Remarks And Asides

Ann Coulter, in the context of Sarah Palin suggesting herself as the brokered-convention choice for GOP presidential candidate, said this:

…the conservative movement, does have more of a problem with con men and charlatans than the Democratic Party. I mean, the incentives seem to be set up to allow people — as long as you have a band of a few million fanatical followers, you can make money.

Forget Game Change, the movie or the book, which has exceedingly diminished Palin’s standing outside of Fox “News”; Palin really knows she has a credibility problem when someone like Ann Coulter, with a few million fanatical followers of her own—many of whom will drop twenty bucks or so on her latest book, lovingly titled, “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America“—goes all nasty on her.

But for once Coulter got something right if only because it takes a charlatan to know one.

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Speaking of credibility problems, here in Missouri yesterday, Mittens said “we’re going to get rid of” Planned Parenthood, should conservative voters put him in the White’s House, presumably by overlooking these inconvenient facts:

♦ He sought Planned Parenthood’s endorsement during his run for governor.

♦ He attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser during his run for governor.

♦ Said he supported Roe V. Wade.

♦ Said he supported “state funding of abortion services through Medicaid for low-income women.”

♦ Said he supported including information about contraception in public schools.

♦ Said he supported abortions even after 24 weeks if they were done to “save the life of the mother, or when there is a substantial risk of grave impairment to her health.”

♦ Said he supported efforts “to increase access to emergency contraception” known as “the morning after pill.”

Of course all that stuff happened a long time ago—way back in 2002!—which in Romney years is a whole lifetime.

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Now-former Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith has caused a stir via his last-day-on-the job op-ed in The New York Times. Among other things, he accuses the firm of promoting people into leadership who essentially screw Goldman’s clients while making oodles of cash for the company:

I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.

Smith begs the board of directors to do something:

Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons. People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm — or the trust of its clients — for very much longer.

Obviously, Greg Smith’s next gig will be at the Gotham Comedy Club, as he is a very funny man.  Next, he will urge Mittens to give back all that Wall Street campaign dough!

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Speaking of comedy, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee all—all!—voted against a renewal last month of the normally bipartisan Violence Against Women Act. Why? Oh, come on, you could have guessed this:

Republicans objected to new language in the bill that would extend protections to undocumented immigrants and LGBT victims of domestic violence, as well as allowing native American authorities to prosecute some non-native offenders.

By God, if you’re not a heterosexual and you don’t come into the country legally, you deserve what you get, girls!

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Finally, more from The Comedy Channel Fox “News” via Steve Benen:

The Dow Jones industrial average soared yesterday, closing at its highest level since before the start of the Great Recession. The Nasdaq composite index, meanwhile, closed yesterday at its highest level in more than 11 years.

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) offered a unique take on these developments yesterday, telling Fox News’ Neil Cavuto the recent upswing may be tied to the 2012 presidential election.

WEST: Well, I would think maybe the markets are maybe looking five to six months down the road, when we have a change in leadership in this country–

CAVUTO: Wait a minute, you think that this is built on a Republican either capturing the White House or Republicans capturing the Senate? … You think that the markets are getting bubbly in anticipation of a Republican taking the White House?

WEST: Oh, absolutely.

Now, that is funny enough on its own. But Benen points to a Bloomberg article last month that makes Congressman West’s assertion even funnier:

The BGOV Barometer shows that, over the five decades since John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, $1,000 invested in a hypothetical fund that tracks the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) only when Democrats are in the White House would have been worth $10,920 at the close of trading yesterday.

That’s more than nine times the dollar return an investor would have realized from following a similar strategy during Republican administrations. A $1,000 stake invested in a fund that followed the S&P 500 under Republican presidents, starting with Richard Nixon, would have grown to $2,087 on the day George W. Bush left office.

How “The Bankers Rob Us Blind”

Cenk Uygur, who left MSNBC because he couldn’t play by its rules, has a new show on Current TV.  During “technical rehearsals,” he interviewed former Goldman Sachs managing director Nomi Prins and came up with the segment below, which shows how the rich get richer in our society and how, in Uygur’s words, “the bankers rob us blind.

The story was first reported by Bloomberg, and involved Henry Paulson, Treasury Secretary under George Bush, telling The New York Times one thing about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in July of 2008 (that an inspection of their books “would give a signal of confidence to the markets“) while on the same day telling a bunch of hedge-fund managers—who could profit from insider information—something much different (that the two firms might be seized by the the government “to allow the firms to continue operations despite heavy losses in the mortgage markets“).

Bloomberg reported that one fund manager in attendance,

says he was shocked that Paulson would furnish such specific information — to his mind, leaving little doubt that the Treasury Department would carry out the plan. The managers attending the meeting were thus given a choice opportunity to trade on that information.

Here’s the Uygur segment that goes into greater detail:

While We Were Away, Republicans Were Trying to Kill The Economy

While the mess in Wisconsin drags on, the economic recovery remains fragile and anemic.

And the Republicans in Congress—almost unnoticed—are doing everything they can to exacerbate its fragility and deprive it of much-needed iron—government spending.

Most every economist this side of Rush Limbaugh understands that there is a deficiency in demand in our economy.  That’s one reason (but not the only one) why American businesses are sitting on a Chris Christie-size pile of cash.   But what to do about the demand problem is the issue.

The Republican answer is austerity.  Crippling austerity, it turns out.  Last week, Speaker Boehner famously said he doesn’t much care (“so be it”) if the GOP spending cuts kill jobs, because they would be government jobs.

But yesterday, the Financial Times published a story indicating that it won’t just be government workers who take a hit from Republican budget-cutting hysteria. The headline was:

Goldman sees danger in US budget cuts

The story began:

The Republican plan to slash government spending by $61bn in 2011 could reduce US economic growth by 1.5 to 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of the year, a Goldman Sachs economist has warned.

Even if—to avoid a government shutdown—Democrats managed to whittle down the budget cuts in a compromise deal with Republicans, say, to $25 billion, that will still “lead to a smaller drag on growth of 1 percentage point in the second quarter.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, and former John McCain campaign adviser, concurs:

The betting is that we’ll see cuts somewhere close to $25-, $30 billion that take affect beginning in the second quarter of this year. And that could shave growth by as much as a percentage point. So it would weigh on growth. It would have longer lasting affects, but near-term it would be a negative.

Kudos to at least one Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, who said,

This nonpartisan study proves that the House Republicans’ proposal is a recipe for a double-dip recession. Just as the economy is beginning to pick up a little steam, the Republican budget would snuff out any chance of recovery. This analysis puts a dagger through the heart of their ‘cut-and-grow’ fantasy.

Unfortunately, the cut-and-grow fantasy is not that easy to kill.

Paul Krugman, wrote a few days ago:

It’s amazing how this whole crisis has been fiscalized; deficits, which are overwhelmingly the result of the crisis, have been retroactively deemed its cause. And at the same time, influential people around the world have seized on the idea of expansionary austerity, becoming ever more adamant about it as the alleged historical evidence has collapsed.

Since the fall of 2008, there has emerged two diametrically opposed approaches to solving our (and the world’s) economic predicament:

(1) Stimulate the economy through government (deficit) spending until consumer demand picks up sufficiently to sustain a strong recovery

(2) Drastically cut government spending because deficits are a drag on the economy

It appears to me that the balance of economic opinion—from real economists—agrees with (1).  But Republicans—energized by anti-government deficit-phobes in the Tea Party movement—have successfully changed the debate from nurturing the economy back to health and creating jobs to killing labor unions, dismantling government programs, and making draconian cuts in government spending.

It’s fair to ask: What does killing Big Bird and collective bargaining have to do with lowering the unemployment rate?

Mark Thoma, Professor of Economics at the University of Oregon, wrote in The Economist:

Policymakers are not taking proper account of the risk of an extended period of stagnation. We should be pursuing additional fiscal stimulus along with quantitative easing as insurance against a stagnant economy that persists into the future, in fact this should have happened months ago.

He wrote that in October of 2010.

But Thoma is a real economist.  He doesn’t just play one on TV or radio.  And as Krugman said,

From where I sit, it looks as if the ascendant doctrines in our policy/political debate are coming precisely from people who don’t know and don’t care about technical economics. The revival of goldbuggy sentiment, the fear of hyperinflation in the face of high unemployment, the continuing force of the notion that tax cuts don’t increase the deficit, aren’t coming from some subtle battle among mathematical modelers; they’re coming from the same people who reject evolution, climate science, and more. They don’t need no stinking technical analysis. The truth is that the economics profession is proving far less relevant to public debate, even in the face of economic crisis, than was dreamed of in our philosophy.

Now, whether you think it good or ill that professional economists have lost their clout, the fact remains that in their place have come fiscal and monetary policy geniuses like Michele Bachmann and Glenn Beck and, God forbid, Ozark Billy Long.  People like these three have more to do with how we are fighting this crisis than those who have spent a lifetime studying economics.

And if that doesn’t scare you, then you must be a wealthy Republican.

[J.S. Applewhite / AP (left, center); Cliff Owen / AP]

The Secrets Behind The Financial Bailout of 2008

In a stunning article yesterday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who finally succeeded in forcing the Federal Reserve to reveal some of its secrets, gave us some details of the “Fed’s multi-trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and corporate America.”

We have learned that the $700 billion Wall Street bailout signed into law by President George W. Bush turned out to be pocket change compared to the trillions and trillions of dollars in near-zero interest loans and other financial arrangements the Federal Reserve doled out to every major financial institution in this country.

Those institutions included:

Goldman Sachs$600 billion

Morgan Stanley—$2 trillion

Citigroup—$1.8 trillion

Bear Stearns—$1 trillion

Merrill Lynch—$1.5 trillion.

Sanders continued:

We also learned that the Fed’s multi-trillion bailout was not limited to Wall Street and big banks, but that some of the largest corporations in this country also received a very substantial bailout. Among those are General Electric, McDonald’s, Caterpillar, Harley Davidson, Toyota and Verizon.

Perhaps most surprising is the huge sum that went to bail out foreign private banks and corporations including two European megabanks — Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse — which were the largest beneficiaries of the Fed’s purchase of mortgage-backed securities.

Deutsche Bank, a German lender, sold the Fed more than $290 billion worth of mortgage securities. Credit Suisse, a Swiss bank, sold the Fed more than $287 billion in mortgage bonds.

Sen. Sanders main point in all this is,

that despite this huge taxpayer bailout, the Fed did not make the appropriate demands on these institutions necessary to rebuild our economy and protect the needs of ordinary Americans.

As examples of such demands, he asked:

Why didn’t the Fed require these institutions to increase lending to small- and medium-sized businesses as a condition of the bailout?

Why didn’t the Fed require the bailed-out mortgage banks to reduce mortgage payments for distressed homeowners as a condition of receiving these secret loans?

Why didn’t the Fed require credit card issuers to lower interest rates as a condition of the bailout?

Sanders also said he will get to the truth about something I have heard for months, that I find nearly impossible to believe:

I intend to investigate whether these secret Fed loans, in some cases, turned out to be direct corporate welfare to big banks that used these loans not to reinvest in the economy but rather to lend back to the federal government at a higher rate of interest by purchasing Treasury Securities. Instead of using this money to reinvest in the productive economy, I suspect a large portion of these near-zero interest loans were used to buy Treasury Securities at a higher interest rate providing free money to some of the largest financial institutions in this country. That is something that we have got to closely examine.

Thankfully, because Democrats will still retain control of the Senate for the next two years, Bernie Sanders may be able to get some answers regarding how the government engineered the salvation of capitalism.

“A Mistake Of Historic Proportions”

Juan Don has brought to my attention a post last week by Wallace Turbeville, a former Vice President of Goldman Sachs and now a visiting scholar at the Roosevelt InstituteThis is serious stuff.

I recommend reading the entire piece (which is only Part 1, with more to come), but I will excerpt a few nuggets here:

Unemployment seems strangely intractable in this particular recession, and no one will cut the party in power a break until the economic system’s wounds heal.

Believing this would be a mistake of historic proportions.

Decades of conservative policies, vigorously promoted by conservative Republicans and timidly acquiesced to by progressive…Democrats, have torn a hole at the center of the economy…For decades following the New Deal, prosperity of both the rich and the poor was secured through government policies that broadened participation of the weak and less wealthy in the economy. The Great Depression taught us that balancing the interests of the middle and lower classes against business and the rich is in the long-term interest of both. It is not about class war. It serves the practical long-term interests of everyone.

I have repeatedly argued that those of us on this side of the political debate are trying to save capitalism from the laissez-faire capitalists. The “weak and less wealthy” need to be a part of robust economic growth; they need, as President Obama said today, to have “ladders“—real ones—that allow them to climb into the middle class. As Turbeville suggests, this is a practical argument, not an attempt at class warfare, and folks out there need to know what his happening:

…conservative ideology encourages the wealthy to churn passive investments designed to squeeze out the last drops of value from existing assets through financial “innovations.”

The public needs reminding of the pragmatic connection between progressive principles and a healthy economy, in which businesses are profitable year after year and families have bread on the table. It turns out that the connection is real and has never been more relevant than today.

The former Goldman Sachs executive squarely places the burden of “reminding the public” on progressives themselves, urging them to turn Ronald Reagan’s famous phrase inside out: “Government is not the problem. Government is the only way to fix the problem.”

Here is a summary of the problem, according to Mr. Turbeville:

  • Income disparity has “reached levels that mirror income disparity in 1929” and is “comparable to several Latin American countries.”
  • In contrast to post-WWII recession history, periods of post-recessionary unemployment are increasing with each successive recession since 1990.  “In the 1990/91 recession, the recovery period was 23 months, and in 2001 the period was 38 months. The recovery period for the recent recession is unknown, but prospects are grim.”  Prior to 1990, “employment rates recovered fully within eight months of the trough of each recession.”
  • U. S. consumers are borrowing money and buying foreign goods from many countries who are also supplying the credit to buy those goods. Simultaneously, the export of American goods is far below the imports.
  • Asset price bubbles and bursts appear to be more frequent and extreme.”  This includes the residential and commercial real estate markets, as well as “‘dot-com stocks,’ oil and agricultural products. Deregulation of financial and commodities markets facilitated the bubbles, but an increasing investor preference for short-term financial profits drove them.”
  • The graduation rates of high schools and colleges have “stagnated,” which represents “an historic departure from longstanding American leadership in educating its young people.”  This is part of the unemployment problem referred to by Bill Clinton on Meet The Press on Sunday:

…the biggest problem, is there’s a skills mismatch.  The jobs that are being opened don’t have qualified people applying for them.  We need a system to immediately train them to move into that job…There are five million people who could go to work tomorrow if they were trained to do the jobs that are open, and the unemployment rate in America would immediately drop from 9.6 to about 7 percent or 6.9. 

As Mr. Turbeville suggests, Democrats need to quit playing defense and let the American people know what is going on and make the case that what Republicans are offering this November to solve our problems is what caused the problems we need to solve.

As I said, this is serious stuff. Stay tuned for Part 2.

A Ditty Sheal

I confess that Charles Krauthammer is one of the smartest guys on the right, but admittedly the bar on that side is not all that high these days.  And I confess that I admire his considerable intellect, which every once in a while is employed in ways that bring honor to it.

Then there are those moments when all you can do is shake your head and pity a man who wastes such a valuable instrument.

Yesterday, On Special Report with Bret Baier, the pinnacle of fair and balanced journalism on the Reactionary Network also known as Fox “News,” this bit of silliness transpired:

  

Just to repeat, Krauthammer compared the appearance of Goldman Sachs executives before a committee of one of the national legislative bodies of a democratic republic to, well, here’s the transcript of his comments:

When the Incas had a crop failure, they would take somebody up on a hill, and they would execute them. This process is the same except it has a little less dignity. I’m sure the language was cleaner in the Inca process…

Now, Krauthammer’s tongue-in-cheek reference to the “language” brings me to a strange thing I noticed yesterday on Fox “News.” 

As I was watching the various ways the cable outlets were covering the progress of the Goldman Sachs hearing, I couldn’t help but notice the odd fascination that most of them had with the use of the word “shitty,” which was originally used by a Goldman insider to describe the crap they were urging their customers to buy. 

But on Fox, there was what amounted to disgust that legislators, including our own Claire McCaskill, would repeat such a naughty word. 

In fact, on shows like Your World with Neil Cavuto, there was more outrage expressed over the use of profanity than over the fact that greedy gamblers on Wall Street harmed the country, not only by running the economy off the road, but by flipping us the bonus bird when taxpayers got them back in their cars and driving again toward even more profits.

Outrage over those events—rather than over our elected Senators grilling greedy Goldman employees with colorful language—should inspire intellectuals like Charles Krauthammer to use their noggins to come up with a bloodthirsty Inca metaphor applicable to the behavior of smartasses on Wall Street.

But there will be no Inca metaphor coming from Krauthammer or other right-wing intellectuals describing the excesses of big “bankers” that crippled our economy and cost many middle class Americans their jobs.  Nope.

Not when we have more important things to worry about, like the fact that our legislators used one of the Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.

Blanche Lincoln: A New Hero Of The Left?

A story today by The New Republic about the financial reform efforts in Congress begins ominously:

Some two dozen executives from large corporations will be descending on Capitol Hill today to make the case against over-regulating derivatives.

Oh, no.  This financial stuff is hard enough to follow without also having to worry about a legion of Wall Street defenders assaulting our legislators.

The source of the latest angst among Chamber-of-Commerce types apparently comes from none other than Blanche Lincoln, the Democrat that lefties hate for her role in the health care reform fiasco in Congress, who now appears to be out-leftying other more liberal Senators on financial reform.

Lincoln has a new proposal to regulate derivatives, described by Andy Kroll of Mother Jones as,

…those tricky financial products, whose value is linked to the price of commodities or interest rates, used to hedge risk and also make risky gambles.

Calling for transparency in derivatives trading, something now lacking in the system, Lincoln proposes an exchange that will, if enacted, protect against another “AIG-esque collapse” because the inherent risk in such trading will not be concentrated in one place, but spread throughout the members of the clearinghouse.

Another important feature of Lincoln’s proposal, according to Kroll:

Lincoln’s bill would also call for swaps outfits [derivatives trading] to be cut out of big investment banks and essentially made into separate operations. This, of course, would prevent crippling losses on a swap desk from dragging down the rest of the firm—again, a la AIG’s Financial Products division mortally wounding the entire company.

Kroll quotes Felix Salmon, a financial journalist and blogging editor at Reuters, who is not exactly optimistic about Lincoln’s proposal suceeding:

…it’s also pretty clear that none of this is going to happen. Never mind Republican support: this is going to have a hard time even getting Democratic support. It’s all a good idea, but it’s far too radical: while it might have had more of a chance if it had been introduced during the height of the crisis, at this point the banks have got their mojo working again and will quite easily be able to ensure that the beating heart of Lincoln’s proposals is surgically excised before it even gets anywhere near a vote.

The reference to “banks” and “mojo” leads us back to today’s article in The New Republic. As the TNR article makes clear, Lincoln’s proposal rightly exempts from onerous regulation, “derivatives used in commercial activity,” such as when an airline tries to lock in future fuel prices by signing a contract today and betting prices will be higher later:

What the Lincoln bill would regulate is the use of derivatives for more speculative purposes, like a straight-up bet between two Wall Street firms on the future price of oil.

So, why would corporate leaders, who engage in the kind of derivative trading exempted by Lincoln’s bill, make a well-orchestrated appearance in Washington D.C.? TNR writer, Noam Scheiber, explains:

Big financial firms like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan generate billions of dollars each year as derivatives dealers. But, over the past several weeks, as Democrats’ have escalated their rhetoric and explicitly targeted Wall Street, the big banks have had trouble getting their message out on Capitol Hill. All the more so thanks to Friday’s SEC complaint accusing Goldman of fraud. “The banks’ credibility, their ability to influence this, is limited,” says one derivatives industry lawyer.

And so, instead of mostly making the pitch against regulation themselves, the big derivatives dealers are counting on their corporate clients to do a lot of heavy lifting for them…

In other words, these days no one would believe anything proceeding from the mouths of bankers* who almost bankrupted the nation through, among other things, unfettered trading in derivatives, so they have to go to the bullpen for some help, namely corporate leaders who can leverage the fact that they “employ hundreds of thousands of people across the country.”

While this tactic may seem cynical, worse yet is an even more cynical argument designed to water down any final reform bill, as reported by Scheiber:

…top Wall Street executives have conveyed directly to senior White House officials in recent days, that the administration faces almost as much peril as Wall Street does if it brings a partisan bill to the Senate floor. Should that happen, the argument goes, Senate liberals like Maria Cantwell and Byron Dorgan could triumph on amendments that would move the bill well to the left of where even the administration wants it.

Let’s hope that the high-rollers on Wall Street are once again wrong about their calculations and this time their gambling failures will result not in the near-collapse of our financial system, but in legislation that will finally address their irresponsibility and profligacy, funded most recently by American taxpayers.

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*”Bankers” is a term used loosely here. Just to illustrate what’s at stake for the so-called bankers, here are some facts from Reuters.com:
Globally, the $450 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market is big business for the banks. Scaling back these operations, or forcing high-volume contracts to move to exchanges, could make trading much less profitable for dealers. Customized contracts would continue but face higher costs.
Lawmakers have sought ways to rein in the opaque world of over-the-counter derivatives after the financial instruments were blamed for exacerbating the financial crisis and prompting the U.S. government bailout of companies such as American International Group (AIG.N).
Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), told bank analysts on Wednesday that forcing dealers to trade derivatives on exchanges could cost his firm up to a couple of billion dollars in revenue annually.
“It will be a negative,” he said. JPMorgan has the largest derivatives exposure of the U.S. banks.
Just five banks account for 97 percent of the total $212.8 trillion worth of derivatives contracts held by U.S. commercial banks, according to a fourth-quarter survey by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

FIVE (5) BLEEPING BANKS HOLD 97% OF $212.8 TRILLION WORTH OF DERIVATIVE CONTRACTS!

Can anyone say, “Too big to fail?”

Ready For Your Breakfast, Goldman Sachs?

Admittedly, some of the stuff surrounding the near-collapse of the financial industry and the current reform efforts to prevent another disaster are a little hard to understand sometimes, but Wednesday Barney Frank offered some clarity. 

He said that the Republican’s opposition to the Democratic financial reform bill in the Senate was based either on ignorance or dishonesty. It’s not that Republicans are in bed with Wall Street bankers, he said, it’s that Wall Street bankers are in bed and Republicans are serving them breakfast in bed.

Now, that I can understand.

All day Wednesday I listened to the on-the-half-hour news updates on right-wing radio, I listened to NPR, and I watched the network news Wednesday evening,  and I heard pretty much the same thing: Republicans oppose the financial reform bill proposed by the Democrats because, in the words of Mitch McConnell, the chief of Republican obstructionists in the U.S. Senate, it “guarantees future bailouts of Wall Street banks” and “endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street banks.

The only problem with what McConnell said is that it happens to be a lie, and it is a lie that all national reporters know is a lie, but for some reason neglected to point out. 

In fact, it is a lie constructed by the Republican propagandist and lie-maker, Dr. Frank Luntz, as Sam Stein pointed out a few months ago:

…Republican message guru Frank Luntz has put together a playbook to help derail financial regulatory reform… Luntz urged opponents of reform to frame the final product as filled with bank bailouts, lobbyist loopholes, and additional layers of complicated government bureaucracy.

Stein obtained a 17-page memo titled, “The Language of Financial Reform,” and you have to hand it to the Republicans: they know how to stick to a game plan. 

Unfortunately for the American people, that game plan is designed to offer lies to voters in order to exploit their dislike of Wall Street, all the while Republicans are whispering to the nervous bankers/gamblers that they will do everything they can to protect their racket, particularly their gambling in the mystical world of derivatives.

Most galling of all, though, is Luntz’s view on the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which as proposed would put the interests of consumers ahead of the often predatory lenders who caused so much damage to the economy. Luntz wrote:

Ordinarily, calling for a new government program “to protect consumers” would be extraordinary popular. But these are not ordinary times.  The American people are not just saying “no.”  They are saying “hell no” to more government agencies, more bureaucrats, and more legislation crafted by special interests.

Why would the American people reject an agency designed to protect their interests?  Because the Republicans were so bad at regulating the financial industry (deliberately or not), the public does not trust the government to do so in the future. In other words, because of either Republican malfeasance—failure to adequate do the job of ensuring that things were not spinning out of control—or because of an ideological willingness to let bankers have their way—all government efforts are tainted. 

Here are a couple of graphs Luntz uses to show the lack of confidence among the public:

I can’t think of anything more cynical than to use your own failures as a way to both screw the public and get yourself elected, but then we are talking about the Republican Party. 

Are you ready for your breakfast, Goldman Sachs?  Need your pillow fluffed up?  How about a….

That’ll have to wait until Republicans are in power again.

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