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Fraud*
According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage".[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

What is Good for Goldman Sachs is Bad for Americans

William K. Black discusses austerity and the social safety net in the US and the concept of The Third Way.  Why would Goldman Sachs be interested in promoting austerity and in getting rid of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?  That safety net allows Americans "to lead lives that are vastly more productive and enjoyable."  

Black says that Wall Street's claim of saving the safety net by making it more affordable is really just an excuse to get rid of its public purpose. Once government services are reduced, they can be transformed by privatization.  After the safety net is privatized, Wall Street could charge billions of fees annually for administering the privatized program. The banks who administer the privatized program would gain the backing of government because the government would never allow Americans to lose their retirement savings.  The banks would then become even more "systemically dangerous institutions."

The banks want to extend their bailout guarantees to include a (future) privatized social security where profits would be theirs and losses would belong to the taxpayers.  Does that not sound familiar?

The driver for this change is called The Third Way which "refers to various political positions which try to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of center-right economic and center-left social policies.[1"  The Third Way is seen as a betrayal of left-wing values.

Wall Street urges Obama to commit the Great Betrayal
By William K. Black - New Economic Perspectives
. . . .
The NYT’s Bill Keller authored a column (“The Entitled Generation”) on July 29, 2012.  He excoriated baby boomers based on a study specially given to him in advance by Third Way.  Here is how he described this organization run by Wall Street for Wall Street.  “This brings me to a soon-to-be released study by the incorrigible pragmatists at Third Way, the centrist Democratic think tank.”

Keller proceeds to accept, with no demonstration of even the feeblest effort at critical analysis, Wall Street’s position as gospel.  Remember, he is doing this in 2012, during an epidemic of fraud and failed models when every week brings the disclosure of a new scandal by our most elite financial institutions, including those that direct the Third Way.  Keller implies that he has to accept Wall Street’s numbers because they are “arithmetic.”  Keller must have amnesia about the entire financial crisis, which demonstrated that Wall Street’s “arithmetic” consisted of maximizing fictional accounting income through the famous four-ingredient fraud “recipe.”  That recipe produces massively inflated asset values, fictional income, real bonuses, and catastrophic losses.  Each of these results is a “sure thing.”  Nobody does arithmetic worse than Wall Street.

Third Way is “centrist” on matters that involve Wall Street’s compensation only if Keller subscribes to the view that “what’s good for Goldman Sachs is good for America.”  Keller fails to inform his readers that the Third Way is a creature of Wall Street and that the anti-safety net policies it is lobbying for would be worth hundreds of billions of dollars in increased profits (plus SDI status and even greater political dominance) to the Wall Street firms that dictate Third Way’s policies.  Third Way is also a “think tank” only if one views Goldman Sachs’ reports as coming from a “think tank.”  Keller then demonstrated why he didn’t believe his readers should learn that Third Way was a creature of Wall Street.  He was already afraid that his readers would reject his swallowing the Third Way report’s claims hook, line, and sinker.

Read all of Black's thesis here 

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