According to an Associated Press report, the Democrats, worried about their re-election chances in 2010, are preparing to resurrect George Bush as the bogey man and castigate "Republicans as cozy with Wall Street." It's the latter proposition that that leaves no cynical stone unturned, apparently.
To minimize expected losses in next fall’s election, President Barack Obama’s party is testing a line of attack that resurrects George W. Bush as a bogeyman and castigates Republicans as cozy with Wall Street.
Obama has surrounded himself with cozy, Wall Street insiders, and his policies have preserved the Wall Street status quo, while more Americans than ever are relying on food stamps as their only income,
6 million total. Here in New Orleans we are used to indifference, as we wrestle with 11,000 plus homeless since Katrina, the highest rate in the nation per capita, an indifferent HUD approach that refuses to release any more section 8 vouchers, and demolished the vast majority of public housing units, a policy Obama continues. I wonder though how indifference will taste to the rest of the nation, as states continue to grapple with falling tax revenue and slashed social services.
Two writers from the Asia Times have an interesting take on Wall Street's relevance, that is worth a read:
Even if we were to set aside the fact that Wall Street banks have grabbed a growing and disproportionate share of revenues and profits from the US economy, the concentration of wealth acquired by Wall Street bankers has ominous implications for the US as a cohesive society going forward into the future. The real incomes of middle-class American families have stagnated for the past 25 years, while the income of those in the financial industry have increased as never before. If Wall Street banks continue to amass wealth at this rate, the economic equilibrium of the nation will be at risk. Clearly, Wall Street banks have subtracted from, rather than added to, our economic prosperity and national wellbeing.
The taste of indifference mixed in with cold cynicism just might be a bitter stew that voters choose not to eat. Just look at Obama's campaign contributions, from Open Secrets.org:
University of California $1,591,395
Goldman Sachs $994,795
Harvard University $854,747
Microsoft Corp $833,617
Google Inc $803,436
Citigroup Inc $701,290
JPMorgan Chase & Co $695,132
Time Warner $590,084
Sidley Austin LLP $588,598
Stanford University $586,557
National Amusements Inc $551,683
UBS AG $543,219
Wilmerhale Llp $542,618
Skadden, Arps et al $530,839
IBM Corp $528,822
Columbia University $528,302
Morgan Stanley $514,881
General Electric $499,130
US Government $494,820
Latham & Watkins $493,835
Factor in that the veneer is being peeled away from the so-called financial reform legislation, and what we have is the prospect of more bubbles, more government bailouts, and a possible voter revolt with knowledge of this:
Here are some of the nuggets I gleaned from days spent reading Frank’s handiwork:
-- For all its heft, the bill doesn’t once mention the words "too-big-to-fail," the main issue confronting the financial system. Admitting you have a problem, as any 12- stepper knows, is the crucial first step toward recovery.
-- Instead, it supports the biggest banks. It authorizes Federal Reserve banks to provide as much as $4 trillion in emergency funding the next time Wall Street crashes. So much for "no-more-bailouts" talk. That is more than twice what the Fed pumped into markets this time around. The size of the fund makes the bribes in the Senate’s health-care bill look minuscule.
-- Oh, hold on, the Federal Reserve and Treasury Secretary can’t authorize these funds unless "there is at least a 99 percent likelihood that all funds and interest will be paid back." Too bad the same models used to foresee the housing meltdown probably will be used to predict this likelihood as well.
-- The bill also allows the government, in a crisis, to back financial firms’ debts. Bondholders can sleep easy -- there are more bailouts to come.
-- The legislation does create a council of regulators to spot risks to the financial system and big financial firms. Unfortunately this group is made up of folks who missed the problems that led to the current crisis.
-- Don’t worry, this time regulators will have better tools. Six months after being created, the council will report to Congress on "whether setting up an electronic database" would be a help. Maybe they’ll even get to use that Internet thingy.
Given that most voters can't subsist on a diet of eye candy, there's problems ahead. You can either wait for bad legislation to pass, and the disastrous after-effects to take hold to wake up and take action, or you can wake up now, and challenge this president into progressive legislation.
Oh, and, endless war should also be an issue, as the rhetoric for vengeance, uh, I mean, "retribution", is heating up, and the U.S. may be opening another front, at least with unmanned drones, in Yemen. Feel safer yet?
I'll leave you with this truly hopeful, encouragement:
Rather than crossing our fingers and hoping President Obama will do the right thing - a losing game if ever there was one - it is high time we regained our critical faculties and started to build popular movements that will compel Obama Administration to deliver the positive changes we all desire. As the freed slave Frederick Douglass noted, "power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."