Thursday, June 10, 2010

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Has Plenty Of Allies When She Wants To Help The Banksters Steal Our Money-- And They're Not All Republicans


Banksters knew owning the GOP wasn't enough-- so they bought themselves some big name Dems as back-up

Everyone in California is either questioning the sobriety of our voting public or the whole concept of legislating via propositions, which really amounts to which special interest will spend the most money lying the mostly slickly and effectively on barrages of TV and radio ads. Millions and millions of dollars have been spent-- not eMeg dollars but, still, a lot of dollars-- to mislead the voters on down ballot measures that claim to be the exact opposite of what they are. It gets to where you can't even listen to the radio at all without being barraged with this Madison Avenue hucksterism. Is it any wonder that less than 20% of eligible voters even bothered to show up at the polls in L.A. Tuesday-- and that 20% includes the vote-by-mail folks!

In fact, on the way home from the polls I heard an attack ad directed against Maxine Waters by some shady sounding Ad-Hoc attack group purporting to stick up for consumers against the big banks... and Maxine? Not likely. I searched around for the ad online and couldn't find it. But what do you know, one of the most corrupt tools in Congress-- the female Rahm Emanuel-- was actually reciting it yesterday! Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the postergirl of smarmy politics, a bag lady for every rotten special interest looking to inject their filthy money into the political system. In Florida she was the go-to Democrat for right-wing Cuban elements and the notorious sugar lobby and she brought her repulsive criminal instincts to Washington where... of course, Emanuel immediately recognized a kindred soul and started boosting her up the leadership ranks. Next year she will be the head-- instead of the de facto head-- of the DCCC.
U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a member of the House majority’s leadership team, said a Senate proposal to limit fees banks collect with each swipe of a debit card will enrich merchants at the expense of consumers.

“I’m a liberal Democrat and the easiest thing for me to do is to be in favor of reducing fees and going after banks, but I just don’t think that’s responsible,” Wasserman Schultz, 43, of Florida, said in an interview yesterday. “The consumer will get lost in the shuffle.”

Her stance sets up a clash between Wasserman Schultz, the chief deputy whip and vice chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, the Illinois Democrat, over fees set by Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. He’s pushing a measure that would empower the Federal Reserve to limit the “swipe” fees, or interchange, that merchants pay on debit transactions.

Banks and card companies oppose Durbin’s proposal, citing the cost of running their networks and the benefits consumers and merchants get from debit cards, including convenience and guaranteed payment. The fees average about 1 percent per transaction and generate more than $10 billion a year for U.S. lenders, according to the National Retail Federation.

A 64-33 Senate vote on May 13 to approve the Durbin measure was a setback for San Francisco-based Visa and Purchase, New York-based MasterCard Inc., which set interchange rates and pass the fees along to client banks that issue their cards, including Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Wasserman Schultz, who opposed previous attempts to regulate interchange on credit cards, and Representative Kenny Marchant, Republican of Texas, plan to send a letter opposing the amendment to a bipartisan panel of lawmakers assigned to merge the House and Senate versions of the financial overhaul bill. Durbin’s measure is included in the overhaul.

“I am going to spend time talking to the conferees and the committee leadership and hopefully we’re going to be able to either get it taken out or craft something that isn’t as harmful to consumers,” Wasserman Schultz said.

And she'll find some very receptive ears since, aside from the Republican handmaidens of the banking industry, some of the most notorious corporate shills in Washington are on that conference committee. Aside from members like Maxine Waters, John Conyers, Barney Frank, Carolyn Maloney, Luis Gutierrez, Mel Watt, Mary Jo Kilroy, and Henry Waxman-- folks who tend to put working families and consumers first-- the conferees include Wasserman Schultz kinds of crooked insiders, pockets bulging with corporate bribes, from Paul Kanjorski, and Collin Peterson to Edolphus Towns, Heath Shuler and Wasserman Schultz' other kindred-spirit-in-corruption, Gregory Meeks. Meeks relationship with the bad actors in this are particularly troublesome because Barney Frank has given him a role in negotiating the language with Durbin, even after he took more than $90,000 from his bankster friends in recent months. Meeks and Wasserman Schultz are truly partners in a reprehensible kind of crime: carrying water for their disreputable Wall Street financiers while posing as good Democrats on the side of ordinary families. Yes, plenty of their kind of "liberals," looking for a steady flow of cash from corporate special interests.

Over on the Senate side, my old high school classmate, Chuck Schumer-- always looking out for the Big Financial Interests (who have put $16,708,236 into his already overflowing coffers over the years)-- worked his ass off to keep Durbin's formulation out of the Senate bill. He tried talking Durbin out of it, tried talking Reid into killing it with a parliamentary ruse but it wound up passing 61-35, even a few Republicans too embarrassed to vote against it. Now, like Wasserman Schultz and her poisonous allies, he's trying to strip it out of the bill in the House-Senate conference... when he isn't too busy congratulating Blanche Lincoln for her victory over the unions he has always loathed while kissing up to:
Lincoln was embraced by her colleagues on the Senate floor as a conquering general returning from war. Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), in charge of the Senate Democrats' campaign effort, gave her a hug and a kiss and said, "Now we just have to raise money." Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) held up two fists and said of her primary campaign: "Fighting Wall Street with one hand, unions with the other."

This is an issue that pits Main Street businesses like restaurants and cabbies and hardware stores against the Big Banks. It will be interesting to see which senators and congressmen stand with Main Street and consumers and which-- like Wasserman Schultz and Schumer-- fight for the Big Banks. Of course Wasserman Schultz and Schumer aren't the only Democrats eager to join the Republicans in sucking up to the big money interests. There were plenty of busy little shills running around Capitol Hill this week doing just that.
Senate Democrats Tuesday weakened efforts to end a controversial Wall Street tax break, watering down a bid to raise taxes on managers of hedge funds, private-equity funds, venture capital firms and other business partnerships.

The Senate action retreated from a step taken last month by the House of Representatives, where lawmakers voted to get tough with Wall Street financiers, an apparent bow to election-year pressure from constituents outraged that some captains of finance were taxed at lower rates than their secretaries are.

Currently, managers of these investment funds are compensated with a share of the fund's profits, referred to as "carried interest." This compensation is taxed as a capital gain, and the capital gains tax is now 15 percent.

Senators scaled back the House plan to tax as "ordinary income" some 75 percent of the fund-income these managers receive. Instead, the Senate would trim the tax hit to 65 percent, and 55 percent for assets held longer than seven years.

In real-world terms, the Senate change means that fund managers most likely would fall into the top tax bracket for 65 percent of their compensation. The top bracket stands at 35 percent now, but absent a change by Congress would revert to 39.6 percent next year.

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