Negative Interest Rates: Obamacare for Banking

The Associated Press

Negative interest rates are like Obamacare for banking: cheered by social justice warriors a way to use government to collectivize a fractured industry.


Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s two-day Congressional testimony sent stocks on a wild ride after Yellen suggested the United States central bank may consider following the Japanese and EU policy of setting a negative interest rate that would require U.S. banks to pay an interest cost on any excess cash held at the Federal Reserve.

Although the stated goal of negative interest rates is to stimulate the economy by forcing banks to increase lending at hyper-low-yields, investors panicked that the action might spark a wave of smaller bank insolvencies and lead to another financial crisis.

Social justice warriors (SJW) like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have praised negative interest rates as part of an effort to convert banks into regulated public utilities that they promise will achieve broader lending by drastically restricting profits. But the real goal is giving Congress the ability to maximize its meddling in 17 percent of America’s GDP.

Essentially, the SJWs want banks to operate like Obamacare, whose roots go back to when Bill and Hillary Clinton came to Washington in 1993. At the time, 68 percent of doctors were in private practice and health care spending was only 3.8 percent of GDP.

The Clintons first major legislative initiative was an effort to nationalize healthcare, referred to as “Hillarycare.” The policy would have required each U.S. resident to always be enrolled in a health plan, set doctor fee-for-service schedules, and required providers to join multi-state “regional alliances” of health providers. Such a structure would have forced doctors into very large medical groups regulated by the federal government.

Hillarycare was thoroughly rejected by Congress, but the Clintons drastically increased the collectivization of medicine though Presidential Executive Orders. The most notable was having the “US Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry” adopt the “Patient’s Bill of Rights” in 1998, which set a national default standard in legal liability in evaluating healthcare quality and access.

Due to spiraling malpractice insurance costs, when Clinton left office in 2000, only 57 percent of doctors remained in private practice. Health care costs had risen to 5 percent of GDP and was on a trajectory to rise to 6 percent by the election of Obama in 2008.

Obamacare legislation was sold to the public in 2010 as saving the average family of $2,500 per year by restricting corporate profits to cut healthcare inflation. But with inflation running just .1 percent last year, Obamacare insurance premiums rose in 2016 by an average of 13 percent, and the lowest cost plan family deductibles was $11,601.

But in good news for SJWs, doctors in private practice have plunged to just 33 percent, and health care will reach about 8 percent of GDP when Obama leaves office in 2017, according to Accenture Consulting.

The Clintons’ other major initiative was the consolidation of the financial services industry through the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act of 1999, which repealed the Glass–Steagall Banking Act of 1933 that prevented banks from also owning brokerage firms. At the time, there were 8,334 smaller banks that held 40.4 percent of all U.S. bank deposits and 5 very large banks holding just 19.5 percent of deposits.

Eleven years and only four months after passing Obamacare, the Obama Administration passed of Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform to supposedly prevent very large banks from getting even bigger. But today there are 5 very large banks that hold 41.1 percent of deposits, and just 5,961 smaller banks that hold only 21.7 percent of deposits.

Those 5 very large banks have thrived due to the Fed’s “financial repression policy” that used quantitative easing and other manipulative Fed monetary tools to hold down interest rates below inflation. With their customers tending to be huge multi-national corporations that borrow on a spectacular scale, their small profit percentage has been multiplied on big dollars.

But small banks have been crushed under low rates, because their business of making small loans to predominantly local family-owned businesses has higher costs as a percentage of dollars loaned.

The violence of the swings in the U.S. Standard & Poor’s Stock index during Janet Yellen’s discussion of negative-interest-rates was seen by many traders as communicating to the Fed that implementing negative interest rates could create another financial panic and potentially start a bank runs on thousands of small banks.

After Yellen’s testimony, U.S. stock markets rallied back from an almost 5 percent mid-week-loss to close the week of February 12 with just a 0.81 percent loss.

But in Japan, where the central bank has implemented negative interest rates, the Nikkei 225 was down 11.10 percent for the week.


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