones experience.So I want to share my concern with you about facist member states who engage in propaganda campaigns to encourage thier populations to accept toxins into thier enviornments.The Nuclear Industry should be held for crimes against humanity.50 yrs. of emmissions and ocean dumping I'm not surprized things are heating up.India ,China and others are forcing this tecn. onto the world water ways. GMO"S have been linked to Bee devestation ,toxins to extictions.I know these countries are aware of the dangers and controvery,yet instead of doing the prudent thing they are more then willing to corrupt and distroy thier own lands. It is not about ignorance or the lack of public outrage ! Your thoughts, Janine

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