When Britain Leaves Europe …

When Britain Leaves Europe …

BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union is imminent. Here’s how this watershed event will impact Europe, Britain and America.

Soon, Britain will not be a member of the European Union. Some still consider that prognosis unfounded, but it’s a reality that is coming into sharper focus in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Earlier this month, Joel Hilliker explained how both Europe and Britain are beginning to agree that Britain should get out of the EU. For nearly 19 years the Trumpet has believed Britain will leave or be banished from the EU. Now some European and British leaders, and even segments of the mainstream press, are beginning to accept the reality of Britain’s inevitable divorce from Europe.

With separation imminent, the implications of such a watershed event become pertinent.

A Millstone Cut Loose

Grasping the implications of this event is as much an exercise in studying history as it is in forecasting the future. After Britain tried unsuccessfully for years to join the European Community, Prime Minister Heath finally signed his nation up on Jan. 1, 1973. Since then, 34 years of history have proven that day hugely significant, obviously for Britain, but particularly for the project of European unification. On that day, a weighty millstone was hung around the neck of the European Community, which later become the European Union.

From the moment it slouched into the EC, Britain has been a burden to the unification process, one never too heavy to completely tank unification, yet cumbersome enough to guarantee integration remained a spluttering, controversial process. “There is little doubt,” wrote former European Union Commissioner Peter Sutherland, “that the rest [of Europe] would have advanced with European integration much further in the absence of the uk” (Financial Times, Oct. 16, 2007).

Britain, from the moment it joined the EU in 1973, has been a primary cause of the cumbersome, slow-moving nature of European integration!

The Latin maxim cui adhaero praeest—”he whom I support will prevail”—is attributed to Henry viii, and was said to have applied to Britain’s role in Europe. William Camden shaded it differently when he said that Britain was the tongue in the balance of Europe. The point being, for about 500 years, Britain has been the pivot on which the balance of power on the Continent has swung. When Louis xiv made his play for the Spanish Netherlands in 1701, it was Britain’s decision to join the side of the Dutch and Austrians that put an end to the War of the Spanish Succession. One hundred years later, Britain was the deciding factor in the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. During World Wars i and ii, Britain’s decision to throw its weight behind France and the Low Countries altered the course of the conflict.

For five centuries, Britain was seen, by the English as well as many of the Continental powers, as the arbiter of Europe—the illustrious island power responsible for checking the ambition of Europe’s larger nations and preserving the balance of power on the Continent. Winston Churchill talked about this role in a speech before the Conservative Members Committee on Foreign Affairs in 1936. As the arbiter of Europe, he said, Britain had “preserved the liberties of Europe, protected the growth of its vivacious and varied society, and emerged after four terrible struggles with an ever-growing fame and widening empire.”

Acting as the pivot of power in Europe had been the “unconscious tradition of British foreign policy,” he declared.

When Britain entered the EC in 1973, it perpetuated this tradition. For 35 years, it has held a pair of scales in one hand, with pro-unification states on one side and the less-enthused states on the other. In its other hand has been a weight, ready to be placed on whatever side of the scale Britain might choose.

Britain’s role as the arbiter of Europe equipped it with inestimable geopolitical influence!

Impact on Europe

As the arbiter of Europe, London has long had the ability to promote those policies it sees as favorable to British interests, and water down policies that work against its own interests. In the process, Britain has both frustrated and facilitated Europe’s development through cautionary political maneuvering, whining and well-timed bouts of foot-dragging. Since 1973, British resistance toward full-blown unification has been the primarycheck on the ambition of larger European states for more intense unification.

That’s exactly why Britain’s impending divorce from the EU will be such a watershed event: With the British millstone cut loose, Europe’s largest powers, particularly Germany, will be free to pursue a more aggressive, ambitious and imperialistic agenda!

When Britain secedes, or is pushed from the corridors of power in Brussels, the balance of power defining European geopolitics will be revolutionized. The absence of a meaningful presence by Britain will create a massive power vacuum inside the EU. Geopolitics abhors a vacuum. Britain’s absence will be the green light for the Franco-German axis to push ahead with unification, leaving European states of lesser power to either put up or shut up.

Given past history (a geopolitically impotent Britain gave rise to Hitler’s Germany in the 1930s) and the present dominance of Germany as the Union’s economic and political powerhouse, expect Berlin, situated at the heart of Europe, to take the lead in this process!

To be sure, some European governments will not be thrilled at Europe’s new direction under predominantly German leadership. Some with a sense of history may even be frightened to their core at this prospect. These nations, most of which have relied on Britain in the past as an ally against imperial ambitions in Europe, stand to lose the most by a British loss of influence in the EU. Not only will the political influence of the Slavic states, such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, stand to be diluted without the dissenting voice of Britain slowing the pace of the Brussels steamroller, but a British withdrawal could also send real political tremors through many of Britain’s traditional allies in Europe, including the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Finland and Sweden.

Without the support of Britain, these states will be steamrolled by German ambition for European unification!

In her seminal work Statecraft, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher discussed the notion of European integration. “That such an unnecessary and irrational project as building a European superstate was ever embarked upon will seem in future years to be perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era,” she wrote (emphasis mine). The Iron Lady’s instincts were right. Ironically, however, her nation’s withdrawal from the EU could actually aid in bringing the “greatest folly of the modern era” to its fullest fruition.

Impact on Britain and America

This event will also have a significant impact on Britain—and will ripple across the Atlantic to affect America as well. Above all, the greatest impact for Britain will be the loss of geopolitical influence on the Continent. The leverage over mainland states it has enjoyed for 500 years as the arbiter of Europe will be lost, and Britain will forfeit much of its ability to intervene in European affairs and to counter the ambition of the larger European states. Britain’s absence from the the EU stands to directly impact the United States too, which since the First World War has used its ally Britain as a proxy in furthering its own foreign policies in Europe.

Considered against the backdrop of European history—which is a tale of imperialist belligerence, religious turmoil and war—the marginalization of Britain from European affairs will likely create a strategic and geopolitical nightmare!

The one thing that Europe currently lacks, which was a major contributor to its repeated history of imperialism over time, is a strong, decisive, ambitious leader. Throughout the history of similar configurations of European unity (termed the Holy Roman Empire), it was Germany that provided such leadership. With a federalizing Europe of multiple highly industrialized states at its beckoning—including the most powerful currency in the world, a population of 430 million people and a combined military force of over 2 million personnel—can the German powerhouse resist the urge to once again assert its leadership over all of Europe? That is a consideration on the minds of the deepest thinkers in the foreign-policy arena. The “German Question” is returning, yet again, to center stage in geopolitics.

Surely we can begin to grasp the sheer magnitude of a British withdrawal from the EU. Free from the British millstone, the EU’s largest powers, especially Germany, will emerge and take charge of European unification. Without Britain to amplify their concerns and defend their interests, the voices of smaller European states will go unheard, and their interests will continue to be neglected. In addition to these major geopolitical changes inside Europe, Britain’s separation from Europe will severely diminish both it and America’s ability to influence events on the Continent.

When this occurs, Europe will not only be increasingly shaped by German designs, but Britain and America will lack the political means to do anything about it!

Prior to his death in 1986, Herbert W. Armstrong spent 50 years using biblical prophecy to forecast world events. For anyone familiar with his teachings, one prophecy stands out above the others; it could be considered his keynote prophecy.That is the prophecy about a colossal religio-political superstate that would emerge from Europe as the central power in end-time events. This empire, explained Mr. Armstrong based on a prophecy in Daniel, would include five nations, or “kings,” from Eastern Europe, and five from Western Europe.

In 1956, with European unification gaining traction and Germany rising from the ashes of World War ii, he warned that a European superpower was emerging. “The stage is all set!” he wrote. “All that’s lacking now is the strong leader …. Germany is the economic and military heart of Europe. Probably Germany will lead and dominate the coming United States of Europe.”

“But Britain,” he wrote, “will be no part of it!”

Year after year, decade upon decade, this man explained, in the face of all who mocked, that Britain would never be a part of this final European power. So confident was he in the source of his insight that he refused to budge even as Britain’s relations with the European Community seemed to improve.

When Britain was invited into the EC on Jan. 1, 1973, he said that date would prove to be a “tragically historic date” for Britain, a date “fraught with ominous potentialities.”

Today, more than 50 years after Mr. Armstrong first made this forecast, and despite the best efforts of numerous European and British leaders to succeed in unification, this prophecy is poised to unfold in spectacular fashion!

Did King David Conquer Jerusalem Using This Tunnel?

Did King David Conquer Jerusalem Using This Tunnel?

Courtesy of Dr. Eilat Mazar

Dr. Eilat Mazar says a tunnel discovered in the City of David may be the one David’s men used during their conquest of Jerusalem.

Before he united ancient Israel under one, undivided throne, King David had to conquer the Jebusite stronghold on a hill later renamed the City of David, located in the modern-day city of Jerusalem. The Jebusites, the Bible relates, were so confident in their defense against David’s attack that they even taunted the mighty king, saying the blind and lame could sufficiently defend the city (2 Samuel 5:6).

(Courtesy of Dr. Eilat Mazar)

This angered David. He challenged his top military generals by offering command of his army to the warrior who could successfully capture the fortified stronghold. The Bible says Joab coordinated the sneak attack on the Jebusite city and that a water conduit—tsinnor in Hebrew—factored into the successful conquest (see 2 Samuel 5:8).

For the past four years, one of Israel’s top archaeologists, Dr. Eilat Mazar—with hands-on help from Herbert W. Armstrong College students—has been digging up ruins left from the ancient City of David. Earlier this year, Mazar accidentally discovered an opening to a tunnel dating to the 10th century b.c. while excavating around the top half of the famous Stepped Stone Structure, also known as Area G.

“The tunnel’s characteristics, date and location testify with high probability that the water tunnel is the one called tsinnor in the story of King David’s conquest of Jerusalem,” said Mazar, who is working on behalf of the Shalem Center and the Ir David Foundation and under the academic auspice of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Herbert W. Armstrong College Senior John Rambo stands below bedrock at the northernmost section of the tunnel. (Courtesy of Dr. Eilat Mazar)

Layers of debris dating to the end of the First Temple period (sixth century b.c.) had buried the entrance to the tunnel, according to a statement released this week. After stumbling upon the opening toward the end of her fourth excavation season earlier this year, Mazar soon discovered a tunnel wide enough for one person to pass through, which runs north-south and measures 50 meters in length so far. Both ends, at this point, are blocked by debris and fallen stones.

“In order to excavate the continuation,” Mazar said, “proper reinforcements need to be constructed.”

The tunnel walls follow a natural cavity in the bedrock that runs along the upper part of the eastern slope of the City of David. Three years ago, directly above the tunnel, atop the hill, Mazar discovered a Large Stone Structure, which she later identified as King David’s palace (2 Samuel 5:11). She believes the tunnel was integrated into its construction and might have been used to channel water to a man-made pool built on the southeast side of the palace, referred to in Nehemiah 3:16.

According to her press release,

Toward the end of the First Temple period (sixth century b.c.), the tunnel was converted to an escape passage, perhaps used in a manner similar to King Zedekiah’s escape during the Babylonian siege (2 Kings 25:4).During this phase, additional walls were constructed in order to prevent the possibility of anyone entering the tunnel from the slope of the hill and to prevent penetration of debris inside the tunnel. Complete oil lamps were found on the ground of the tunnel, characteristic of the end of the First Temple period. These lamps testify to the tunnel’s last use.

Once the Babylonians laid siege upon the city in 585 b.c., however, the tunnel was lost from world view and forgotten—until now.

In an interview with theTrumpet.com this week, Mazar said the discovery was “completely unexpected.” And since it was found near the end of a digging season, she believes there is much more to be learned about the passageway. “We have a general knowledge of the tunnel,” she said, “but we are far from having a complete picture.”

She hopes to excavate the area further during her next phase of digging, tentatively set for some time next year.

New Report Details Iran’s Dual Strategy in Iraq

New Report Details Iran’s Dual Strategy in Iraq

Alireza Sotakbar/AFP/Getty Images

Iran has a two-pronged program to affect policy and politics in Iraq.

Iran has a dual strategy in Iraq of providing military aid to Iraqi militia while at the same time giving political support to Iraqi political parties, a new report details.

In “Iranian Strategy in Iraq: Politics and ‘Other Means,’” a comprehensive report released by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point on October 13, Col. Joseph Felter, a Special Forces veteran and national security affairs fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, and co-author Brian Fishman, director of research at the Combating Terrorism Center, discuss Iran’s covert operations in Iraq from before the U.S.-led invasion right up to the present. The authors, who spent the summer of 2008 in Iraq, draw on 85 newly released documents—summaries of interviews with captured Iraqi militia members—that show the Iranian military trains Iraqi Shiite militants to fight U.S. forces. They also draw on pre-2003 internal Iraqi intelligence reports, never before released to the public, and other data.

The report asserts that Iran has a “robust policy” to exert influence in Iraq in order to limit American power in the Middle East, ensure Iraq does not pose a threat to Iran, and build a base for projecting influence further abroad. “… Iran’s actions are part of a deliberate, strategic policy to increase its power and influence in Iraq and throughout the region,” writes Michael J. Meese, a professor at the West Point U.S. Military Academy, in the preface to the report.

The primary way Tehran is influencing Iraq, the report states, is through leveraging its close historical association with Iraqi Shiite political organizations, including the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, the country’s most powerful Shiite movement. “They have influence in the Iraqi political system to a remarkable degree,” Felter said. “They’ve really got their hooks in.”

Second, says the report, Iran uses the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Quds Force to provide paramilitary training and weapons to various Iraqi terrorist groups. Iran also projects influence through economic initiatives, religious programs and various social levers.

While some of Iran’s influence may be constructive, the report states, “Nonetheless, Iranian policy in Iraq is also duplicitous. Iran publicly calls for stability while subverting Iraq’s government and illegally sponsoring anti‐government militias.”

Iran’s two-pronged strategy—political influence and militia support—afford Iran a distinct advantage. The report states:

The two‐tracked strategy offered Iran unique levers to increase violence in Iraq and then to benefit when violence subsided. Another advantage has been that, intentionally or not, Iran’s two‐pronged approach obscured the importance of Iran’s political influence in Iraq by focusing the international media and U.S. policymakers on Iran’s lethal aid to militia groups.

Iran’s political strategy is particularly important right now because of the U.S.‐Iraqi negotiations on a Status of Forces Agreement (sofa) and a Strategic Framework Agreement (sfa), which will govern the role of U.S. forces in Iraq after the end of this year. The report outlines how Iran has recently worked to reduce the level of violence in Iraq while concentrating on a political campaign to shape the sfa and sofa agreement to its strategic ends. Iran likely is using supportive Iraqi politicians to influence the negotiations “as a means to constrain U.S. freedom of action in Iraq over the long‐term, rather than increase violence now,” the report states.

The report concludes that

Iran has achieved three major accomplishments in Iraq. First, the unstable security situation and political opposition means the U.S. is not in a position to use Iraq as a platform for targeting Iran. Second, Iran’s political allies have secured high‐ranking positions in the Iraqi government. Third, the Iraqi Constitution calls for a highly federalized state. Iran values a decentralized Iraq because it will be less capable of projecting power, and because Iran is primarily concerned with Iraq’s southern, oil‐rich, Shia‐dominated provinces. Iran believes that increased southern autonomy will leave those provinces more open to Iranian influence.

That Iran is heavily involved in Iraq is nothing new, of course—though this 90-page report—and the 547 pages of documents accompanying it—provides additional evidence of Iran’s strategy and success. For years, evidence has continued to emerge of Iran’s infiltration of Iraq. This is something the Trumpet has written about since 1994 in fact.

The significance, as far as Bible prophecy goes, is dual: America’s lack of decisive, effective action to halt Iran’s covert war against it points to a lack of national will, a condition the Bible says the end-time nations of biblical Israel would be cursed with (Leviticus 26:19). Secondly, Iran’s actions, motives and goals in Iraq demonstrate its ascendancy to become the biblical “king of the south” (Daniel 11:40).

For more on the significance of Iran’s actions in Iraq, read “Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?

Jewish Officials Fear Growing Anti-Israeli Sentiment in Germany

Jewish Officials Fear Growing Anti-Israeli Sentiment in Germany

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Do the majority of Germans really agree with Angela Merkel’s pro-Israel policies?

The official consensus among Israeli leaders and media pundits is that Germany is one of their nation’s best friends. Behind the scenes, however, many Israeli officials are growing concerned about growing anti-Israeli sentiment in Germany. Ynetnews reported October 28:

Although German Chancellor Angela Merkel is considered one of the most prominent pro-Israel leaders in the European Union and in the world, the public opinion in her country appears to be completely different.A senior state official told Ynet that although the official Germany remains pro-Israel, the public atmosphere in the country is affecting the Merkel government’s attitude, particularly in terms of the Iranian nuclear plan.Israel’s great fear is that the increasing anti-Israel mood in the German society, economy and media will eventually influence the German government’s policy on this issue for the worse.”Germans view Israel—and Iran—as a great danger to world peace. German tourists don’t visit Israel, while the number of tourists from neighboring Poland exceeds the number of visitors from Germany,” said a source in Jerusalem.”The Germans are filled with prejudice against Israel. Our PR delegates are pulling their hair out in frustration when they meet young and old people there. More than once they hear remarks like, ‘That’s not your country,’ ‘It’s a shame that a Jewish country was established on stolen land,’ ‘Israel is treating the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews’ and ‘We are equally responsible towards the Palestinians as we are towards the Jews.’”

Recent German public opinion polls show that 81 percent of Germans do not believe their nation should support Israel militarily if it were attacked. Fifty-seven percent of Germans think that their government should not even send money if Israel were attacked. More shocking than both these statistics, however, is that these polls show that almost a third of Germans have no qualms about comparing today’s Israel with fascist-era Germany.

The fact is that most Germans regard both Israel and Iran as a threat to their concept of a new world order. To learn more about how Germany will deal with both of these nations, read “Can Israel Trust Germany?” and “The Last Crusade.”

If the World Could Vote for America’s President

If the World Could Vote for America’s President

Reuters

How this election will hurt the U.S.’s global standing

The whole world doesn’t agree on much, but it seems pretty united on one thing: that the next American president should be Barack Obama.

Set aside your own persuasion on who should win the November 4 election for a moment. Look at the situation from higher up. This global Obama-love is significant for a couple of reasons.

The Economist online has set up what it calls a “Global Electoral College”—a chance for its readers worldwide to vote using a globalized version of America’s electoral college system. There the McCain-Palin ticket actually has received 270 electoral votes—the number required to win in America. Trouble is, it has been absolutely crushed by Obama-Biden’s 9,120 electoral votes.

A Washington Post reporter took an informal survey around the halls of the United Nations: Obama or McCain? The overwhelming favorite: Obama, Obama, Obama. “I have not heard a single person who will support McCain,” said an African UN official. “If they do, they are in hiding.” The reporter, Colum Lynch, concluded, “[I]t might be difficult to find a sliver of territory in the United States more enthusiastic over the prospect of the Illinois senator winning” than in the global microcosm of the UN.

Amir Taheri wrote in yesterday’s New York Post of seeing “Obama! Inshallah!”—or Obama! Allah willing!—written on walls in the Gaza Strip. “While Obama has tried to push his origins into the background, his ‘Islamic roots’ have won him a place in many Arabs’ hearts,” he wrote.

Congo’s UN ambassador, Atoki Ileka, says the same about the candidate’s African roots, since Obama’s father is from Kenya: “We do not consider him an African American. We consider him an African.” Makadem, the Kenyan reggae singer who wrote the messianic anthem “Obama Be Thy Name,” evidently feels the same.

Some of the candidate’s worldwide supporters are doing more than just hoping for him to win—they’re actively funding his campaign (which is, of course, illegal). As Ron Fraser recently wrote, the Federal Election Commission has reported 11,500 foreign contributions to the Obama campaign totaling $33.8 million.

Why such overwhelming worldwide support for Obama? A common cheer among his supporters is that he represents a friendlier face to the world than both his predecessor and his opponent, and will restore America’s reputation and status as a beloved global power. By this logic, all these nations are excited about an Obama presidency because of their eagerness to restore the friendships with America that have been so ravaged by the Bush administration.

Before we accept that view, it is worth noting that among the nations most enthusiastic in their support for Obama are some of America’s worst enemies.

Take, as an example, some of his enthusiasts in the Arab world. “Obama especially appeals to pan-Arab nationalists angry at the United States for having ousted Saddam Hussein,” Amir Taheri explains. “Obama’s promise to leave Iraq gives pan-Arabs their only chance (albeit slim) to destroy the new Iraqi democracy.” Incidentally, among the millions in donations to Obama’s campaign were monies originating from Fallujah in Iraq.

To take another example, it’s not difficult to see how the Iranian mullahs would prefer a U.S. president who calls himself the only major candidate who “supports tough, direct, presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.” And not because of their sincere desire to make peace with America.

“Also enthusiastic for Obama is the Lebanese Hezbollah,” Taheri continued. “The party’s No. 2, Sheik Naim al-Kassim, went as far as inviting Americans to vote Obama as a step toward peace with Islam.” What sort of “peace with Islam” do you suppose Kassim is interested in? He belongs to an organization that, according to its founding document, “regard[s] all negotiators as enemies.”

Obama has received notable if unwanted endorsements from North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and Hamas adviser Ahmed Yousef. Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi has told Obama “to be proud of himself as a black and feel that all Africa is behind him.”

Why would such demagogues and terrorists support Obama? You can be sure they’re not interested in a stronger America.

The undeniable truth is, fervent anti-Americanism infects much of the planet, and a great many people support this man because they view his policies as being favorable toward America’s enemies. The large part of the world that wants to level the global playing field by knocking America down a peg appears to see an opportunity in an Obama presidency. And as Ryan Mauro recently detailed in Global Politician, this man’s ideas on foreign policy provide those enemies plenty of cause to justify their enthusiasm.

That reality alone undermines the hope held by so many for a more peaceful world because of the political ascension of a multiracial man in the world’s most prominent nation. As his own running mate famously said recently, someone, somewhere, is bound to ignite an international crisis in order to test Barack Obama’s mettle. Things could get ugly very quickly.

But there is also a more immediate problem in the fact that global opinion, like the American media, has virtually crowned Obama with a victory already. Given the near-universal desire to see this man take up residency in the White House, we have to ask: What would it do to America’s reputation abroad should the McCain-Palin ticket manage to win?

Four years ago, the world was rooting for John Kerry. When George W. Bush won, France’s Le Monde wrote an editorial titled, “Why?” The UK’s Daily Mirror headline was, “How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb?” “This once-great country has pulled up its drawbridge for another four years and … has shown itself to be a fearful, backward-looking and very small nation,” it wrote.

That was after a John Kerry loss.

One American UN official, who says “I keep my mouth shut” about his support for McCain, said this: “It will be devastating if Obama loses. There has been such an amount of faith placed on the outcome.”

What kind of global backlash will we see if McCain pulls this election off? Within the U.S. itself, the narrative being incessantly hammered is that the only obstacle in the way of an Obama landslide is America’s racism. In the event of an Obama loss, it is not difficult to imagine a worldwide surge not only in disappointment but also in already high levels of bitterness, hostility and anger toward America.

Not exactly what you need when you’re vulnerable economically and trillions of dollars in debt to other nations.

The Trumpet does not take sides in political elections. We believe the biblical truth that “the powers that be are ordained of God,” and that “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men” (Romans 13:1; Daniel 4:17). We are far less interested in who, specifically, wins elections than in how current events fulfill biblical prophecy. And one of the most important prophecies we are watching unfold is the rapid decline of America’s global power—exactly as Scripture said would happen. You can read all about this in Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, the first version of which he wrote, astonishingly, over 70 years ago.

Whoever wins next week, the American era is ending. Whether there is a short-lived warming toward the U.S. or not, nations around the world will continue to scramble to gain power at America’s expense. The identity of the next American president may cause them to change their tactics, but not their goal.

Banks Using Taxpayer Bailout Money to Pay Bonuses

Banks Using Taxpayer Bailout Money to Pay Bonuses

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If there was any doubt America’s financial system is broken, a news item from Bloomberg just shattered it.

In a stunning revelation, Bloomberg is reporting that despite the fact that taxpayers will be spending hundreds of billions of dollars bailing out the banking industry, banking insiders are still on track to receive tens of billions in bonuses. Even more incredible is the fact that these bonuses are coming at a time when shareholder pensions have been crushed, and many of the firms are laying off thousands of employees.

According to the report, both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are scheduled to pay out bonuses of $6.85 billion and $6.44 billion respectively. That equates to an astounding $210,000 per employee for Goldman and $138,700 per person for Morgan Stanley. And that is despite the fact that Goldman’s profit has fallen 47 percent this year, and the share price is down 53 percent. Morgan Stanley’s earnings have tumbled 41 percent and its shares have shed 69 percent of their value.

But get ready for the real kicker.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are each receiving $10 billion from the government as part of the effort to help prop up the financial system.

It is beyond reason that the government would devote so much money to these firms when they are going to turn around and pay out the equivalent of more than 64 percent in bonuses.

Does this make sense? Since when has the government been in the business of funding bankers’ bonuses with taxpayer money? Wall Street’s bankers already receive salaries that range from $80,000 to $600,000 a year.

Why are these two firms getting capital infusions in the first place? How much trouble could these companies really be in if they are still profitable and are planning to pay out billions in bonuses? If they really are in such trouble, why aren’t these banks being forced to use their own bonus money to prop themselves up?

And it is not just Goldman and Morgan that are planning to pay out bonuses. If you can believe it, Bloomberg also reports that defunct Merrill Lynch, the investment bank that the Federal Reserve forced into marriage with Bank of America, will still be paying out $6.7 billion in bonuses. Employees at bankrupt Lehman Brothers will still get bonuses. Employees already have received them at Bear Stearns, the investment bank the Federal Reserve had to lend JP Morgan Chase $29 billion to buy.

“There is no Wall Street without bonuses,” says Andy Kessler, a former analyst and hedge-fund manager turned author. “The guys who know how to make money are the ones who are in demand. If you want to keep them, you have to pay them something.”

Call me old-fashioned, but when Wall Street excess has become so endemic that the whole system is verging on implosion, and the threat is so severe that a $700 billion taxpayer bailout may not be enough to prevent a global economic crash, then maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to see a whole new set of faces on Wall Street.