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“At The Mercy Of The Banks”: Trump Owes At Least $100 Million To Bank That Tried To Skirt Dodd-Frank

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has taken out 16 loans from 11 different lenders, totaling at least $335 million, according to a Mother Jones analysis of Trump’s financial disclosure form.

His favorite lender, according to the forms, was Deutsche Bank, a major German institution with American subsidiaries that attempted to dodge new regulations instituted by the Dodd-Frank Act.

Deutsche Bank lent Trump at least $295 million between two major projects of his, Trump National Doral golf course and Trump’s hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. Trump also has two outstanding loans worth at least $50 million from the German bank.

While this country has had wealthy presidents, none have been so deeply in debt as Trump. How much pressure could an institution like Deutsche Bank, upon which a sizable portion of Trump’s wealth is dependent, pile on the Republican nominee should he become president?

“They weren’t in a situation where someone could put pressure on them to do what they want,” said Richard Painter, who was the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, to Mother Jones. “Whereas having a president who owes a lot of money to banks, particularly when it’s on negotiable terms—it puts them at the mercy of the banks and the banks are at the mercy of regulators.”

The industry Trump made his name, and wealth, in further added to the problem. “In real estate, the prevailing business model is to own a lot but also owe a lot, and that is a potentially very troublesome business model for someone in public office,” said Painter.

Recall that Trump has also promised to repeal Dodd-Frank, calling it “a very negative force, which has developed a very bad name.” But asides from the pantomimed denunciations of legislation reining in the excesses of the very banking practices that led to the 2008 global economic crash, Trump has revealed little of what he would replace Dodd-Frank with, if anything. Nevertheless, his creditors are likely pleased by his proposed anti-legislation.

Following the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, Deutsche Bank tried to skirt the new regulations set up by the act. The bank rewrote its corporate structure to make it less American, thus avoiding having to inject up to $20 billion worth of capital, a regulatory requirement to avoid a repeat of the 2008 collapse.

The stricter regulations also placed limits on how easily a subsidiary of a foreign bank could invest and how much risk it could take on. The point of the stricter rules was to avoid another multi-trillion dollar taxpayer-funded bailout. But such regulations would require the raising of billions of dollars and authorizing new shares, which would cut into profits, Wall Street’s obsessive pursuit.

Trump’s biggest single creditor has already been fined for engaging in illegal activities. Last year, Deutsche Bank was fined $2.5 billion for rigging interest rates in the U.S. and abroad. “Deutsche Bank employees engaged in a widespread effort to manipulate benchmark interest rates for financial gain,” said New York State Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky in a statement at the time.

“While a number of the employees involved in misconduct have already left the bank, those that remain are being terminated or banned from the New York banking system. We must remember that markets do not just manipulate themselves: It takes deliberate wrongdoing by individuals.”

On top of being ordered to pay a $2.5 billion fine, Deutsche Bank was ordered to fire seven employees who played a role in manipulating interest rates. The bank was judged even more harshly in the UK, where its Financial Conduct Authority determined that 29 Deutsche Bank employees were involved in the misconduct.

“This wasn’t limited to a few individuals but, on certain desks, it appeared deeply ingrained,” said Georgina Philippou, the agency’s acting director of enforcement and market oversight, in a statement. “Deutsche Bank’s failings were compounded by them repeatedly misleading us. The bank took far too long to produce vital documents and it moved far too slowly to fix relevant systems and controls.”

Given that sort of company, Trump has a clear conflict of interest in any banking “reforms” he says he would pursue.


By: Saif Alnuweiri , The National Memo, June 1, 2016

June 2, 2016 Posted by | Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, Global Financial Crisis | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Why Our Schools Are Segregated”: There Is Little Support For Aggressive Policies To Integrate Metropolitan Areas

In the May issue of Educational Leadership, I attempt to show how our misunderstanding of the origins of racial segregation stands in the way of efforts to narrow the black-white academic achievement gap.

Socially and economically disadvantaged children perform, on average, at lower levels of achievement than advantaged children. The achievement gap primarily results from disadvantaged children coming to school unprepared to take advantage of what schools have to offer, not primarily from inadequate teachers or schools. Children who come to school from households with poor literacy levels, who are in poor health, whose housing is unstable, whose parents are suffering the stress of unemployment, and who are themselves stressed as well in neighborhoods with high levels of crime and violence, cannot be expected to achieve, on average, as well as middle class children, even if all have high quality instruction.

Disadvantaged children’s obstacles to achievement are exacerbated when these children are concentrated in racially and economically homogeneous and isolated schools. Meaningful narrowing of the achievement gap will not be possible without breaking down these barriers and integrating black children into middle-class schools.

Otherwise informed opinion accepts that school segregation is “de facto” because schools are located in segregated neighborhoods, and that residential segregation today is also mostly “de facto,” the result of personal choices, financial means, or demographic changes.

Partly from this conviction, there is little support for aggressive policies, including race-conscious ones, to integrate metropolitan areas, a necessary precondition for meaningful school integration. The Supreme Court’s view, expressed in the Louisville-Seattle school integration case (“Parents Involved,” 2007), that there is no constitutionally mandated remedy for existing (“de facto”) segregation is also widely accepted.

Yet most Americans have forgotten that residential racial segregation, North and South, was created and perpetuated by, and continues to exist today because of, racially motivated and racially explicit federal, state and local banking regulation, mortgage guarantee, public housing, law enforcement, planning and zoning, highway and school construction, urban renewal and other policies that succeeded in their purpose of creating racially segregated metropolises. The racial segregation of major urban areas today offends the Constitution.

Familiarizing Americans with the history of state-sponsored segregation is necessary before support will be possible for policies to undo that segregation.


By: Richard Rothstein, Economic Policy Institute, June 10, 2013

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Racism, Segregation | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Assaulted, Victimized And Wounded”: It’s Hard Out There For A Billionaire

Is there a group of people you can think of who have thinner skin than America’s multi-millionaires and billionaires? Wall Street titans have been whining for a couple of years now about the horror of people in politics criticizing ineffective banking regulations and the favorable tax treatment so many wealthy people receive (you may remember the time when hedge fund billionaire Steven Schwarzman said that President Obama suggesting that we eliminate the “carried interest loophole,” which allows hedge fund managers to pay taxes at only the 15 percent capital gains rate instead of standard income tax rates, was “like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939”). America’s barons feel assaulted, victimized, wounded in ways that not even a bracing ride to your Hamptons estate in your new Porsche 911 can salve. And now that the presidential campaign is in full swing, their tender feelings are being hurt left and right.

David Weigel points us to this remarkable video, in which someone at the Heritage Foundation interviews an aggrieved Frank VanderSloot, an ordinary businessman whose “life changed forever” when “President Obama’s campaign included his name, and seven others, on an enemies list” because he donated to a pro-Romney superPAC. And what was VanderSloot subjected to, once he was placed on this “enemies list”? Harassment from government officials? IRS audits? Baseless prosecutions? National Park Police pulling him over, smashing one of his taillights, then giving him a ticket for having a broken taillight? Well, no. But it is true that he was mentioned on an Obama campaign web site as a major donor to a Romney superPAC. That’s the “enemies list.” As far as we can tell, no actual government action was taken against him, though he did lose some customers when people found out about his political activities. The entire part of the post concerning VanderSloot reads as follows:

Frank Vandersloot: Frank Vandersloot is the national finance co-chairman of the Romney campaign and, through his company Melaleuca, has donated $1 million to Restore Our Future. He is also a “litigious, combative, and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement” who “spent big” on ads in an “ultimately unsuccessful effort to force Idaho Public Television to cancel a program that showed gays and lesbians in a favorable light to school children.”

Shield your eyes from the brutal government oppression!

The quotes come from this Mother Jones article about VanderSloot, his political activities, and his company, a “multi-level marketing” firm that sells supplements and cleaning products. You can argue that the “multi-level marketing” industry is basically made up of con artists who make money by roping gullible people into pyramid schemes and convincing them they’ll make riches without actually working. I don’t know enough about VanderSloot’s company to say if this is an accurate picture of what it does. But what’s critical is that the Obama campaign never criticized VanderSloot’s business practices, or attacked him for being rich. The paragraph they put on their web site about VanderSloot concerned his involvement in politics.

Frank VanderSloot has a lot of money, and has decided to use some of that money to engage in politics, both in his home state and nationally, by doing things like taking out ads about issues that concern him in newspapers and on billboards, and investing heavily in the candidacy of Mitt Romney, whom he’d like to see become president. Which is fine. I’d prefer a system in which it wouldn’t be legal for multi-millionaires to buy presidential candidates, but in America today it is legal. But the whining we get from them is just unbelievable. These guys all seem to think that they are the personal embodiment of the wonder of free enterprise, and if anybody ever criticizes them for their political activities, it can only mean that economic freedom itself is under vicious assault. “We don’t hear about the American Dream anymore, do we? It’s almost a bad thing. It’s almost evil if you become successful in America today,” VanderSloot says in the video. “The whole principle of people getting out there and producing jobs for folks, we ought to go back to knowing that’s a good thing as opposed to believing it’s not.”

I’ve got a deal for Mr. Vandersloot. I’m only an underpaid political writer, but I hereby declare that I will give him one billion dollars if he can show me a time when that committed socialist Barack Obama ever said that “people getting out there and producing jobs for folks” is a bad thing.

I find VanderSloot’s whining particularly grating because as a political writer, I get attacked all the time. People say that I’m wrong, people say that I’m an idiot and a jerk, I get plenty of hate mail, and I’ve even gotten some threats. The latter are a bit unsettling, but as for everything else, it comes with the territory. Like giving a million dollars to a super PAC, writing about politics is a choice, and if you can’t tolerate anybody disagreeing with you, or even calling you names from time to time, you shouldn’t do either one. What VanderSloot obviously wants is a situation in which he can put millions of dollars into influencing the course of elections and policy debates, but nobody ever criticizes him for it. Well, that’s just not how things work in a democracy.

Speaking of one billion dollars, that’s the amount that wealthy people and corporations are planning to spend this fall to make sure that Mitt Romney is the next president. It’s a good investment on their part–just think of all the goodies a Romney administration could shower on America’s beleaguered and oppressed wealthy.


By: Paul Waldman, The American Prospect, May 30, 2012

June 1, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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