A Government That Doesn’t Work

Currently, the Republican-led 112th Congress is on pace to be the least productive in history. Now no matter what you think the size of government should be, government should at least be effective, right? It is no accident that the Republicans like “small government” (as a Orwell disciple, I am not a fan of “Big Government”) and run such an ineffective Congress. Big business interests give tons of money to Republicans to act just the way they have been acting. The SEC lawyer who implemented Dodd-Frank is now walking through the revolving door, right to a banking firm. This shows you how serious Dodd-Frank regulates the big banks. The number one organization meeting with government officials over Dodd-Frank? Goldman Sachs. JP Morgan Chase met with government officials 73 times and Bank of America 55 times over the bill. Can we please stop calling the bill “financial reform”? Republicans are also cutting funding for the SEC to help out their Wall Street buddies. The Republicans in the Financial Crisis Probe leaked documents to lobbyists to give them information, compromising the investigation. Republicans in the House also voted to limit what the EPA could do on pollution standards. Statistics show that corporate campaign donations are the reason that the tax burden in the US falls primarily on individuals and small businesses that do not have the resources to buy politicians.



Typical liberal policies on social issues are making a step forward (besides perhaps abortion), while the economic debate has been shifted so far to pro-corporate capitalism that liberal economics are simply dismissed. As semi-reported by some outlets, and talked about here, the main reason gay marriage passed in New York was because of wealthy libertarian donors inciting the GOP in the state to support the bill. The Washington Post rightly called “the left” zomie-like, half dead and half alive. The two biggest culprits are obviously the Democratic Party and money in politics. Big money from Big finance always out raises unions and other leftish groups. This obviously means that Wall Street is able to donate more to candidates than liberal economic interests. This is played out by the Democratic Party becoming more and more pro-Wall Street, and still getting the progressive vote. This leads to other-wise well meaning “liberals” supporting the party, even when the party does not stand up for its liberal base (which it rarely, if ever does). Rachel Maddow has been taking heat from Obama supporters for pointing out that Obama is wrong on gay marriage (which he has repeatedly said that he does not believe in). The administration is currently fighting with courts over DADT, arguing that it is being repealed too fast. No surprises here, but Obama and the Democrats are continuing to say they are open to Medicare and Medicaid cuts. The Progressive Change Campaign Committe is becoming the latest group to threaten to drop support for Obama for attempting to make cuts in Medicare and Social Security. 97% of Move On members that were polled said they voted for Obama in 08. The majority say the will still vote for him and donate to him, but draw the line at cuts in Social Security. Not at the wars, not at assassinations, not at bloody coups, not at extending tax cuts or refusing to punish Wall Street, only Social Security. Now I bet most Move On members are good people, and I bet most have similar views on how a society should be run as I do, but because the allure of parties, they blindly support Democrats while the party carries out many of the same policies as the Republican party. The National Education Association, a major teacher union, is now endorsing Obama’s reelection. This is despite his very anti-teacher views on education and his lack of action for the middle class in general, but as always the unions in America fall in line and endorse the Democratic Party. In a recent interview, Ralph Nader shows this frustration as people tell him to run, and then vote for Democrats instead of for him. Rahm Emmanuel is firing 625 workers in Chicago as he continues to gut unions. And this was a guy that Obama put in to run his administration (and the unions supported Emmanuel for the Chicago election). This week, Obama did the typical Obama thing and backed down on the Elizabeth Warren appointment for the Consumer Protection Agency. Instead he is nominating a guy named Richard Corday, an attorney general for Ohio. Republicans are saying they will not nominate anyone to the position without changes in the Dodd-Frank legislation. Obama is not dumb, he knows this. So one wonders exactly what he is doing. I have long been saying that Warren is no radical and may not even be on our side, as Geithner has been publicly (its hard to tell what he is doing privately) supporting her, which isn’t good news. She does have a personality cult that raises money though as the Progressive Change Campaign Comittee raised 15,000 for Warren in 4 hours. The Republican congressman that became famous for attacking Warren is now getting big donations for the big banks and financial institutions. Now we may know why Corday has been selected instead, as he has been a regular Democratic donor (although not a huge one). The progressive blogosphere and editorials like this guy, and he has a semi-good record in Ohio, but it doesn’t really matter, he won’t be confirmed.



Barry Ritholtz wrote last year:

“The President was swept into office on a wave of Anti-Bush sentiment. The stock market was in freefall, credit was frozen, the recession already 13 months old. As Rahm Emanuel said, “Never waste a good crisis.” A strong leader would have taken advantage of the moment, of the opportunity.

And what an opportunity it was: Over the prior 3 decades, the economy of the United States had been “financialized.” We became much more involved in ‘financial engineering’ than any other more productive engineering. Along with this financialization came increased revenue for the biggest banks and investment houses; greater profits, influence, and power. A wave of deregulation swept over the sector, freeing the banks from meddling oversight. (italics his)

This was the environment in which the President came into office. What did he do in this scenario?

He appointed two of the architects of the crisis to major White House economic positions: Lawrence Summers as CEA Chair, and Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary.”

Sure, the Republicans are awful, but the Democrats haven’t proved themselves to be any better.


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