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Congress rolls out ‘Better Deal,’ new economic agenda

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Report: Major Banks Laundering Trillions of Dollars For Terrorists and Drug Kingpins

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Report: Major Banks Laundering Trillions of Dollars For Terrorists and Drug Kingpins

A bombshell report about major western banks like JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank was released yesterday. It said that these banks allowed “trillions of dollars in suspicious transactions, enriching themselves and their shareholders while facilitating the work of terrorists, kleptocrats, and drug kingpins.”

That’s according to an investigation by BuzzFeed News, who spent more than a year compiling the FinCEN Files. They say the documents were compiled by the banks themselves and actually shared with the government. However, they mentioned that this fact was kept away from the public.

Martin Woods, a former suspicious transactions investigator for Wachovia Bank (acquired by Wells Fargo in 2008) said, “Some of these people in those crisp white shirts in their sharp suits are feeding off the tragedy of people dying all over the world.”

Incredibly, the report says a bank is immunized from prosecution. It can also continue the transaction and collect all fees. This may happen as long as a bank flags a transaction as suspicious.

“So long as a bank files a notice that it may be facilitating criminal activity, it all but immunizes itself and its executives from criminal prosecution. The suspicious activity alert effectively gives them a free pass to keep moving the money and collecting the fees.”

Banks Continue Processing Suspicious Transactions

The investigation also found that many banks continued to move money for suspected criminals. This came even after authorities prosecuted or gave banks a fine for financial misconduct.

For example, Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, American Express, and others processed millions of dollars in transactions for the family of Viktor Khrapunov, the former mayor of Kazakhstan’s most populous city. The transactions went on even after Interpol issued a Red Notice for his arrest.

Incredibly, the report reveals that “major financial institutions often fail to perform the most basic checks on their customers, such as verifying where a business is located when someone opens a new account. The lapses allow criminal groups to hide behind shell corporations, registered with no identifying details about their ownership, and slide the proceeds of their crimes into the global financial system.”

JPMorgan Chase allegedly collected more than $500 million in fees from Bernie Madoff while he was running his ponzi scheme. With this, the company only paid a $1.7 billion fine. The company was also supposed to improve its ability to detect money laundering. Instead, the FinCEN Files show the bank’s own investigators believed it opened accounts for “an alleged Russian organized crime figure who is known for drug trafficking and contract murders, as well as businesses tied to the repressive North Korean regime, which the US has placed off-limits.”

No High-Level Arrests

Instead of bank executives being arrested, or even closing down the offending banks, many simply agree to deferred prosecution agreements. These include fines but no high-level arrests.

Unsurprisingly, little is done should a bank not live up to its end of the agreement. “Banks often get to the end of their agreement without actually fixing the problems. Then, instead of getting the prosecution that they had been threatened with, they just get another chance. And sometimes another,” says the report.

“Since 2010, at least 18 financial institutions have received deferred prosecution agreements for anti–money laundering or sanctions violations, according to an analysis by BuzzFeed News. Of those, at least four went on to break the law again and get fined. Twice, the government responded to this kind of repeat offense by renewing the deferred prosecution agreement — the very tool that failed the first time.”

US District Judge Jed Rakoff added “Under US law, a bank that engages in money laundering can literally be forced out of business by the government, and it is kind of surprising that government hasn’t taken that step, given the obvious deterrent effect it would have.”

Paul Pelletier is a former senior Justice Department lawyer who once led the agency’s fraud unit. He says there’s only one real way to deal with the problem.

“The bankers will never learn until you start putting silver bracelets on people. Think of the message you’re sending to repeat offenders.”

You can read the full FinCEN File investigation here.

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Business

Biden Will Enact Obama Administration’s Failed Economic Plan ‘On Steroids’

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Biden Will Enact Obama’s Failed Economic Plan ‘On Steroids’

If Joe Biden wins the election in November, the country may relive the failed Obama economic plan. This time, however, it will be even worse.

That’s the warning from Andy Puzder, a Senior Fellow at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. He also served the former chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants.

Biden’s acceptance speech during the Democratic National Convention touted an economic plan that is “all about jobs, dignity, respect and community,” Pudzer said. However, it failed to propose a single solution to create more private-sector jobs. It did however mention massive government spending supported by higher taxes and increased regulations.

“It’s the Obama/Biden economic plan redux, only Biden would put that failed plan on steroids.
The result would be a return to an era when workers faced stagnant wages, competed to fill a limited number of job openings, and dropped out of the labor force when they were unable to find one.” says Pudzer

Economy: Obama VS Trump

He says you don’t need to look any further than the economy under Obama’s presidency with Joe Biden as vice-president. Then, you can compare that with the Trump economy.

The Obama administration increased taxes and regulations. It also expanded the government and discouraged private sector growth.

President Trump rightly reversed those policies, decreasing taxes and eliminating burdensome regulations. He also reduced the size of the government and encouraged private sector growth.

“The results speak for themselves,” says Pudzer

During the Obama administration, there were always more people unemployed than job openings. Workers had to compete for job openings. As a result, wage growth was effectively stalled below 3% for the entire eight years of his presidency.

Almost immediately after President Trump took office, there were more job openings than people looking for employment for the first time. It happened since the government began reporting the data, and that continued until the coronavirus pandemic hit. And wage growth was above 3% for 20 consecutive months until the pandemic.

Economy Under Biden

Pudzer adds, “Biden’s plan to supposedly create “millions of new jobs,” would reverse President Trump’s job-creating policies including his tax cuts and his aggressive campaign to repeal government regulations.”

He also points to a study by the Tax Policy Center that shows Biden’s tax plan would increase taxes on all income levels. He believes even that won’t be enough to keep pace with government spending.

“Biden is proposing to raise taxes a massive $4 trillion by both repealing the job-creating Trump tax cuts and increasing taxes “on all income groups” with the largest increases hitting high-income households and businesses.”

“Yet even those massive tax increases would be insufficient to cover the costs of Biden’s proposed $7 trillion in increased government spending, including $2 trillion just to address climate change.”

He says Biden’s plan for higher taxes and increased regulations reduces the amount of money left over for a business to spend on growth and job creation.

“The Obama/Biden economic policies produced the worst recovery since World War II. President Trump’s pro-growth economic policies produced the strongest labor market in modern times, and perhaps ever.”

As for November, Pudzer says “The choice seems pretty clear.”

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Business

President Trump’s Executive Orders A ‘Real Game-Changer’ For The Country

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President Trump’s Executive Orders A ‘Real Game-Changer’ For The Country

President Trump was busy over the weekend, signing four executive orders to provide the financial stimulus that America needs. Trump said the Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, held the “vital assistance hostage” as negotiations stalled.

“We’re doing that without the Democrats,” Trump said. “We should have been able to do it very easily with them, but they want all these additional things that have nothing to do with helping people.”

“Through these four actions, my administration will provide immediate relief to Americans struggling in this difficult time,” he said. “The beautiful thing about this difficult time is we’re coming back and setting records.”

Stephen Moore is a member of President Trump’s economic recovery task force. He said the orders were “a real game-changer” for the president.

“All of a sudden Trump has flipped the table on Nancy Pelosi. Those negotiations were going nowhere.” said Moore, an economist at FreedomWorks, during an interview yesterday on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”

The Goals of Trump’s Executive Orders

The executive orders by the President aim to help directly address the damage the coronavirus pandemic. It also aims to ensure that millions of Americans have the resources they need.

Among the executive orders signed by Trump were $400 per week in unemployment benefits. This will replace the $600 per week that expired at the end of July.

Moore said during his “Fox and Friends Weekend” interview that he isn’t a fan of extending the benefits, and believes “we should go back to the old unemployment insurance system.”

He did acknowledge, however, that “$400 is a lot better than $600.”

“We have a situation right now where about two out of three workers who are unemployed are getting paid more money than the people who are working,” Moore said on Sunday, following his article for Fox Business where has said he believes the extra unemployment benefits are “a disincentive to work, but provides an immediate safety net for the 25 million Americans who are still unemployed.”

In addition to the unemployment insurance benefits, Trump also signed measures to halt evictions. He also approved measures to eliminate the payroll tax through the end of the year and defer student loan payments.

The Potential of the Actions

“Through these four actions, my administration will provide immediate relief to Americans struggling in this difficult time,” he said. “The beautiful thing about this difficult time is we’re coming back and setting records.”

By eliminating the payroll tax, Moore says “every single worker in America,” including “the real heroes of this economy,” like the first responders and truckers, will get “a much deserved 7.5% pay raise starting immediately.”

“That is a very, very positive thing,” Moore then added.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the average person would save about $1,200 over four months beginning in September.

“With respect to the payroll tax, basically we’re giving 140-some-odd million people who worked through this pandemic, they’re heroes, we’re giving them about a $1,200 wage increase after tax,” Kudlow said.

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