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Monday, 22 December 2014

Where's the outrage? Congress changes savings accounts and retirement funds, and America sleeps

The Guardian

Congress has passed, and President Obama has said he would sign, a budget bill that allows banks to use your savings when they make giant financial bets called derivatives. Again. And because those savings are insured by the federal government, you, the taxpayer, would be on the hook if those bets go south. Again. This isn’t arcane financial stuff we can ignore. These are the exact financial mechanisms that led to the global crisis just six (short!) years ago

The Dodd-Frank reform law that was passed in the wake of that crisis forbade this from ever happening. People in the personal finance field love to talk about how if we could just get more Americans to save, if we could just get more Americans to learn the basics of the stock market, if we could just convince Americans to forego that latte at Starbucks, if we could just put Americans on a budget, then things would be OK. But how is any of that supposed to work when banks can use people’s savings to play the roulette wheel that is the stock market – and then when they lose, they just order another cup of coffee and use the federal budget to make sure that the losses fall not on them but on the people who just tried to save a little money in the first place? This one is only on workers if they say nothing and fail to educate themselves on what is being plundered from their futures. The powers that be are counting on you not to pay attention, or to feel so impotent that you just give up.

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