Bank of America: Too Crooked to Fail

by on March 19, 2012 · 7 comments

in American Empire, Culture, Economy, Popular

Demonstrators outside a Bank of America branch in downtown San Diego, November 11, 2011.

By Matt Taibbi / Rolling Stone – RSN / Originally published March 16, 2012

At  least Bank of America got its name right. The ultimate Too Big to Fail bank really is America, a hypergluttonous ward of the state whose limitless fraud and criminal conspiracies we’ll all be paying for until the end of time. Did you hear about the plot to rig global interest rates? The $137 million fine for bilking needy schools and cities? The ingenious plan to suck multiple fees out of the unemployment checks of jobless workers?

Take your eyes off them for 10 seconds and guaranteed, they’ll be into some shit again: This bank is like the world’s worst-behaved teenager, taking your car and running over kittens and fire hydrants on the way to Vegas for the weekend, maxing out your credit cards in the three days you spend at your aunt’s funeral. They’re out of control, yet they’ll never do time or go out of business, because the government remains creepily committed to their survival, like overindulgent parents who refuse to believe their 40-year-old live-at-home son could possibly be responsible for those dead hookers in the backyard.

Protest signs taped to front window of Bank of America branch on B Street in downtown San Diego.

It’s been four years since the government, in the name of preventing a depression, saved this megabank from ruin by pumping $45 billion of taxpayer money into its arm. Since then, the Obama administration has looked the other way as the bank committed an astonishing variety of crimes – some elaborate and brilliant in their conception, some so crude that they’d be beneath your average street thug.

Bank of America has systematically ripped off almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, depositors, homeowners, shareholders, pensioners and taxpayers. It brought tens of thousands of Americans to foreclosure court using bogus, “robo-signed” evidence – a type of mass perjury that it helped pioneer. It hawked worthless mortgages to dozens of unions and state pension funds, draining them of hundreds of millions in value. And when it wasn’t ripping off workers and pensioners, it was helping to push insurance giants like AMBAC into bankruptcy by fraudulently inducing them to spend hundreds of millions insuring those same worthless mortgages.

But despite being the very definition of an unaccountable corporate villain, Bank of America is now bigger and more dangerous than ever. It controls more than 12 percent of America’s bank deposits (skirting a federal law designed to prohibit any firm from controlling more than 10 percent), as well as 17 percent of all American home mortgages. By looking the other way and rewarding the bank’s bad behavior with a massive government bailout, we actually allowed a huge financial company to not just grow so big that its collapse would imperil the whole economy, but to get away with any and all crimes it might commit. Too Big to Fail is one thing; it’s also far too corrupt to survive.

All the government bailouts succeeded in doing was to make the bank even more prone to catastrophic failure – and now that catastrophe might finally be at hand. Bank of America’s share price has plunged into the single digits, and the bank faces battles in courtrooms all over America to avoid paying back the hundreds of billions it stole from everyone in sight. Its credit rating, already downgraded to a few rungs above junk status, could plummet with the next bad analyst report, causing a frenzied rush to the exits by creditors, investors and stockholders – an institutional run on the bank.

For the remainder of this lengthy article, please go here.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Marisa March 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Excellent article.

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avatar Jack March 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm

It reads as if written by the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson…

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avatar Andy Cohen March 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Gotta love Matt Taibbi. He goes for the jugular every time.

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avatar unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG March 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Yea, we’ve got to stop giving the govorporation our money. Think of ways to stop giving them money. When one is self-employed, it’s a matter of making the black & white look right. File on April 15th & let them work like dogs for the next couple of months. Someone, somewhere must have a cache of ideas on how to stump the govorporation. The criminals run rampant.

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avatar mr.rick March 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm

The law says you are required to file taxes, but it don’t say you have to pay. If you owe them money you are always subject to collections. Any time you try to open a bank account you have to deal with an IRS freeze on you’re money. Or if you work and any money comes out of your check for taxes,you get a letter saying “Tough Luck”.You miss out on all the stimulus checks “W” was so famous for. Also if you apply for Earned Income Credit, that you don’t get either. They might get the money off of one checks worth of withholding but you can claim exempt.When they froze my bank account of $100, I called the IRS and plead poverty and she took the freeze off. Just don’t lie about your case. After 15 or 20 years you might get it paid. All that money mentioned above will go towards what ever you owe. Don’t buy a house.

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avatar RB March 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

Most of Bank of America’s problems came from the acquisition of Countrywide Financial.
And the Federal Reserve had a hand in dumping Countrywide and its problems on BOA.

http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/12/21/look-at-how-much-countrywide-has-cost-bank-of-america/

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avatar Anonymous March 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm

RB, go back and read Taibbi’s ENTIRE article and keep your short-sighted theories off the internet, there’s enough BS as it is. People like Taibbi spend almost all their waking moments investigating these crooks while the WSJ simply regurgitates the stories that benefit the rotten motives of it’s namesake i.e. the Wall Street pig pit.

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