US has $2 trillion sitting in banks - it needs to be invested or we risk a new depression


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/01/us-has-2-trillion-sitting-in.html


#2

maybe this is what is needed to change things up. It would be devastating, but it force everyone to rethink this “greed is good” crap we have now.

And if the US goes under science wise, other countries will step in to take up the slack.


#3

The FDR government made it easy for banks to invest in high-risk industries

Isn’t that what caused the last 18 economic collapses?


#4

Does money really “sit in a bank” ? Isn’t the whole idea that you give your money to a bank to get it back later with interest, while the bank loans that money out and charges interest on the loan?


#5

For you and me, yes, banks loan our personal savings out and we get interest for storing our money in the bank.

I don’t mean to tell you anything you don’t already know, but the wealthiest individuals and corporations store all their money in foreign tax havens, or just sit on it. As of a couple years ago, Apple for instance was infamously reported to have more cash on hand than the US Government. They have nothing to do with it, no incentive to invest.

I’d go a step further than Mark suggests though. He paints a picture where you have an option to get private companies to invest via tax breaks and insurance or COMMUNISM. In reality I think the logic he set up is not really correct.

The biggest untapped industry is arguably clean energy. In this case there is no more science to be done. The science is done. The next step is immense infrastructure spending. The US government can’t and won’t do it because the fossil fuel industry is too powerful. The fossil fuel industry won’t do it because, duh. It would take something far more forceful than tax breaks and insurance to get them to invest in a clean energy infrastructure.

Personally I’d be happy with the strongman approach. Take money from the wealthiest companies and the 1%, but don’t go full on commie, just use those taxes to fund the infrastructure. I’d even be fine with the US building a huge clean energy infrastructure then privatizing it as part of a highly regulated clean energy industry. Win win?


#6

Yes. Yes it is.


#7

See: historically low interest rates.


#8

No “if” about it, this has been an ever-growing problem for nearly 20 years now!


#9

I happen to be in a position to know that this is changing. The old oil barrons are starting to move money towards renewables simply as a wise investment and their progeny are doing the same to a far greater extent because they know oil will end in their lifetimes. In both cases they want to still be in control at the end of it all.


#10

That’s good to hear. The federal government should be doing more to make these folks act faster if “they want to still be in control at the end of it all.”

I always thought of capital as water. If you want to control it you irrigate. Otherwise it all flows to the ocean-- ie it accumulates in the biggest pool possible.


#11

Let’s hope it will be harder for them to be in charge of every alternative energy technology. Though I suppose if they patent something like “Device to make energy from wind and/or sun,” they’ll have it sewn up. The way intellectual property is going, I wouldn’t be surprised.


#12

It might be OK if maybe Marx was a little right sometimes. If corps don’t invest on their own, the US Gov can take that money and invest it for 'em.


#13

When a bank sees zero or negative interest monetary policies the cash will sometimes literally sit in the bank, Scrooge McDuck style (seriously, they buy vaults and fill them with hard cash). Corporations like Apple also hoard huge multi-billion dollar treasuries that are often kept overseas for tax purposes. And flight of capital for various purposes (including tax evasion) usually means that a lot of cash is in bank accounts doing nothing.


#14

As a result of this lack of follow-through on science and innovation, the U.S. is losing its lead in renewable energy infrastructure and manufacturing to China.


#15

Damn! We better repeal Dodd Frank pronto!

Deregulation of banking always works- for a few years for the grifters.

It’s become a whole grifter life cycle.

  1. Deregulation and rip off
  2. Bail out money to grifters & re-regulation
  3. Deregulation and regrift.

Rinse and repeat ad infinitem - they rake off at every stage of the grifter life cycle


#16

Trickle down never worked.

The difference between dems and GOP is the dems give money to people who spend it while the GOP gives money to people who save it.


#17

In what way is privatising a government asset a win/win?

It’s akin to selling a car you own for a fraction of it’s value, then renting it back for more money than it’s running-costs would have cost you. Privatisation is a monumental disaster for everyone except the person/company that ends up owning it, everyone else loses out…


#18

One important detail is to make sure everyone isn’t investing in the SAME high-risk industry, so something akin to the housing market collapse of 2007 doesn’t drag down everyone at the same time.


#19

Obligatory:


#20

Which is a little silly, given how easily a renewable energy system can/must be widely distributed to maintain efficiency.