Did Democrats Just Set a Brilliant Trap ... For Themselves?
(Huffington Post) -- by Richard Eskow --
The country needs meaningful financial reform a lot more than it needs more political analysis. Yesterday, however, the two became even more intertwined than usual. By compromising on good policy on Thursday, it looks like Democrats have outsmarted themselves politically. Now the only fix left for them is to push for the best possible policies going forward.
Polls have consistently shown that the economy is the most important issue on people's minds, and the one most likely to determine how they vote. With yesterday's defeat of the Brown/Kaufman SAFE Act -- an amendment which would have broken up the big banks and put a cap on risk-taking -- the Democrats left themselves open to the charge that they've failed to stand up to the big banks or prevent another bailout.
The public understands Too Big to Fail. Unlike many aspects of financial reform, the Brown/Kaufman amendment was simple to understand: In the words of Alan Greenspan, if you're too big to fail you're too big to exist. Democrats not only let a critical piece of reform die yesterday. They also lost the political high ground.
At almost the same time, the President also chose to meet with chief Too Big to Fail-er Jamie Dimon on Monday. The optics and timing of that move are terrible. What were they thinking at the White House? Dimon runs JPMorgan Chase, which controls 44% of the derivatives market in the US and is one of four banks that control 94% of that market ( talk about "Too Big to Fail"). Dimon was there as part of a dinner with the Business Council, whose other attendees included the CEO of Wellpoint/Anthem. Obama could have let it be known that he pressed the case for real reform during the meeting, but chose not to do so.
Then there was yesterday's compromise to Bernie Sanders' "Audit the Fed" amendment, which means it may well pass next week. The compromise was supported by the White House (which released its statement so quickly that it raised the possibility that they actually participated in negotiations.) These two actions mean that the public may learn just how many billions or trillions they spent to bail out the big banks, while the memory of Democrats' inability to stop those big banks is still fresh in their minds.
The same thought may have been mind when the compromise audit language was drafted. The Fed has until December 1 of this year to post its bailout information - which, conveniently, is after the November elections...
In an environment where the economy is the number one issue on voters' mind and public hostility toward big banks is extraordinarily high, Democrats took the one bold simple step the public easily understands off the table (Brown/Kaufman). Then they compromised on an proposal to audit how our money (yes, it's our money) is being spent through the Fed. Now they're in a position where embarrassing information will come to light if it passes, information that will further inflame the public against the same big bankers they just protected by defeated Brown/Kaufman...MORE...LINK
Chris Moore comments:
It's simultaneously insightful and disgusting to read political operatives like Eskow openly discussing the political implications of events like those that are taking place in Congress today revolving around financial reform. On the one hand, he makes some great points about how the Democrats have essentially undermined the cause of reforming the corrupt financial system that has destroyed the American economy in the same way that Republicans did when they were in power. On the other, he regrets that the corrupt Republicans now have some political weapons to use against the corrupt Democrats. Why does it matter? We're going to end up with the same corrupt political establishment no matter which "team" is in power.
And really, that's the problem with politics in America today. It's approached by so many of these vacuous “elites” like team sports -- a college football game, say -- where the "Left" is going to strategize, politic, and root for their team regardless of the policy it produces or the benefit of the political outcome, and the "Right" is going to do the same thing.
This mentality is indicative of the game-playing, short-sighted arrested development of leftist-liberal Capitalist society in general, wherein so long as one's team wins any given game, society as a whole can be damned.
College-age team fanatics don't really care what's going on in the rest of society either, as long as they can shop-'til-they-drop for team paraphernalia, and their pre-game beer kegs and post-game victory parties can continue indefinitely. What a sad statement on what passes for "leadership" in contemporary America -- politically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally stunted "elite" party animals, materialists and cliquish, group-think drones engaged in political and social melodrama and one-upsmanship even as the American Titanic splits into pieces and begins to sink.
These people are pathetic. Worse than that, they're dangerous -- like drunk teenagers out joy riding with a case of beer and a shotgun, or teen, mall-rat princesses out on a shopping spree with stolen credit cards -- who have all somehow managed to convince the entire town that they are pillars of society.