Posted on May 6, 2016 (October 2, 2018) Share: This is unbelievable. The Intercept reports on big banks now asserting constitutional rights to receive billions of dollars in Federal subsidies. A trade group for some of the nation’s biggest banks is claiming a right to risk-free profit from the Federal Reserve, as if the banks themselves carry the same protections as people. The Chief Lobbyist for the American Bankers Association, Rob Nichols argued that a recent federal law violates the Fifth Amendment clause that bans uncompensated seizure of property. The law, which was part of a deal with Congress to fund transportation projects, reduces “the dividend on the stock that banks purchase as part of membership in the Federal Reserve system,” according to The Intercept. “The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment provides that ‘private property’ shall not ‘be taken for public use, without just compensation,’” Nichols wrote in his comment letter to the Fed, which is preparing to implement the dividend cut. Nichols added, “The dividend rate remained unchanged for over 100 years, and it has long been considered fundamental to the Federal Reserve’s ability to attract member banks.” Contrary to Nichols’s statement, nationally chartered banks are required by law to become members of the Federal Reserve system. And while state banks can opt in or out, they must nevertheless abide by the standards of membership. Moreover, Fed membership offers many perks, from the ability to process payments to access to cheap borrowing, through the Fed’s discount window. So the dividend is just a vestigial sweetener that never went away, pumping billions of dollars in public money to the banks for no discernible reason. Summed up, the argument from Nichols and the banks says that the long standing 6 percent dividend rate on stock is constitutionally protected, and that the risk-free dividend should be considered as bank property. Whatever gets decided, it’s another bold example of corporations asserting constitutional rights and protections that have long been reserved for living, breathing people. To read the original article, click here.