By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 19, 2020 ~
If there has been any positive outcome from the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been that the American people are beginning to take a cold, hard look at how the U.S. economy has been engineered as a vast wealth transfer system for the one percent.
We have peeled back the dark curtain further today on how the Federal Reserve has been structured as an unlimited money spigot to enrich that one percent as it privatizes profits for the criminally-inclined Wall Street titans and socializes the losses to the law-abiding 99 percent of hardworking Americans.
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors consists of seven individuals appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As of today, only five of those Governor seats have been filled. As of last Wednesday, these five unelected individuals were overseeing a balance sheet of $6.98 trillion at the Federal Reserve, which is 28 percent of the $25.3 trillion federal government debt that is overseen by 100 elected Senators and 435 elected members of the House of Representatives.
Over just the past year, those five unelected Fed Governors have grown the Fed’s balance sheet by $3 trillion in order to bail out bad bets on Wall Street.
The $6.98 trillion balance sheet at the Fed is created out of thin air at the electronic push of a button by the 12 regional Fed banks. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (New York Fed) has been pushing that money-creating-button more than all of the other 11 regional Fed banks combined. As of last Wednesday, the New York Fed’s balance sheet stood at $3.9 trillion or 56 percent of the balance sheet tally for all 12 regional Fed banks.
Why has the New York Fed run up such a monster balance sheet? It’s because the New York Fed is privately-owned by some of the largest, most dangerous banks in America which, since 2008, have been habitually propped up by cheap money from the New York Fed. Those mega banks include JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
If the New York Fed is privately owned by the member banks in its region (as are all of the 12 regional Fed banks) and has run up a $3.9 trillion balance sheet, its share owners should be on the hook for its liabilities, correct?
This is where another of those rarely discussed structural wealth transfer mechanisms for the one percent comes in. If the Fed and its rapidly growing $6.98 trillion balance sheet blows up, the U.S. taxpayer will be on the hook for 98 percent of the losses.
Buried in the financial statements of the 12 regional Fed banks is this statement:
“The Federal Reserve Act requires that each member bank subscribe to the capital stock of the Reserve Bank in an amount equal to 6 percent of the capital and surplus of the member bank. These shares are nonvoting, with a par value of $100, and may not be transferred or hypothecated. As a member bank’s capital and surplus changes, its holdings of Reserve Bank stock must be adjusted. Currently, only one-half of the subscription is paid in, and the remainder is subject to call. A member bank is liable for Reserve Bank liabilities up to twice the par value of stock subscribed by it.”
We obtained the share totals for each of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks. Those share totals are listed on the individual financial statements located here. We multiplied the share totals by their $100 par value, and then as the above indicates, multiplied that total by 2. The shocking news is this: the mega banks that own the New York Fed are only responsible for $42.6 billion of its liabilities, despite the fact that those liabilities total $3.9 trillion.
When we did the math for all 12 regional Fed banks, the bank share owners were responsible for just 1.8 percent of the $6.98 trillion in liabilities that the Federal Reserve has created with the flick of an electronic button. In other words, an institution controlled by five unelected people, with the insane power to create money out of thin air by pushing an electronic button, have put taxpayers (and the next generation) on the hook for $6.85 trillion.
Today, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will appear before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. We’ll let you know tomorrow if any of our elected representatives asked him the hard questions that need to be asked.