Friday, May 07, 2010

Wall Street Banksters Getting Their Money's Worth From "Conservatives"


When I woke up yesterday some talking head on CNN was babbling about how even Hank Paulson supports re-regulating Wall Street-- just not too much. And, basically, that's a good summation of the conservative (bipartisan) plan-- enough superficial regulation to give the press something to kvell over while not doing anything to upset the applecart-- the applecart being in this case the $1.3 BILLION the financial sector has paid off congressmembers since 1990. Their share of the big rip-off put $740,282,488 into the career trajectories of Republicans and $630,425,940 to work for the Democrats, overwhelmingly conservative Democrats who work with the Republicans to make sure the banksters have all the leeway they need to rip off the public-- you know, "Democrats" like Joe Lieberman ($10,084,996), Arlen Specter ($6,406,258), Max Baucus ($4,790,487), Evan Bayh ($4,393,347), Ben Nelson ($2,844,056), Mary Landrieu ($2,500,584) and, of course, Blanche Lincoln ($2,447,809).

At 3 in the afternoon there was a nearly party-line vote-- Republicans Olympia Snowe, Chuck Grassley (who had just gotten word he could very well lose his Senate seat in November) and Ben Nelson voting with the Democrats-- to derail the Republican proposal to limit financial reform. The amendment, proposed by Richard Shelby and Miss McConnell, was meant to render the new consumer protection agency powerless.
For nearly a year, the two parties have wrestled over the appropriate role for a new consumer watchdog, and Thursday afternoon's vote underscored how the issue remains the most divisive, partisan element in the broader debate over how to revamp financial regulations. Even President Obama weighed in to excoriate Republicans for trying to "gut consumer protections" and vowed that he would "not allow amendments like this one written by Wall Street's lobbyists to pass for reform."

The Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress have pushed for a powerful new consumer financial protection agency that would guard against predatory and abusive practices in mortgages, credit cards and other such products. The House approved a stand-alone new agency in December without a single GOP vote.

Republicans, along with a bevy of business and banking interests, have remained adamant in their opposition to the new agency, insisting that it would represent a vast government overreach. They argue that it would burden smaller companies with additional regulation, increase consumer costs and stifle financial innovation. Democrats have countered that numerous regulators charged with looking out for consumer interests failed in that duty during the lead up to the financial crisis.

Dodd's bill would create an independent consumer protection bureau, housed within the Federal Reserve, which could write and enforce rules protecting borrowers from abuse by lenders. The proposed location of the watchdog is a nod to Republicans and conservative Democrats who had opposed a stand-alone new agency. But Dodd's legislation maintains the proposed watchdog's autonomy. It would have a dedicated budget and an independent leader appointed by the president. A council of other regulators could veto rules put forward by the new agency, but only by a two-thirds vote.

The Republican alternative would have created a consumer protection division within the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Any rules it created would have to win approval by the agency's board of directors. The proposal also would have kept in place the doctrine of preemption, which has allowed big banks to answer solely to federal regulators.

...Democrats and the Obama administration dismissed the GOP alternative as an attempt to protect the interests of the financial industry. Obama, Dodd and other Democrats called the Republican proposals "worse than the status quo."

"I will not allow amendments like this one written by Wall Street's lobbyists to pass for reform," Obama said in a statement. "This amendment will significantly weaken consumer protection oversight, includes dangerous carve outs for payday lenders, debt collectors, and other financial services operations, and hurts the ability of community and local banks to compete by creating an unlevel playing field with their non-bank competitors."

Sounds good? No-- sounds better than what the corrupt conservatives want to do but not a lot better. Listen to how Russ Feingold put it today when he threatened to vote against the final package if it's as tarted up with Wall Street lobbyists' tricks as it is now. He's insisting on ending "too big to fail" and on restoring the Glass-Steagall protections, “We simply cannot afford to continue down the path policymakers have set over the last thirty years. The test for this legislation is a simple one - whether or not it will prevent another financial crisis.” He's cosponsoring an amendment filed by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) to require large financial institutions that are already too big to fail, and pose a major threat to the financial system, to divest until they are no longer a threat. Last night Feingold was one of 36 senators to vote for Sherrod Brown's and Ted Kaufman's amendment that would have limited the size of institutions to prevent them from becoming “too big to fail.” 61 senators, from both sides of the aisle kept faith with the banksters and voted it down-- virtually all the Republicans (except Shelby, Ensign and Coburn) plus most of the egregiously corrupt Democrats, from Dianne Feinstein, Mary Landrieu, Tom Carper and Tim Johnson to Mark Warner, Chuck Schumer, both the slimy Nelsons and Robert Menendez. Along the same lines, the single most corrupt member of the Senate, John McCain, was caught stuffing Chamber of Commerce cash up his ass while promising to oppose everything they want him to oppose.
Today, while the Senate continued to debate Wall Street reform, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) ventured south of the Capitol to a fundraiser hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Years ago, when McCain still considered himself a “maverick,” McCain and the Chamber clashed bitterly as McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts and pushed for campaign finance reform to rein in corporate power over elections.

ThinkProgress approached McCain as he walked to the fundraiser from his car. Asked if he supports new campaign finance reforms, McCain said no, and said that Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) bill does not include disclosure requirements for unions. In fact, the DISCLOSE Act would force ads funded by unions to reveal the same information as ads funded by corporations. Asked why he was attending a fundraiser hosted by the organization that helped kill his own campaign finance reforms, McCain flashed ThinkProgress a thumbs up and yelled that he “love[s] the Chamber of Commerce."

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At 7:35 AM, Blogger Bula said...

Amen, Russ....

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Cirze said...

I believe they all know they are going down at the next election.

New slate anyone?


At 2:04 PM, Anonymous me said...

"... Banksters Getting There Money's Worth ..."

Yikes! Please fix that.

At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Just curious said...

It's probably too late for a question and answer but here goes. When you say Joe Lieberman got 10 million plus from the banks how do you know? Were the contributions from the banks employees? Or, were they actually from the banks? Maybe someone can explain how these transactions take place. Thanks


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