Transcript: Thom Hartmann riffs on the banksters, 10 Nov '10

Thom Hartmann: Yeah the banksters, “Oh, it’s just an act of God. It’s the way things work!” No, it’s a scam. 1999, Phil Gramm, Gramm-Leach-Bliley. Deregulate the banks. In the UK, Maggie Thatcher, Tony Blair, ‘Oh yeah let’s deregulate the, let’s become the world, the capital, the money center of the world.’ And what are we seeing now? Banksters based in the UK and the US, based in New York and London, rolling all over the world, wiping out governments. Banksters. And making billions.

Banks don’t make anything. They don’t produce anything of value. Banks don’t make shoes, they don’t make cars, they don’t make computer chips. They handle the money that those companies make when they make those things, they facilitate purchases and sales by checking accounts and wire transfers and things. But they don’t actually make anything. So why are they making billions? There’s something fundamentally wrong with this system.

We had a, you know, I believe it was Zachary Taylor, was the president, back in the 18, what 30s? 40s? Who ran on the platform of bringing down the second bank of the United States? He ran against the banksters. That was his presidential platform. If this president and this party, I mean this is so simple. If they were just to draw a line in the sand and say we are going to do two things and we’re going to do them right and we’re going to make sure that this, this is it, this is how it happens. We’re going to unwind these insane trade rules, and we’re going to go back to a tariff based protectionist trade system, and yeah I know all the pundits will get hysterical. But we’re going to do it because it worked for over 200 years in this country. You say well it’s a brave new world. Well yeah it’s a brave new world where the banksters rule everything.

So number one, we’re going to undo the trade, the insane trade policies. And number two, we’re going to reregulate the banks and turn them into utilities. I mean can you explain to me any reason, any imaginable reason, why the guy who is in charge of the institution that handles your checking account and your savings account should be making two billion dollars a year? Any imaginable, it’s inconceivable that these guys should be making 100 million dollars a year. That they should be making five million dollars a year. It’s a friggin’ utility. You play Monopoly, it’s like you know it should be like the water and the railroad. And these things used to be considered utilities.

It’s like saying okay let’s take the guy who is in charge of the Metro here in Washington DC, the train system that runs under. That’s a really important utility, let’s privatize that and let the guy who is running it, who right now is probably a civil servant making 100 grand a year, let’s have that guy be eligible to make 100 million dollars a year. We’ll just jack the fares up as high as we can until only rich people can ride the subway. Well there’s enough of them around in this city. Lobbyist jobs start at 300 grand a year and there’s 35 thousand of them. But you get my point?

This is, banking, the history of this country is intertwined with banking, with the banking companies. And with the debate about whether banking should be private or public. Whether it should be owned by the government, the primary banking systems, or whether they should be owned by individuals who are doing them to get rich. And what you see in North Dakota, the only state in the union that has its own bank, owned by the state, where all those profits that are made by the bank, the interest profits, go back into the state coffers or go back into the bank to be leant out to other people. Because they’re not being skimmed off as dividends by the ‘investors’ in the bank. And they’re not being paid out in a multi-million dollar salary to the CEO and senior executives of the bank. North Dakota has the lowest, one of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States, entrepreneurs can get money to start businesses, farmers can get money to start, to plant the next years crop. And it’s been that way since the 1910, I think it was 1910 when the Bank of North Dakota was incorporated. Every state in the union can do this. I mean at the state level.

It’s just like Vermont is fixing, and we’ll see, Wendell Potter is skeptical, Bernie Sanders is enthusiastic. I’ll put my money on Bernie. But just like the state of Vermont is getting ready to try to start their own, statewide, single payer healthcare system. And we’ll see if the 600 thousand citizens of the state of Vermont have enough power to take on the trillion dollar industry that they’re going to take on. Just as Vermont is planning to do that, North Dakota has done it with banking. Every other state in the Union can do it.

And in the meantime, let’s look at what some of these banksters have done over the last couple of years. You know, yesterday I was talking about George W. Bush admitting to war crimes and he should be held, he and Louise and I saw Fair Game the new movie about Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, who are genuine American heroes. I mean genuine American heroes. And not out, you know, strutting around about it either. They’re the real thing. And how Carl Rove and Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney have blood on their hands and should be tried for treason, well let’s go after some banksters too. You know the only problem? The current justice department has no interest in any of this.

Transcribed by Suzanne Roberts, Portland Psychology Clinic.

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