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"The financial system is playing us for chumps"

That’s what Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, told Bill Moyers on the Bill Moyers Journal that just aired a few minutes ago.

And the interview became even scarier. What Johnson and Moyers made clear, without saying it in so many words, is that American democracy is on the line.

Not Chile. Not Argentina. Not Bolivia or anywhere else. America.

What is at stake is the continued existence of the United States as a democratic republic.

Moyers started by reading a quote from a blog Johnson wrote earlier this week, High Noon: Geithner v. The American Oligarchs.

BILL MOYERS: Oligarchy is an un-American term, as you know. It means a government by a small number of people. We don't like to think of ourselves that way.

SIMON JOHNSON: It's a way of governing. As you said. It comes from, you know, a system they tried out in Greece and Athens from time to time. And it was actually an antithesis to democracy in that context.

But, exactly what you said, it's a small group with a lot of power. A lot of wealth. They don't necessarily - they're not necessarily always the names, the household names that spring to mind, in this kind of context. But they are the people who could pull the strings. Who have the influence. Who call the shots.

BILL MOYERS: Are you saying that the banking industry trumps the president, the Congress and the American government when it comes to this issue so crucial to the survival of American democracy?

SIMON JOHNSON: I don't know. I hope they don't trump it. But the signs that I see this week, the body language, the words, the op-eds, the testimony, the way they're treated by certain Congressional committees, it makes me feel very worried.

I have this feeling in my stomach that I felt in other countries, much poorer countries, countries that were headed into really difficult economic situation. When there's a small group of people who got you into a disaster, and who were still powerful. Disaster even made them more powerful.

Now, you can read the text, but you really need to watch the video, to get the full impact of Johnson’s and Moyers’ discussion: the body language, the voice inflections, what was emphasized. Keep in mind that Johnson, being at the IMF, has actually dealt with countries that have been destroyed by incompetent and / or corrupt elites.

Moyers asked Johnson whether or not it was a problem having Geithner, who is so familiar with and to the Wall Street crowd, acting as the nation’s enforcer in the financial markets.

SIMON JOHNSON: I have no problem with poachers turning gamekeeper, right? So if you know where the bodies are buried maybe you can help us sort out the problem. And I did think the first three or four minutes of what Mr. Geithner said were very good.

As a definition of a problem, and pointing the finger clearly at the bankers, and saying that the government had been slow to react, and, of course, that included himself. I liked that. And then he started to talk about the specifics. And he said, "The compensation caps we've put in place, for the executives of these banks, are strong." And at that point I just fell out of my chair. That is not true. That is factually inaccurate, in my opinion.

Johnson explained the loopholes that will allow the banksters to take tens of millions of dollars out in bonuses, or retention awards, or whatever they end up calling it. But, it is not a comforting thing to have the Secretary of the Treasury  shown to be a blatant liar in the midst of these crises.

BILL MOYERS: Are we chumps?

SIMON JOHNSON: We'll find out. Yes, we may be. Okay. It depends on how we play this politically. It depends on what our political system does. It depends, I think, on the level of reaction. The financial system is playing us for chumps, okay? The bankers think we're chumps.


BILL MOYERS: So here's the trillion dollar question that I take from your blog, that I read at the beginning, quote, "Can this person," your new economic strategist, in this case Geithner, "really break with the vested elite that got you into this much trouble?" Have you seen any evidence this week that he's going to be tough with these guys?

SIMON JOHNSON: I'm trying to be positive. I'm trying to be supportive. I like the administration. I voted for the president. The answer to your question is, no, I haven't seen anything. But you know, perhaps next week I will. But right now, as we speak, I have a bad feeling in my stomach.

My intuition, from crises, from situations that have improved, the situations that got worse, my intuition is that this is going to get a lot worse. It's going to cost us a lot more money. And we are going down a long, dark, blind alley.

There’s a lot more detail provided in the discussion, but I’ll leave you with a snippet of Johnson explaining how to actually solve part of the problem. And this is not even the best part: Johnson explains how to set up market forces to destroy the political power of the financial oligarchy. Again, let me reiterate: you really should take the time to watch the video.

the FDIC is world class at shutting down and managing the handover of deposits, for example, from small banks. They managed IndyMac, the closure of IndyMac, beautifully. People didn't lose touch with their money for even a moment. But they can't do it to big banks, because they don't have the political power. Nobody has the political will to do it.

So you need to take an FDIC-type process. You scale it up. You say, "You haven't raised the capital privately. The government is taking over your bank. You guys are out of business. Your bonuses are wiped out. Your golden parachutes are gone." Okay? Because the bank has failed.

This is a government-supervised bankruptcy process. It's called, in the terminology of the business, it's called an intervention.

Originally posted to NBBooks on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 09:13 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips, and more below (62+ / 0-)

    Nothing less than the death of Goldman Sachs is acceptable.

    Because, it it’s too big to fail, it’s too big to exist. Even if Goldman Sachs is the least dead of the cadavers on Wall Street.

    Political Power of Just 6 Banks is the Problem

    And actually, if we, and President Obama, really want to, it is not that difficult to lock up 9,800 of the most powerful men on Wall Street, as I explain here:

    The Beast of Wall Street must be brought to Justice

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 09:15:32 PM PST

    •  Do you know how many Goldman Sachs (12+ / 0-)

      people are in government?  I don't think their death is coming from anything short of a populist revolt in the near future, or if this recession turns into the next Great Depression and really reorganizes our society over the next couple of years.

      I wish I could say we're in some kind of Second Gilded Age because the banks are more powerful than the government and the rich live obscenely while the vast majority of people are suffering, but I don't think this is any different from any other time in history, except maybe a decades in a few places in all of human history!  America was set up as an oligarchy, whether intentional or not.  When over 90% of incumbents are re-elected, when it's seen as class warfare to even talk about the disparity between the rich and the poor, when the rich live in an entirely different world than the poor and control so much more than the poor - and all of this is describing the world we live in now and the world we've been living in - it's surely an oligarchy.

      I know a family that is collectively worth over $3 billion (well, at least they were before Madoff and the whole financial crisis).  This family probably has more money than the poorest billion people - or even two billion people - on the planet combined.  And we don't live in some kind of sick oligarchy already?

      •  Michael Hudson did mince words (12+ / 0-)

        Michael Hudson on Democracy Now:

        The bankers have done insider dealing to get the government to give them or guarantee them $12 trillion of bad loans they’ve made, many of them fraudulent.

        And then they’re trying to blame the poor for all this, as if the poor are somehow exploiting the rich by taking out more loans than they can pay. Yesterday, Senator McCain said—he warned that all of this debt was going to be paid by the future generation, and we’re exploiting them. But that’s not how to think of it at all. When you have a debt that goes to a future generation, you have taxpayers paying to bondholders, just like in the nineteenth century you had the western states paying to the eastern states. So what you’ve done is given $12 trillion to the richest one percent—or ten percent of the population, and you’ve indebted the economy and the government to them for the next hundred years. You’ve created a new class of ruling families.

        And Obama has—by doing this, he’s broken with every president in history. Whenever the debts have exceeded the ability to pay, they’ve been written down to the ability to pay, either through bankruptcy or through conscious government write-down. But instead of writing down the debts, he says the creditors are not going to lose money, despite what Mr. Roubini said. They may have lost money, but they will be made whole by the government. And that’s crazy. That’s why every economic chart you see, there will be a gradual rise and then a sudden collapse. Everything is turned into a vertical fall. Prices, international shipping, employment, profits, they’ve all hit a wall. And there’s no way that the economy can recover when people have to pay interest and amortization instead of buying goods and services, or companies will have to pay their junk bond holders instead of investing in new equipment.

        I remember all those people in November and December who wrote: don't worry, Obama is way smart. And those pics of Obama with the caption, "Chill. I've got this."

        I wonder what those people think now. I hope they feel a little bit of shame.

        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

        by NBBooks on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 09:33:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Frankly, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pluto, viscerality

          I'm worried about this stimulus.  I feel like suddenly everyone is some kind of Keynesian economist.  It's the same attitude that all of these people are jumping on the bandwagon and then if they're wrong in the end, what will happen?  I don't think anyone really knows what the answer is and a bunch of people who know next to nothing about economics ranting about how great the stimulus is just worries me.

          I mean, maybe this is just a completely cynical, tired rant - but I'm seeing people all over with the same attitude you're talking about  And it's not working out.

          •  Bush was the Keynesian (0+ / 0-)

            His boys would never admit it, but they poured billions of borrowed money into the economy - even gave me $300 - all to no avail.  Of course, the Bush money went to Raytheon, Blackwater, and the like.  But no matter, it was still pump priming, even if the economy was booming.

            •  Wrong Implementation (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NoMoreLies, guyeda, chrome327, rossl

              The "Keynesian" stimulus went to the wrong demographic.  It went to the super rich who become obscenely rich.  

              The problem with that is consumer spending is roughly 70% of a nation's economic activity.  

              When 1% is garnering all the money they are the ones spending it.  That means 99% of the population either goes without or borrows to fund current consumption.  The latter is what the average consumer did which acerbated the problem as the debt holders where, by and large, the financial institutions owned or controlled by the obscenely rich; in either case they were the ones garnering the debt stream-of-payments.

              So the government was giving them money and establishing an environment wherein the primary economic activity was also giving them money.  And in both cases the flow-of-funds was from the average consumer either directly through consumer purchases or indirectly through tax and credit payments.

              And when enough consumers had run themselves into financial ruin: the Crash.

              "...[one] must still have Chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." Nietzsche

              by ATinNM on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 10:48:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  When did Obama give anyone 12 trillion? nt (0+ / 0-)
        •  Obama's advisor Larry Summers is in the same (0+ / 0-)

          'think tank' as Simon Johnson, The Peterson Institute. Not that all the members and contributors think alike and propose the same solutions.

          Somehow I am sure that President Obama is getting the same information at least that we are getting, like Johnson's proposals on Bill Moyers.

          This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

          by Agathena on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 08:49:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The diffference now is that (4+ / 0-)

        people are catching on to the game.  The failures of the oligarchy - and their crimes - can no longer be hidden.

        Beware when the slumbering beast awakes.

        •  I'm not convinced (4+ / 0-)

          What are we going to do?  An armed rebellion?  Not happening - and if it did, we've got a defense budget that's enough to quell any rebellion.  A popular uprising at the voting booths?  With all the gerrymandering, voter manipulation, voting system malfunctions, etc. that go on, that's not going to work.

          •  Don't give up (7+ / 0-)

            All it takes is a trigger event, something or someone to rally around.  It will happen.  It is true, all revolutions, peaceful or not, do require someone "on the inside" to switch sides, but that too will happen.  Jonathon Schell calls this the "revolt of the guards," the final stage of any big system-changing event.

          •  A national general srike ? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            0hio, techno, viscerality, HenryBurlingame

            get the idea going, and the next time Wall Street outrages public sensibilities, it's on.

            The one thing the oligarchs must be scared about, is the both the left and the right are boiling with rage at the banksters now.

            A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

            by NBBooks on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 10:02:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I suspect the reaction will be more organic (3+ / 0-)

              Something along the lines of the late 1960s, possibly crossed with the 1930s.  I know quite a few people that are truly on the edge - one more economic punch and they could drop everything and walk to Wash DC and stand there till something changes.  They will have nothing to lose.

              Of course, maybe we need to go to Wall Street, so we can confront the real center of government.

            •  How Very Syndicalist, Fellow Worker ;-) (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jim P, JG in MD, rossl
              A General Strike requires -- at least according to their theory -- as a precondition the existence of broad based, mass, union membership.  

              The US doesn't meet this.  

              The US Left is too small and too disorganized, unorganized, fragmented -- call it what you will -- to be able to push it.  The Unions and especially the Union leaders are too 'Gomperized' to even think about "abolishing wage slavery."

              The US Right, unfortunately, IS relatively well organized and would, I'd guess, be the ones to win in the proposed scenario.  IF things got that bad my guess is the US would end-up with a strong authoritarian state along the lines of Fascist Italy.

              But ... who knows?

              "...[one] must still have Chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." Nietzsche

              by ATinNM on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:09:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  They know where the private armies are, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JG in MD

                they have the money for them. That's part of what we've been seeing all along.

                Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

                by Jim P on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:40:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Revolution? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JG in MD

            Things to think about:

            Northern Command
            Blackwater and contract mercenaries

            But, there has to be a way!

            Pres. Obama's campaign was funded through small contributions that rival Wall St money.We the people have the power to get in the game.

            The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. - Zeno

            by yellow dog in NJ on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 04:28:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Gotta be a way (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              If our forefathers could generate a revolution on horseback with leaflets and lungpower, how is that we can't foment something useful with our ginormous email list?

              Joe Biden: Get up! Al Gore: Pray, and use your feet! Harriet Tubman: Keep going!

              by JG in MD on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 05:26:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree wholehearedly that the system (4+ / 0-)

      represents a threat to our democratic republic. But you did say something I think profound - not sure if you came up with it yourself, but I hadn't heard it before.

      if it’s too big to fail, it’s too big to exist.

      That is a truism that I believe we've learned at the highest levels (but your phrase captured it very well).

    •  I liked the link/video. Love Moyers!! One (0+ / 0-)

      thing, SIMON JOHNSON, "is a senior fellow of the Peterson Institute".

      I have as much respect for anything connected with Pete Peterson as dog shit on my boot.

      Just saying,...

      Ever see a can of worms? How they all slide around each other? One big ball of slime.

      Just saying...

      Counting one dollar per second, it would take 32 million years to count to one Quadrillion. A lot of derivatives...

      by 0hio on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 10:32:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why do you say that about the Peterson Institute? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        0hio, DBunn

        Have you got some links? It sounds like some interesting background that we are missing here.

        This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

        by Agathena on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 10:48:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Google is your friend. Pete is in favor of (0+ / 0-)

          abolishing the entitlement programs, and he believes in mandatory savings withdrawn from each pay check.

          As for the rest, google.

          Counting one dollar per second, it would take 32 million years to count to one Quadrillion. A lot of derivatives...

          by 0hio on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 09:38:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for the diary on the oligarchy! (0+ / 0-)

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 10:40:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Consensus IS emerging which mirrors this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      denise b

      It's true. Dean Baker, Joseph Stiglitz, Nouriel Roubini, Ken Rogoff, Robert Kuttner, and Paul Krugman, among many others, are all in agreement with Taleb and your article (there are slight variations, but there is a consensus).

      The infrastructure's in place; just add some sort of RTC-like entity to help expedite the clean-up, and let's get on with it.

      The alternative? To piss away $2 or $3 trillion more--at least--needlessly to prop up what are nothing more than a bunch of insolvent entities at the top of our nation's financial structure today.

      Why bother when we have proven infrastructure in place to deal with the problem as we have in the past, at little or no cost to the taxpayers, too.

      A lot of pain now eliminates the reality that we'll face a lot more pain going forward...for a very long time. As the old saying goes: "Things have to get worse before they get better." And, when it comes to this mess, it's precisely the prescription that's necessary.

      Citi and B of A are at the top of everyone's list. And, there are others. But, there are thousands of solvent banks that are ready to step up to the plate to fill their shoes.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 05:01:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  4 of those names are from The Peterson Institute (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Krugman (Advisor & Author),  Rogoff (Advisor & Author), Stiglitz (Advisor & Author), Roubini (Author). Simon Johnson is a Senior Fellow since September 2008.

        I would like to know more about this Institute and what role they play in the Obama administration.

        Larry Summers for example, is head of WH National Economic Council and he is also on Board of Directors of The Peterson Institute and Chairman of Peterson Advisory Committee.
        It looks like President Obama is already connected to The Peterson Institute through Larry Summers.

        I wonder if the President has already heard of Simon Johnson's proposals.

        This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

        by Agathena on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 06:42:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "bad feeling in my stomach" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not

    Might be time to buy Pepto Bismol stock.   I'm starting to get this weird growth around my chest and head, kinda looks like tin foil.  Making me think all kinds of strange things.    

    "Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" Albert Einstein

    by BigAlinWashSt on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 09:23:20 PM PST

  •  Whoa! When the the former chief ec of the IMF (6+ / 0-)

    says this:

    The financial system is playing us for chumps, okay? The bankers think we're chumps.

    This is news and needs to be on the rec list.


    I survived the Bush Administration, 2000-2008

    by Publius2008 on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 09:35:11 PM PST

    •  It didn't make the rec list (0+ / 0-)

      while another diary with 4 less recommends did make it. I don't understand how the diary ladder works. It must be the timing. A diary needs to get a minimum recommends in a certain length of time.

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 05:43:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is all adding up, isn't it? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ctsteve, rossl, yellow dog in NJ

    Regular folks in this country may not understand how the economic system works or know what CDOs and such are, but a few words they know from first hand everyday experience:  ripoff, chump, fraud, and the like.  

    We are about to find out what happens when the public finds out they have been had.  

  •  It's scary but not the end of our system. (0+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, our system will survive this crash.  Our physical and governmental structures may change (in fact, I believe they will) but not our basic system of government.  

    "I won." - President Barack Obama

    by rainmanjr on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 09:35:56 PM PST

  •  If you watched the Financial Services Committee (3+ / 0-)

    on Wednesday the Masters of the Universe could barely keep the smirks off of their faces.

    CSpan, the afternoon session, 34 minutes in, Mike Capuano (D-MA)

  •  When they played the clip of the exec saying that (3+ / 0-)

    they would rename bonus's too I believe achievement awards, it highlighted how the ruling class , still doesn't get it.

    Thanks for posting this. And thanks as always to Bill Moyers.

    Republicans : Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor

    by ctsteve on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 09:46:22 PM PST

  •  Obama should fire Geithner and hire this guy (3+ / 0-)

    What the hell is Obama thinking?

  •  Anybody else having a problem (0+ / 0-)

    with this page loading properly? The comments at the end are all messed up. I keep reloading, and nothing.

  •  Saw it (4+ / 0-)

    Simon Johnson also said, in so many words, that the house banking committee is bought and paid for by the banks.

    Moyers also recommended next Tuesday's Frontline show which will examine what went wrong.  

  •  Each people gets to choose for itself (2+ / 0-)

    The people of Iceland, being hit first hardest, have gone first and chosen for themselves:  NOT chumps.

    Everyone else taking positions in line.  Each nation gets to choose for itself.  Chumps or Not Chumps.  It's up to us.

  •  Bank insolvency, the political class' odd silence (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena, yoduuuh do or do not

    Ain't nobody holding office even mentions that the banks are insolvent, and that's the first problem to be solved. Weird, since there are economists galore, and citizens in tens of millions who know this to be the case.

    Obama? Democrats? Republicans? Media? None of them are discussing the central economic fact of our day.

    If you get the time, go to and you'll see that the banking/financial industries pour millions into buying politicians. Read the bios and it's a revolving door between the industry and important government posts.

    I'm getting the idea, when we hear "bipartisan," that there's a third "party" specifically excluded: the American people.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:36:48 PM PST

  •  Saw it on PBS and read all the comments. nt (3+ / 0-)

    It is like everybody and I mean all of us are standing first with our mouths open in disbelief that this corruption could be this extensive and then silently screaming the horror that no one wants to do anything about it.

    I am now watching Charlie Rose with the head of the IMF whose stance is that essentially the masses have no choice but to bail out the system.

    I am sorry but I can think of a lot of ways to get out of this without doing that.  I am unwilling to be a chump but I seriously wonder if we can get that consensus even on this site.

  •  Crashing The Gates - Economically (3+ / 0-)

    Simon Johnson's FDIC solution to breaking up the largest banks has to be done soon. Populists need to use the language of the bailout ans stimulus bills to demand immediate action. Stress tests are stopped if the patient is having a heart attack.

  •  Thank you for the diary (0+ / 0-)

    I thought Johnson made compelling points.

    I have been against TARP/TALF - whatever the acronym of the week is - since Paulson grandstanded on Capitol Hill.

    I continue to ask the question, the GOP made such noise over the Stimulus package - yet I have not heard one word out of them about all the money going out the back door to the banks.
    Investing in the American public is going to cause unprecedented national debt - yet throwing ( 3 or 4 times as much) taxpayer money at the banks, is not?
    It makes no sense.

    The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. - Zeno

    by yellow dog in NJ on Sat Feb 14, 2009 at 04:38:31 AM PST

  •  You can't trust Johnson (0+ / 0-)

    he worked for Peterson.  Peterson has devote a small fortune to take down Social Security.

    Does it make sense that the rulers are the losers?  It doesn't to me.  

    The insurance companies seem to always thrive and get the breaks.

    Here is an example. Taxes on tobacco for those who roll/stuff their own went up $24 a pound federal plus 32% of the price is now the new tax in our state. This tax starts April 1st.  Every state went up.  This money will be used to pay for SCHIP the children's insurance.  No one can find fault with children having insurance.  They are the healthiest group to insure, so their insurance should cost the least.  One can find fault with the unfairness of taxing addicted poor people that much.

    Insurance companies have went up every year on premiums, but no one even talks about it in our government.  They donate a lot to the coffers of those running for office.

    Did you know those running for office get to keep the money that is left after the election is over?  At least that is what I have read.

  •  What has been said about the banks (0+ / 0-)

    is true, too but my point is they are not alone, nor the most powerful.

    I read yesterday that they want to loan, but no one wants to borrow.  Who knew?

    Johnson may have ulterior motives is my main point.  David Walker was also part of government, then walked out into the arms of Peterson and has worked against Social Security and Medicare every since.

    Huffington Post has an article written by Soros, who believes the banks should be rescued.  I find myself being partial to Soros simply because he is a Democrat.

    It could be the biggest problem is that the countries overseas are involved and they can't be shortchanged as easily as the average American, so something has to be done that will satisfy them.  When you are talking about that much money, that is a big problem.

    Also, does anyone know how it will hurt the bond and equity holders.

    Some would like to see America go bankrupt, then those with money will rewrite the laws.  Some of them have already said that only the poor will get Social Security, if that happens.

    Toppling FDRs New Deal is the golden ring that republican leaders strive for.  Average republicans have paid for these programs and need them, too.

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