Banksters Get Help But Not Homeowners?! Are We Crazy?

It’s time to start helping the people, and stop helping Wall Street. According to an agreement announced earlier today, big bank Citigroup will pay $7 billion to settle a Department of Justice investigation into that bank’s involvement with risky subprime mortgages. The agreement stems from Citigroup’s role in the trading of subprime mortgage securities, which helped to cause the 2007 financial collapse and Great Recession.

Of the $7 billion total settlement, $4 billion will be in the form of a civil monetary payment to the Department of Justice, $500 million will go to state attorney’s general and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and an additional $2.5 billion will go towards “consumer relief.” But make no mistake about it. This agreement is another win for the big banks.

Under the agreement, Citigroup will most likely get a $500 million tax write-off. And in pre-market trading on Monday, Citigroup stocks rose by nearly 4%, despite the $7 billion agreement. This is nothing more than a slap on the wrist for Citigroup; basically a cost of doing business. And as for the mere $2.5 billion in consumer relief, while it will be going towards loan modifications, principal reduction and refinancing for distressed homeowners, it’s nowhere near enough. And there are no guarantees it will make its way into the hands of the people Citigroup victimized, either.

If the Department of Justice was serious about holding Citigroup accountable for its actions, and helping the American people and economy recover from the Great Recession, then it would be taking a heck of a lot more than $7 billion, and giving that money directly to the American people. It would be helping out American homeowners, instead of continuing to protect the big banks. After all, it’s consumers buying things like houses who drive demand and grow the economy. Not the big banks on Wall Street.

Directly helping out American homeowners after a crisis isn’t some sort of radical idea or new thing we have to look at Sweden or Iceland to figure out, either. We’ve done this sort of thing before, right here in the United States, and it worked very well. Back in 1933, in the wake of the Great Depression, FDR signed into law the Home Owners’ Loan Act of 1933, which created the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC).

The HOLC’s main goal was to help refinance home mortgages that were in default or at risk of foreclosure because of the 1929 stock market crash and the previous collapse of the housing industry. It did that by buying up old mortgages from the banks using government bonds - borrowed money. In a statement released after the act was signed into law, FDR said that, “In signing the ‘Home Owners Loan Act of 1933,’ I feel that we have taken another important step toward the ending of deflation which was rapidly depriving many millions of farm and home owners from the title and equity to their property.”

By the mid-1930’s, the HOLC had helped to refinance nearly 20% of urban homes in America. And by 1936, the final year that the HOLC was buying mortgages, it had helped to provide Americans with over one million new mortgages, and had lent out nearly $750 billion in today’s dollars. That’s right; $750 billion in today’s dollars. That makes the $2.5 billion from the Citigroup agreement going towards consumer relief seem like nothing.

To this day, the HOLC is credited with relieving the financial burdens of millions of Americans, and helping to right the American economy. If we're serious about rebuilding the American economy, and helping out the millions of Americans who still struggle to keep a roof over their heads, then we need to be doing a lot more than just forcing one bank to handle $2.5 billion in consumer relief and trusting the bank to distribute it responsibly.

We need to stop caring so much about the well-being of Wall Street, and start caring about the American people and economy. No American should have to go to bed tonight worrying if they’re going to become homeless tomorrow.


Sedwin's picture
Sedwin 8 years 45 weeks ago

With regard to the Walmart accident, although the driver may not have been driving more than 24 hours both the cops and the court documents clearly say the driver had been awake more than 24 hours which means he was operating the vehicle as if he was leaglly intoxicated with a alcohol impairment eequal to .15% over the legal limit. When he rear ended the limo, (which was caught on video), killing and serioiusly injuring those people, even if he wasn't impaired, which he clearly was, he is still legally responsible, as is Walmart, as rear ending makes him responsible, according to the law. Further, several reports claim he was operating the truck for 15 hours and the legal limit for doing so, is 11 hours.

Quoting Fox News is ridiculous. Instead people should read the court and police reports. This driver and Walmart are clearly responsible and will be held accountable for these deaths and serious injuries.

ckrob's picture
ckrob 8 years 45 weeks ago

Regarding today's second hour, may I suggest that religion is the world's greatest example of the placebo effect.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 8 years 45 weeks ago

Most companies like Walmart bully their employees. They have all these safety rules in effect to protect their employees. So they say. This employee got caught up in the effort of trying to keep up. Everyone has to bend the rules to keep up with everyone else. To follow the rules is to fall behind. To look bad. If you're the only one that can't keep up, it's probibaly because you're following all the rules. Then you're reprimanded for poor performance. Everyone else makes better time than you. Now that he got caught doing what he had to do to keep up, Walmart will drag out the rule book and wave it in his face. All those safety rules are in place to protect the company. Not the employees. Walmart knows what's going on. The employees are being played.

bobcox's picture
bobcox 8 years 45 weeks ago

Reminds me of the billionaire who orders his chauffeur to drive 100 miles per hour down the highway listed at 70. He is stopped by the highway patrolman who takes the chauffeur to the local judge who fines him $400 and removes his driver license for 6 months. The billionaire just hires another chauffeur and drives on at 100 mph! The fines don't mean anything to those with that kind of money.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 45 weeks ago

And then many companies have "Dead Peasants" life insurance policies on their employees. So, they have a very strong interest in making sure they work their employees to death. Only the companies reap the payoffs on these insurance policies...the families of the deceased get nada.

rkfdred's picture
rkfdred 8 years 45 weeks ago

I have yet to hear any discussion from anyone about what happens to homeowners in foreclosure or a short sale when it comes to the IRS. The mortgage company issues 1099's to these homeowners that reflect the difference for what the company gets for the home and what the mortgage balance is. By the time a house goes into foreclose their morgage balance could increase by $15 or $20K so if you originally owed $165K (now perhaps 185K) and the the bank sells it for $130K they will issue a 1099 for the $55K difference. The homeowner did not make any money on the transaction but the IRS treats it as income - yet another kick in the gut to the homeowner. This is wrong!!! Yet another no win situation for an already down homeowner.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 45 weeks ago

Banking deregulation is the root crime here.

We need just one state to go completely Democratic Socialist and the rest will certainly follow. Only then will the root crime never be allowed to happen again and again.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 8 years 45 weeks ago

I heard that the government was going to fine Citigroup 10 billion dollars but Citigroup refused to pay more than 5 billion. They negotiated a 7 billion dollar settlement. Who's in charge here? Just like Social Security. You pay into it and the money gets diverted. We lose every time. Even when justice is supposedly served.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago

Willie, dear comrade, the key word is "supposedly".

goat-on-a-stick's picture
goat-on-a-stick 8 years 45 weeks ago

I think a lot of problems stem from how literally we take our laws word-for-word, instead of going by the intent of the laws. It leads to a lot of nit-picking and exploiting, which most of time go completely against what the intent of the laws were for.

Banks and corporations know this and have been taking advantage of this for decades. They weasel in laws with good intent on the outside, but word it in a way that can be easily bent toward their benefit, and to the detriment of consumers and society.

Many of our laws are too old to even gather what the author's (if the author is even clearly known) original intent was. It's hard to decipher intent when we have a constitution that was written well over 200 years ago, but perhaps that is something a constitutional convention could help remedy.

catman306's picture
catman306 8 years 45 weeks ago

Will someone please follow the money that's going to the Justice Department? I feel certain some of it it will be used to fund neighborhood spy programs. (COPS, for example)

That makes the settlement a win/win.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 45 weeks ago

catman306: Yeah, I wondered why the Justice Department should receive $4 billion and the victims only $2.5 billion. Just a bunch of damn overpaid lawyers. And like you will probably be used to spy on us.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 45 weeks ago

This is nothing more than the dreaded, "redistribution of wealth." We are actually taking working class people's properties, and taxpayer money (ie. working class people's money), and feeding it into a bunch of wealthy bankers without any checks and balances. (Pardon the pun.) This is a deliberate blatant con from the word go; and, when We the People become wise to it there is going to be hell to pay. Infinite greed raised to the level of maximum virtue at it's best. Oh, when the levee breaks from this overwhelming tide of greed...

dick44wasco's picture
dick44wasco 8 years 45 weeks ago

How much did CITI steal, 50 or more billion yet they only pay a $7 billion fine, looks like the cost of doing business isn't that high. Shouldn't the fine be all they stole plus an actual fine on top? With this there is no incentive to stop these practices and no one goes to jail. That what we get when Obama appoints a Wall Street lawyer as his AG, goes after pot smokers and poker players and lets Wall Street off with a very light slap on the wrist. Why couldn't we have Pap as AG?

BMetcalfe's picture
BMetcalfe 8 years 45 weeks ago

I'm sorry... WHY aren't ALL of those funds being split amongst the people who were so severly HARMED by the exploitations? NONE of it should go to anyone but the people who were hared, lost their homes, suffered terribly at the hands of the bank, and are now paying payments to make up for their losses. What doesn't the government and the taxation have to do with the losses we suffered by so very many???

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 8 years 45 weeks ago

Punishment is supposed to be PUNATIVE. If corporations (banks) are PEOPLE now; they should be subject to the SAME LAWS AND PUNISHMENTS as the REAL HUMANS. I don't get to write-off my fines. Why hasn't that lawsuit been brought forward--of course we know how the K-RATS in the Supreme Court will vote--why haven't those intellectual light-weights and corporate/political hacks been impeached yet? Clearly, they qualify under the Court rules and the Constitution--the document they swear to uphold, but have done nothing but piss on it.

Fines for today's business missdeeds are not punative enough and allow tax write-offs. These monies should be paid out of the personal salaries of the offenders and from stockholder dividends and NO tax write-offs allowed and no charging the CONSUMER.

This reminds me of a 1990s story in which a railroad committed a misdeed in Florida and was taken to court. The railroad was found guilty and fined, but THEY did not pay the fine--the US taxpayer paid the fine. So they walked away scott-free and were free to committ the misdeed in the future--why not? No PUNISHMENT--everything to gain--nothing to lose for them. REAL people should be so lucky.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 8 years 45 weeks ago

The wheels on the bus go round and round...

I haven't heard of any organized up-risings, with hundreds of thoudsands of protesters taking to the streets and marching on...Oh wait there was that brief moment of unorganized occupation on wall street that did spawn a 3 ring circus of chaos.
Now DANNEMARC, don't get me wrong, I was excited when I first heard about this movement, i even went to participate in one of the protests here in my town, which is about 90% right wing conservative, but unfortunatly my enthusiasm, not my ideals, dwindled after about 3 weeks when the movement refused to organize a leader.

So when YOU say - in a threatining tone "When the people become wise to it there will be hell to pay" I cannot help but laugh (sadly), and this is why; The majority of the 99% voted for OBAMA...(*)Out of fear! We the People will NEVER take back this corporate highjacked Government as long as we continue to remain unorganized and vote with our tail between our legs!

You wanna give these corporate swine "hell", then get organized, bring your own music to the dance, stop casting FEAR VOTES, and STOP VOTING FOR WALL STREET GROOMED CANDIDATES, (period)!

Empty threats never bring about positive change.

(*) Out of fear...Fear of what... Romney...Voting the black guy out!?!? The only thing different about Romney compared to Obama is the colour of his skin, and even that isn't to much of a difference! So instead of Robama we got Obamney, and Wall Street is okay with that.
(I am sure ALICE IN WONDERLAND will give me one of her loooooooong winded tongue lashings as to "how and why" we are better of with Obama as CEO of the UCA (United Corporations of America). I can't wait to hear this one. ;) )


MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 8 years 45 weeks ago

WHY!?!? You ask...

Because the government is owned and opperated by Wall Street (The Bank).

Let me ask you this...Who do you bank with? If you are not banking with a credit union or a small community bank you are just as much at fault, becasue not only are you having your money held by those that you condem (and they are evil), but also all those fees and charges they impose go right into their pockets.

Have a lovely day!

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 8 years 45 weeks ago

Now that is saying something profound!

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 8 years 45 weeks ago

If you wanna change the way the game is being played...STOP PLAYING "THEIR" GAME!!!

Boycott Wal-Mart!
Stop shopping there, stop working there, and stop investing into Wal-Mart.

Unfortunatly most Americans are too lazy, too dumb, and too selfish to sacrafice a little of themselves in order to...Oh wait I've gotta go watch American Idol...There is a commercial I wanna see for some new product that I just gotta have...It's supose to make life easier!

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 8 years 45 weeks ago

Yes indeed!

Funny how our justice system is soooooo heavy handed when it comes to interpeting legal statutes and dolling out punishment on individuals (real humans). Often times the punishment is Mandated and sever.
But if your a BIG CORPORATION its a completely different ball game...Corporations seem to be treated as if they have diplomatic immunity.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 8 years 45 weeks ago

North Dakota still operates under a State Bank...I knkow that's not close to going completely Social Democracy but...

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 45 weeks ago

MMmmNACHOS: I agree with most of what you have said but I shift a little on the subject of Walmart. I believe that a little reverse psychology might work better. Let's all only shop at Walmart and boycott all of the other little businesses that are most like Obamney and Robama. They are the ones who are in great number, who provides the largest voting population prone to voting against the best interests of the majority of the population. It is they who put pressure on their even greater base of employees, in total, than Walmart to vote against their best interests. Yes, Walmart is the largest single employer but compared to the total of all other businesses, they are a minority. Let's put the pressure on all those other businesses by only buying products and services from Walmart. Besides, their products are usually more inexpensive than their competitors.

Yes, Walmart is despicable in many ways but they are not despicable when it comes to their prices. And most of us do not have much of a choice anyway when it comes to price. We have to buy where the prices are the lowest. And, really, it's the smartest thing to do. Why pay more for something that you can get for less? The other merchants who compete with Walmart will just have to live with the monsters that they have created. Now, if they want to change the system, they can put the pressure on our politicians and legal system to make and enforce laws that will put the reins on the rapacious wolves who become too powerful and exploitative.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago

Nachos, I hate to disappoint ya honey, but you're getting no tongue lashings from me. I've learned my lesson about "fear votes" and agree with every word in your post. Next election, I'll vote for my favorite candidate. No more compromises!! And I also agree with your observations concerning Occupy's lack of leadership and structure. Whatever the ideology behind that decision, it had Occupy doomed from the start. We on the left need leadership and need to get our butts ORGANIZED or we're toast. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago

PD, I get your point about Walmart and the despicable voting habits of small business owners. But I haven't shopped at Walmart in close to a decade and I'm not about to change my ways. Their prices aren't that cheap anyway.

Small business owners are a bunch of idiots. They are against single-payer healthcare! I guess they like being in control of their (female) employees' healthcare for "religious" purposes.

Bottom line, my friends: Pick your poison! - Aliceinwonderland

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 8 years 45 weeks ago
#26 got me shifting too... [hold on while I swallow these shrooms...Okay I'm back]

Now I do get what you are saying about small business being just as much an issue, maybe even more so, as large corporations, i.e. Wal-Mart (as well as Target and the like), however I am not shifting because I agree with your "reverse pyscology" theory.
What we need is complete and utter break down (mass world chaos)...Like what George Carlon use to riff about.
"The System" is not broke..The system has is fine for how it was created; To opperate at "haywire"!!!
You cannot fix such a mess with rational thinking, no sir! You cannot try and be logical with those that are illogical.
What "We" need...What the world needs is complete chaos where EVERYTHING shuts down and pandamonium sets it. Who will be left? What will they do? Would they be able to revert back to using their primal brains as a way of survival, or will they continue to be zombies and just eat more brain until NOTHING is living???NOTHING!
But maybe there would be a chance for survival if a few of us - those not on the Right, the Left nor so trendy in the middle - just saw to it that the entire story of Mother Culture, and the Levers and the Takers was told. That too much to the Right or Left is not good. That YES you have to accept and allow for edd and flow...That you may be able to ignor reality, but you cannot ignor the consequences of dismissing reality, and that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

THe Ant Farm needs to purge itself otherwise it IS going to collaps.

small business, BIG business, Republican, Democrate, Organized Religion...Yadda Yadda Yadda!!! In "this System" it all feeds off itself.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 45 weeks ago

MMmmNACHOS ~ You'll get no argument from me either. Just wishfull thinking on my part. However, from what I've seen watching kids they will always push the limit until you spank them. They have an inert need to know where that limit is. Allowing these banksters and one percenters to skate free just emboldens and encourages them to rinse, lather and repeat. I can only assume that there must be a breaking point. If not then why militarize the police force? Why build internment camps all around the country? Finally, why generously hand over $5 Million of the fine revenue to the department of justice and only $2.5 Million toward "consumer relief"? Hmmm?

Regardless as to whether or not you or I think the people are capable of rising it is quite obvious, my friend, that our Government thinks they are. It's spanking time.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 45 weeks ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:Their prices aren't that cheap anyway.
That's true...some prices are cheaper and others may not be...shoppers have got to watch the prices and compare them with other merchants.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 45 weeks ago

MMmmNACHOS: Have you been shopping on the Darknet again? ;-} People can buy anything they want, pretty much, on the Darknet. With bitcoin and a post office box with a fake name some people are buying all kinds of recreational things.

I whipped out my Tails live thumb drive and went to the Darknet using TOR to hide my trail and identity and saw all kinds of illegal drugs for sale. I'm not into illegal drugs, myself, so I have no desire to buy any.

White Rabbit!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 45 weeks ago

Well said, DAnneMarc, I agree!!!

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 8 years 45 weeks ago

Oooooo DANNEMARC, what fun!!!Let me get my braided leather flogger and Wooden Paddle...I like to Discipline and set the misguided and corupt straight! What is even more exciting is that we can also use some of that reverse psycology PALENDROMEDARY mentioned earlier. Maybe some Behaviour Modification (Positive and Negative re-enforcement methods)???Hmmm this could get really amusing...A Hunter S. Thompson kind of amusing.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 8 years 45 weeks ago

Oh White Rabbit...Please, guide the waaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 45 weeks ago

It's down the rabbit pill make you larger and one pill makes you small....Go ask Alice...;-} or the Cheshire Cat...and speaking of with their heads.

I wonder what the Reverend Charles Dodgson was smoking when he thought of the Cheshire Cat? Gotta watch those Reverends...right Jimmy?

I've seen a couple of version of movies of Alice In Wonderland over the years. Some were very wild indeed!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 45 weeks ago

Guys! ~ Why don't you just Go ask Alice... I think she'll know. Remember, what the door mouse said, "FEED YOUR HEAD!! FEED YOUR HEAD!!"

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago

You ring? - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 45 weeks ago


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 45 weeks ago

Feed your head...doesn't that mean educate yourself?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 45 weeks ago
Quote Palindromedary:Feed your head...doesn't that mean educate yourself?

Palindromedary ~ Musical lyrics are a form of art. As such, they are completely open to the interpretation of the listener. That being said, the answer to your question I believe would be, "Yes!"

I'm certain that was exactly what the "Door Mouse" meant.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 8 years 45 weeks ago


Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 45 weeks ago

The hookah smokin' caterpillar had that "Feed your head" thing down!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 45 weeks ago

FEED YOU HEAD ~ Grateful Dead style ~ "The Voice of a Great Thunder" ~,28804,2028282_2028286_2028333,00.html

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