The Grand Larceny of Bank(er) Robbery

Exciting news from Wall Street: Our wealth markets are booming!

Everything from the Dow Jones Average to gold prices are rocketing to new records, showering us with wealth from above. Oh… wait. Maybe you’re one of the big majority of workaday Americans who don’t own stocks or gold, so maybe you’re not celebrating Wall Street’s big boom. But just chill, because conventional corporate wisdom assures us that the wealthy will invest their good fortunes in enterprises that eventually will produce trickle-down gains for everyone.

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Excuse my rudeness, but let’s take a peek at how those who’re reaping today’s big-buck bonanza are actually investing that wealth. Look at Wall Streeters themselves. The big banks have been making money like… well, like bankers, with their stock prices zooming up by 28 percent just since January. So, how are these moneyed elites spending this windfall? Not by making job-creating investments, but by simply giving the money to their big shareholders, including their own top executives – nearly all of whom are already among the richest people on Earth.

The main way they do this is through a slight-of-hand called a “stock buyback.” The honchos simply cash out the bulk of that 28 percent increase in the value of the banks’ stock price, using that money to repurchase more of their banks’ own stock from lesser shareholders. Hocus-pocus, this manipulation artificially pumps-up the value of the stock these insider shareholders already own – making each of them even richer than rich, although they’ve done absolutely nothing to earn this increased wealth.

It’s not a small scam. JPMorgan Chase is now sinking $30 billion into buying its own stock. Wells Fargo is shifting $18 billion into the scheme, and Bank of America is throwing $25 billion into its buyback. Hello – Wall Street bankers are the biggest robbers in America.

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