Les Leopold Discusses “The Looting of America” on the American Monetary Association Show

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Les Leopold, author and nonprofit foundation director, discusses the criminal actions that took place during the government bailout

American Monetary Association

Les Leopold, author of “The Looting of America: How Wall Street’s Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do About It,” recently joined the 28th episode of the popular American Monetary Association podcast. Leopold discusses his book, the market that supported the housing bubble during the last decade and useful recommendations for avoiding the next possible economic bubble and bust.

“I felt that in order for us to maintain our citizenship that we need to know a lot more about how Wall Street actually functions. We need to understand better how these financial casinos operate and we need to do something to change our political process so that it never happens again,” said Leopold.

The crisis was founded, Leopold claims, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was becoming plain that the financial policies of the time weren’t working. Regulators enacted two “solutions.” The first was the removal of key constraints on gigantic financial institutions for the sake of “financial innovation.” The second was a dramatic change in the tax structure.

According to Leopold, deregulated Wall Street provided investors a “Wall of Money” that enabled super rich investors to move their capital through complex asset creations. It gave the illusion of a safe, better return. Many of those loans were sold multiple times. This massive amount of capital, and the investors that needed to keep finding new things to do with it, laid the foundation for gigantic Ponzi schemes.

Once the financial crisis occurred, Leopold believes that the way big business exploited the government bailout was absolutely criminal. “We just experienced a gigantic raid on the treasury,” said Leopold. “As far as I can tell, we’ve dumped at least a trillion dollars into Wall Street and we’ve guaranteed another thirteen to nineteen trillion dollars worth of assets and loans.” Goldman Sachs, for example, received a massive bailout. They were profitable again in the next quarter—and that profit wasn’t taxed. Goldman Sachs got to keep their profit.

“We need to think long and hard about why that was permitted,” said Leopold.

Les Leopold co-founded and currently directs two nonprofit organizations, the Labor Institute and the Public Health Institute, and is the author of the award-winning The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor: The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi. Leopold designs research and educational programs on occupational safety and health, the environment, and economics and helped form an alliance between the United Steel Workers Union and the Sierra Club.

About American Monetary Association

The American Monetary Association is a non-profit venture funded by The Jason Hartman Foundation which is dedicated to educating people about the practical effects of monetary policy and government actions on inflation, deflation and freedom. Our goal is to help people prosper in the midst of uncertain economic times. For information, visit American Monetary Association online.

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