A Time to Reflect

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a nationally acclaimed author and political analyst. His December 17th article appeared in OpEdNews, and is worth a reprint.

“Time Magazine’s Person of The Year Joke” is how he began.

“Time Magazine’s editors got a jump on April Fool’s Day when they named Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke its Person of the Year. Here’s what Bernanke did since he took over the Fed in 2006 to earn the laughable award. He winked and nodded at the fraudulent AIG, JPM, and Bear Stearns bailout without demanding compensation to the treasury (taxpayers) in return for the giveaway billions. He looked away as the banks and financial houses went on a free wheel orgy in trading risky and ultimately hollow derivatives.

“He winked and nodded again when Goldman Sachs did its own deft shuffle and transformed itself from an investment bank into a bank holding company. The result: Goldman got FDIC coverage for a nearly $ 30 billion loan. Bernanke said nothing when Goldman played fast and loose speculation with the money. This obliterated any semblance of the firewall between commercial and investment banking.

“Bernanke winked and nodded yet again at the massive bait and switch sub prime lending scams. This was the tipping point that plunged the economy into the current faux 1930s Depression spiral. The estimate is that Bernanke’s Rip Van Winkle sleep-at-the-wheel nod-off to Wall Street will cost every American family tens of thousands in lost wages, income, assets and productivity in the coming years. Bernanke has thumbed his nose at the tepid, and scattered protest from some in Congress to provide transparency on how and to whom the Fed shelled out trillions through the Fed’s special lending programs.

“Bernanke provided absolutely no hard target regulatory oversight over the failed and flawed Wall Street banks and financial houses. Even as he faces a rough day on Capitol Hill when his confirmation hearing comes up, he still hasn’t said what he’ll do to end Wall Street’s casino play of public monies.

“Bernanke screamed wolf as loud and long as Former Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson did last year that Wall Street and the big banks would collapse without an immediate dump of billions to them. He finally badgered and hectored a scared stiff Congress into plowing the cash into the coffers of Wall Street under alleged pain of financial Armageddon. And then he did not utter a peep of protest when Wall Street took the money and continued to outrageously fatten the bank accounts of their motley crew of greedy, incompetent and inept executive horse traders who brought the very banks and financial houses Bernanke shouted were too-big-to-fail to near financial shambles. He did not breathe a whisper to the big bankers after they grabbed the cash that they must open the lending spigot to at-risk home owners, needy small businesses, and industry in return for their ill-gotten taxpayer gain.

“Time’s rationale for dumping its award on Bernanke is that he was the Churchill of America’s financial system. He saved it from collapse. This is Tooth Fairy tale stuff. Bernanke didn’t save a system from collapse. He saved a handful of flopped banks and financial houses that engaged in Las Vegas style roulette stock spins, swaps and game playing with investor and public monies from a crisis that he and they helped create.

“He did it by tossing billions of free money taxpayer dollars at them. If Time really wanted to do its Person of the Year joke right it should have given its award to swindle king Bernie Madoff. But then again maybe that wouldn’t have been much of a joke either since Bernie’s scams cost rooked investors billions. Bernanke’s cost taxpayers trillions.”

Yes. Trillions. Most of us forget that just last fall Bernanke’s Federal Reserve pumped some $ 630 billion into the global financial system, flooding banks with cash to alleviate the worst banking crisis since the Great Depression. That was followed by the more recent $ 787 billion bailout earlier this year. And the total pledged with our (taxpayer) money? More than $ 20 trillion. That kind of an obligation will never be paid off by downtrodden taxpayers, but the greedy elite remain unconcerned.

This commentary, Article 37, will be posted on Christmas Day. Christians everywhere recognize the generosity that prevails on that special day. Those greedy elite mentioned above, however? Most of them are Christians, sorry to say, whose early lessons came from God-fearing parents, as well as from many historical figures of the early Church whose admonitions are no longer heeded.

St. Basil, in the 4th century, especially comes to mind: “They say: Whom do I wrong by keeping my property? What, tell me, is your property? Where did you find it and brought it to your life? Just like someone in the theater, who had a seat and then stopped those who entered, judging that what lies common for everyone to use, was his own: rich men are of the same kind. They first took possession of the common property, and then they keep it as their own because they were the first to take it. If one had taken what was necessary to cover one’s needs and had left the rest to those who are in need, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, no one would be in need.

“Isn’t it true, that you fell off the womb naked? Isn’t it true, that naked you shall return to the earth? Where is your present property from? If you think that it came to you by itself, you don’t believe in God, you don’t acknowledge the Creator, and you are not thankful to Him Who gave it to you. But if you agree and confess that you have it from God, tell us the reason why He gave it to you. Who is the greedy person? It’s him who doesn’t content himself with what he has. And who strips? He who steals what belongs to the others. And you think you are not greedy, and that you do not strip the others? What was granted to you, in order for you to take care of the others, you took it and made it your own. He who strips the clothed is to be called a thief. How should we name him, who is able to dress the naked and doesn’t do it? Does he deserve some other name?

“The bread that you possess belongs to the hungry. The clothes that you store in boxes, belong to the naked. The shoes rotting by you, belong to the bare-foot. The money that you hide belongs to anyone in need. You wrong as many people as you were able to help.”

[We wish you a happy and holy Christmas.]