We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Who are the bond holders we are bailing out?

by David Malone from Golem XIV
The IMF and the European Central Bank want to "rescue" Irish banks by having the Irish government take on more of their loans in order to bail out the banks. Such loans always result in more pressure from the IMF and the ECB to raise more taxes, cut public spending, sell off government property, etc. in order to pay off the loans.

This author from the UK has delved into who the creditors are that own the current debts of the Irish banks that are in danger of defaulting. 
It is worth knowing who they are because the Irish government has said more than once that one of the reasons the bond holders had to be protected and could not, must not, be made to suffer any losses, even though it would be PERFECTLY legal to do so, is because the bond holders are pension funds for poor Irish widows and cooperative savings funds for orphans and 'ordinary folk'.  A little poetic exaggeration there, but only a little.
It is rare that anyone has looked into who the creditors are that own all the debts that is owed by US citizens for the various levels of governments consisting of cities, States, and the US government. For the latter I've found an interesting chart from 2008 data that shows that about half is owed to the Federal Reserve which is owned by private banks who, in turn, are owned mostly by the wealthy 1% of Americans.