Are bankers now setting up the crash of 2016? – Thom Hartmann
Conservative lawmakers overreact to progressive American changes — pushing the economy toward another crash.
As the great Yogi Berra once said, “it’s déjà vu all over again.” Right now, millions of Americans are still struggling to recover from the 2008 financial collapse. That collapse was fueled by the housing crisis, when Wall Street banksters were running around betting on risky mortgage-backed securities that they could sell to investors and make billions from.
They were able to do that because the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act had blown up rational banking regulations, and, as a result, we saw things like the so-called mortgage “liar loans”. Banksters were able to turn billions of dollars in risky mortgages into trillions of dollars in derivatives. And then everything went to hell.
Fast forward to today, and because of Dodd-Frank there are no more “liar loans.” Banksters can’t run the same scam as they did during the housing crisis. So, they’ve found a new way to come up with real-estate-backed securities that can be turned into derivatives, worth billions in profits. How? They’ve become landlords.
As Marilyn Volan points out over at TomDispatch, in the past year and a half, banksters in Wall Street hedge funds, big banks and private equity firms have purchased hundreds of thousands of mostly-foreclosed houses across the country. Among the firms and big banks buying up America’s real estate is the Blackstone Group, the largest private equity firm in the world. The Blackstone Group alone has bought nearly 40,000 houses across America, spending $7.5 billion in the process.
Blackstone, for example, bought 1,400 homes in Atlanta in one day, and owns nearly 2,000 houses in the Charlotte, North Carolina metro area. So why are Blackstone and other Wall Street firms buying up foreclosed homes all across the country? It’s simple. By renting these homes back to Americans, and securitizing America’s home-rental market, they can bundle up rental payments the same way they used to bundle mortgage payments, and sell them to investors. Sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? Blackstone alone has partnered with several of America’s largest banks, to bundle the rental payments of over 3,000 homes. And they’re just getting started. Last month, Blackstone released the first-ever rated bond completely backed by securitized rental payments, and, sure enough, investors rushed to get in on the action.
When this latest get-rich-quick scheme by Wall Street blows up, the big banks and financial institutions will be just fine, like they were in the aftermath of 2008. Because they leverage these things so much, they have very little skin in the game. Instead, you and I will again face the consequences of their actions.
Thousands of Americans will again find themselves on the streets, looking for a place to call home, and our economy will be shattered. We could see a housing and financial collapse that makes the Great Recession look mild. This is something I talk about in my new book, “The Crash of 2016.”
The basic premise of my book is that conservative lawmakers overreacted to the progressive changes in America that took place in the 1960s and 70s. That overreaction, which included massive deregulation and tax cuts, opened the door for predators – particularly predatory banksters – to step in and wreak havoc on our economy.
And, as we see with Wall Street’s new efforts to turn rental homes into cash- cows, that door hasn’t been closed.
The predators are again up to their old tricks. Nothing has changed. Elizabeth Warren was right when she said that the system is rigged. And if we don’t unrig the system quickly, we’re going to see another disaster very, very soon.
Source: This article first appeared on December 3, 2013 in Truthout
Thom Hartmann is an author and nationally syndicated daily talk show host. His newest book is “The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America — and What We Can Do to Stop It.”