Jun 302010
 

To get to that stage, the next step in the sabotage has to be continued high unemployment with the added stink of unemployed Americans losing their benefits and health insurance (no COBRA subsidies). In the simplest terms, the economic ripple effect will radiate concentrically into a decline in consumer spending, increased foreclosures, a lag in the house market and so forth. And due to a lethal mixture of Republican cynicism, voter ignorance and traditional media hackery, the president will ultimately be blamed for the continued pain — paving the way for Wingnut Republican President X and mission accomplished.

Bob Cesca, Huffington Post

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Humans have a staggering capacity for denial and rationalization; otherwise it would not be possible for today’s Republican Party to exist. I’ve listened to their rationale as they posture in Congress, and now I read the echoes of those thoughts here, on Huffington Post, and I’m forced to come to the conclusion that there is no ethical argument for how a human being can support today’s Republican Party.

Bush and his criminal Republican cronies doubled the federal deficit and raped our country, and then paid billions to the perpetrators while sending 30 million American citizens to the unemployment line . . . and now those same Republican elitists have become budget conscious and fight to deny help for the very people whose lives they turned upside down.

Of course, the Republicans will vote to support military spending or subsidize Big Oil, but then they turn around and block stimulus for the economy and help for unemployed Americans. They contend that the deficit is such an issue that it cannot be ignored, but as always, their concern is selective.

The truth of the matter is that WW2 ended with the federal debt at 122% of the GDP. We’re presently at around 94%. We climbed out of debt after the war by raising taxes on the rich. Obviously, the rich don’t want that, so we debate stupid notions like — quit spending.

This is the new Republican prescription, even though cutting spending right now, in the middle of a recession with double-digit unemployment would be the worst possible medicine. We don’t need to cut; short term, we actually need to spend more. What ended the Great Depression was government spending. That spending did not climb to levels sufficient for a recovery until WW2 broke out, but once that happened jobs were created and the depression came to an end.

We can cut spending, and if we do, the economy will eventually recover, but average Americans need to ask themselves, “What will the recovered nation look like?” The answer is: with the rich even richer and the middle class closer to extinction.

This is all about Republican sabotage, and the worse things get, the better the Republican’s chance to regain power in November. The bottom line is that, if you’re part of the middle or lower class, they don’t give a flying fuck about your wellbeing. So, suck it up America — the wealthy will weather the storm without hardship, but they need your sacrifice to bring about a new normal — a new America without the nuisance of a middle class — a Republican America.


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Jun 262010
 

The House and Senate have reached an agreement and we have a financial reform bill. That means we’ll see significant improvements over the status quo as it existed yesterday. It also means we still haven’t addressed the gravest risks to the economy. And for those of us who care about this country, it means that we still have work to do.

Richard (RJ) Eskow, Huffington Post

President of the United States Franklin D. Roo...
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I agree with the major premise of this article and support efforts to combat the Republican attempt to regain control. The conservatives have proven that they care nothing about the average American and will say and do anything to return to power.

That said, I think the article is a little disingenuous on multiple points. The first and most glaring is the comparison between Obama and FDR. It is true that FDR had an appreciation for fiscal conservatism, but he was also very bold in his positions to spend and promote the common person.

It was during his first 100 days that the New Deal was born. In his first inaugural address, FDR openly condemned the same caliber of criminals who Obama has brought into his inner circle:

The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

And while FDR did balance the standard budget, he also created a second, “emergency” budget. It was through the emergency budget that funded the jobs programs that cut unemployment in half between the time he took office and 1936.

Once again, we need jobs. We don’t need temporary stimulus; we need federal government investment in infrastructure. Unless that happens, we will see a double-dip recession. What would FDR do? What will Obama do?

FDR did finally succumb to the pressure of the deficit hawks in 1938 and cut back spending. The result was that after growing at a compound annual rate of 9% since 1933, the economy took its first step backward.

We need Obama to take a lesson and stop playing pragmatic politician. His bent for passing marginal legislation is nothing more than a façade over business as usual. We need him to stand and be counted. I’d like to see Obama follow the model of FDR and call it the way he did on election eve 1936:

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

We need bold, courageous leadership, not more milquetoast. This financial “reform” legislation is just the latest farce of a captured Congress. And the notion that, as Obama has said, it’s “most significant financial reform since the 1930s” is patently absurd. Has he forgotten about the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, the repeal of Glass-Steagall that set the stage for the Great Banking Rip-off of 2007? Perhaps he was simply referring to the heft of the 2,000 page legislation?


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Jun 242010
 

If the Senate accepts the House changes, however, one of two things will happen, said Michael Greenberger, a University of Maryland professor and the former head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets. “Either we’re going to have a bill that’s regulation in name only or we going to have no regulation, which means no consumer protection infrastructure, no resolution authority and the whole of the benefits the reform provides,” said Greenberger.

Ryan Grim, Huffington Post

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Another sellout of the American people. Does anyone really think we’ll wind up with something resembling real financial reform? The dynamic works something like this:

The Democrats feign reform. Their original legislation lacks teeth, but it does contain certain stipulations that Wall Street opposes. The Republicans meanwhile do absolutely NOTHING to help and instead attempt to block even the meager “reform” offered by the Democrats. The Democrats then respond by proposing compromises that are ostensibly needed in order to gain passage. These new offers further weaken legislation that was already marginal at best.

In the end, we wind up with either legislation with so many loopholes that it really changes nothing or no legislation at all — either way the status quo is maintained.

The Congressional maneuvering is really just a dance to present the appearance of legitimate government. In reality, neither side really wants any change. They have their big money benefactors to worry about. The financial sector spends a pile of money to ensure that Congress meets their needs — over $20 million between the securities/investment and commercial banking lobbies thus far in the 2009/2010 election cycle. Together, their spending is second only to lawyers and law firms.

Real finance reform would not only address derivatives but also force size limits and leverage ratios on the banks. We’re better off passing nothing than this sugar pill.

This same scenario repeats itself on every major issue. Healthcare was ostensibly about providing needed services to Americans without. Of course, the only way to achieve that without deepening the federal debt was to incorporate the public option. But since a public option would have created real competition for the medical lobby, it was quickly dropped. There weren’t enough votes to get is passed. Why? Because between doctors, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, and other healthcare services, there’s been nearly $43 million in campaign cash this term alone.

The sad truth is that the American Congress serves only a very small group of Americans. They are captured by Big-Money, and we will not see any change until and unless The People join together, from both sides of the political debate, and coalesce around the topic of campaign finance reform. Public campaign financing is already working in several states in the form of Clean Elections. And there’s a bipartisan bill in House and also the Senate to bring similar reform to Washington.

With public campaign financing, we just might get our politicians back to work for the people. Actually, since estimates place their efforts spent on fund raising at 20 percent to 40 percent of their time, we just might actually get them back to work — period. Couple public financing with preferential voting, which would allow a significant increase in votes for third party candidates, and we may see a revitalization of government. Add term limits and solid bars closing the revolving lobbyist door, and we just might return to a government of the people, by the people, for the people.


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