An Open Letter to Rufus Gifford
You and I have been carrying on an e-mail correspondence for some time now. You ask for money to help re-elect President Obama and hold out the possibility I might be selected to have dinner with the President. I e-mail back politely declining, usually with a brief explanation. I’m pretty sure your staff wasn’t forwarding my e-mails.
Last Sunday, I got an e-mail noting that I haven’t donated, and asking me to answer a couple of questions about why. Finally, I thought, two-way communication. So I clicked over, answered the poll with a polite explanation. A week has passed, and you and your colleagues continue to ask for money, and volunteers call me and ask me to join the reelection effort, but still no response.
Let’s be clear. This isn’t 2008.
1. I won’t give any money.
2. I won’t make phone calls or travel to another state at my expense on election day to help out.
3. I haven’t decided how or whether to vote this November.*
Here’s the polite explanation.
The people who run the financial sector crashed the economy in 2008. Every single player in that industry was complicit in the failure: mortgage originators, the lawyers and banksters who created RMBSs, the lawyers and banksters who wrote the offering materials, the lawyers who signed off, the Trustees of the REMICs, the selling brokers, the intermediaries, the lawyers who devised the MERS system, the owners who didn’t fund its operations, the originators that didn’t even file with MERS.
Legislators destroyed the regulatory controls that protected us from these predators. Presidents appointed hostile regulators who didn’t care. The regulators hired enforcers who didn’t enforce but looked for jobs in the private sector. They wrote rules at the behest of the banks and mortgage originators. Even when honest people told them about the problems, they did nothing. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac joined in with weakened standards. OFHEO, their regulator, did nothing. Alan Greenspan and the Fed cheered all of them on.
And things took their natural course into the slaughterhouse. Americans lost trillions of dollars in wealth. Millions were thrown out of work.
The only solutions anyone considered came from people who caused the disaster. Pour money into the financial sector they said, and Obama did, both as a leading Senator and then as President. Hire the people responsible for creating a failed system to advise you how to fix it. Obama did. Don’t pass cramdown, which would have helped millions. Obama didn’t. Don’t help those homeowners: it’s all their fault and we need to suck as much money out of them as possible to stabilize the creepy banks. Obama agreed.
Fine. Once we realized that legislators from both both parties in Congress were in bed with banksters and their sleazy lobbyists, it was hard to imagine decent legislation.
But I absolutely expected Obama to enforce the law. He didn’t.
Despite all the evidence collected by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations under Senators Levin and Coburn and the volumes of data collected in private litigation, he hasn’t prosecuted anyone from Wall Street. Yes, there were a few officers of small bank and those clowns from Taylor Whitaker and Bean, but where were the perp walks for the jerks at Goldman Sachs, AIG and JPMorgan Chase, and the rest of the slime?
It’s too hard, according to Attorney General Eric Holder. US Attorney Preet Bharara is too busy with meaningless insider trading cases. André Birotte Jr. in Los Angeles and Jenny Durkan in Seattle can’t find anyone to prosecute at firms like New Century, Countrywide and Washington Mutual.
That’s a failure I can’t accept.
So, you see, I’d make a lousy dinner companion. I suggest you hold those dinner reservations for people who think politics is like professional football, where you root for a team just because your dad did, or because you like the color of their uniforms. There’s no point in ruining a perfectly good evening with cranks like me.
But I wasn’t going to be invited to dinner anyway, was I? The President doesn’t care what I think, or what any of us progressives think. He doesn’t even talk to us, except to call us retards through his Chief of Staff.
I doubt you’ll miss my money, because all those banksters Obama didn’t prosecute will, as a sign of deep gratitude, step up to replace it with 100 times as much. And that video at the top? It’s a game we play at this site. See if you can guess why I picked it.
Anyway, please keep sending me those e-mails, but don’t get hurt feelings if I don’t respond.
*I live in Tennessee. This is a bright red state. My vote is irrelevant.
** That’s my real name. You can learn more about me here.