DES MOINES — The afternoon ran cloudy toward evening, and there were no camera crews in the old industrial area down at the end of 15th Street here. There were no television lights to illuminate the darkening skies. There was nobody in a suit. There was nobody with a microphone. There were no talking heads. There were no consultants. As far as you could tell from this small, battered place, there were no Iowa caucuses.
The Central Iowa Shelter was filling up for the night and its dormitory rooms were already past capacity. Some people were going to have to sleep in the battered leather chairs lined up, row on row, most of their seats split down the middle, at the television end of the dining hall. Every night, there are a couple of dozen people who have to sleep in the chairs because there are no beds left. The shelter turns nobody away. ...
[The shelter's executive director, Tony Timm, says:] "Our numbers here are going up. The beds are full everywhere. Sitting on the non-profit side, I know that budgets have to be balanced. When we have more need than we can fill, it would be really nice to see some top-down leadership to do the collaboration that they keep asking us to do. The reality is that people still don't want to acknowledge that there's a bigger issue. We haven't had any candidates down here, haven't had any face time to share our concerns." Tony Timm takes the next few minutes talking about the new all-purpose facility that's being built across the street that will be five times as large as the present shelter. They are expecting demand to stay strong enough to fill it.
In the last few days here, I have heard ad nauseam — and I do mean nauseam — about reviving the economy and revitalizing the American dream, and unleashing the American spirit so we can all invent the iPhone again. It's as though there were no real human consequences of the great looting of the national economy, only political ones. It's as though there are no human lives affected, only arguments. It's as though spiriting away the national wealth was distant and largely theoretical. Just this afternoon, Willard Romney, who has been getting some points from the largely naive for tying his economic proposals to "the concerns of the middle class," told an interviewer that "As far as I'm concerned, somebody who's fallen from middle class to poverty, in my opinion is still middle class."
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2011:
Bloomberg has a depressingly comprehensive look at how Wall Street won in the financial reform debate, despite having nearly brought the global economy to ruin and being the beneficiary of huge bailouts that saved their collective asses. ...
Bloomberg reporter Christine Harper argues that they succeeded in blocking more extensive and effective reforms in a number of ways, starting with influence on the Hill with an "army of lobbyists" and campaign contributions, but more importantly the "revolving door between government and banking offices contributed to a mind-set that what’s good for Wall Street is good for Main Street." That included two very prominent actors in the reform: Geithner and Summers, who had taken part in creating the system that reformers were trying to remake. The voices that dominated in the debate were on the side of financial institutions.