Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Lies Lay Like Landmines: America's Need for Reform

Some folks look at the financial crisis and merely see too many folks buying homes they couldn’t afford. This case shows where the real heart of the financial crisis of 2008 really was, and speaks to something deeper in the business community in general.

Democrats have tried to make a major concession on the Financial Reform Bill, taking out a provision that would have had the Financial companies fund their own resolution (that is, dismemberment and sale of their assets) through a fifty billion dollar fund.

The Republicans refused. In fact, this was the response:

"We ought to go back to the drawing board," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on CNN Sunday morning.

Translation: we won't agree to anything unless we get to decide what's in the legislation.

To justify this, the Republicans said that the bill was essentially a recipe for endless bailouts of the big banks.

That, right after they went begging to Wall Street for money.

Let's go back to that story we first dealt with. In essence, the story on the SEC charging Goldman with fraud is this: somebody approached them, said, I got all these bad assets. Why don't we sell a lot of people on them, and then bet they'll go south!

They [Goldman Sachs] did, and they [The assets] did.

Was this an unusual way of doing business?

Read my post from about a year and a half ago.

Short answer: No.

Long answer?

From my quotations in that entry:

In retrospect, pretty much all of the riskiest subprime-backed bonds were worth betting against; they would all one day be worth zero. But at the time Eisman began to do it, in the fall of 2006, that wasn’t clear. He and his team set out to find the smelliest pile of loans they could so that they could make side bets against them with Goldman Sachs or Deutsche Bank. What they were doing, oddly enough, was the analysis of subprime lending that should have been done before the loans were made: Which poor Americans were likely to jump which way with their finances? How much did home prices need to fall for these loans to blow up? (It turned out they didn’t have to fall; they merely needed to stay flat.) The default rate in Georgia was five times higher than that in Florida even though the two states had the same unemployment rate. Why? Indiana had a 25 percent default rate; California’s was only 5 percent. Why? [emphasis mine]

And here, with some of my commentary:

Later, when I sit down with Eisman, the very first thing he wants to explain is the importance of the mezzanine C.D.O. [...]“You have to understand this,” he says. “This was the engine of doom.” Then he draws a picture of several towers of debt. The first tower is made of the original subprime loans that had been piled together. At the top of this tower is the AAA tranche, just below it the AA tranche, and so on down to the riskiest, the BBB tranche—the bonds Eisman had shorted. But Wall Street had used these BBB tranches—the worst of the worst—to build yet another tower of bonds: a “particularly egregious” C.D.O. The reason they did this was that the rating agencies, presented with the pile of bonds backed by dubious loans, would pronounce most of them AAA. These bonds could then be sold to investors—pension funds, insurance companies—who were allowed to invest only in highly rated securities. “I cannot ****ing believe this is allowed—I must have said that a thousand times in the past two years,” Eisman says.

The man he dined with sold bonds made from the BBB tranche. Eisman expressed his sympathies to the guy, knowing through his research that those bonds were going to get wiped out, being based on the rate of defaulting mortgages. The man, happy as a clam, tells him he sold them all. He didn't mind Eisman's anger at the guy essentially leading folks down the garden path of bad investments.

Without Eisman's short-selling of his market, he'd have nothing to sell. The banks were essentially using the insurance constituted by the CDS to justify making more bonds.

The long answer is that you have to be tremendously naive to think that Wall Street gave a flying crap what happened to Main Street.

The lies lay like landmines, folks, blowing us up every time a reality check comes to some operation, whether it's WorldCom, and Enron, the Savings and Loans markets, or the junk bond market in the eighties. Why does it happen? Because the truth isn't enough of a moneymaker for some people, and a bill of goods is the cheapest product you can sell, and consequently the highest profit margin.

The Republicans are telling us, oh, just go back to the drawing board! It would be tremendously naive of them to ask that, if they couldn't just shut the door on anything short of sixty. If Majority rules were in effective operation, as the founding fathers intended it to be, the Democrats could walk away and just pass whatever they wanted. If it were bad, the Democrats would lose the next election.

But what we have here is an environment where the Republicans are not bargaining in good faith, and Barack Obama's veto threat illustrates just how much Democrats have adapted to that, since they've been raked over the coals on Healthcare Reform.

Obama knows who the Republicans in Washington serve, and so should you:

As a financial reform bill starts to take shape in Washington, two key lawmakers came to New York City last week to explain what it means for Wall Street, and how financial executives might help prevent some of its least market-friendly aspects from becoming law by electing more Republicans, FOX Business Network has learned.

About 25 Wall Street executives, many of them hedge fund managers, sat down for a private meeting Thursday afternoon with two of the most powerful Republican lawmakers in Congress: Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and John Cornyn, the senior senator from Texas who runs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, one of the primary fundraising arms of the Republican Party.

Buy more Republicans seats, we'll carry Wall Street's water for you!

The theory is, we're all just overreacting. Two trillion dollars in America's wealth just disappeared, sending America into something close to the second Great Depression, but hey! We're overreacting!

No, I don't think that's their actual theory. I think the real theory is, "Oh s***, we screwed up big time! But hey, we're the financial elite, and the country needs us, so lets scapegoat and blame the poor people we deceived about their loans and their investments until this all blows over!"

They know people are angry. So who should they be angry at? Big government, that's what! Look what terrible deficits are being run by the guy in office! By the way, he's a socialist, trying to destroy our economy!

He can't do that! That's OUR job!

Never mind that the rise in the apparent deficit mostly comes from the remove of budget trickery Bush used to hide his spending, the effects of the financial collapse, and the emergency measures that were needed to prevent our nation's ruin. Never mind that.

The Republicans want us to remain safely, nervously oblivious to just how deep of trouble we're in, just how screwed up the system is, because they are largely responsible for a lot of the policy that got us there. People might not put Republicans back in office for a long time if folks really looked at what happened, because this was the system they created with the promises that as we put less legal constraint on Wall Street, the Average American would prosper more.

If I had to boil down the fall of the Republican Partty over the last decade, I would put it thusly: they got addicted to manipulating the news stories and their constituent's awareness of what was going on, rather than the more difficult work, in the short term, of shaping policy to get things done right.

The trouble is, when you take that approach, the lies lay like landmines. We can talk about what the outcome will be, but the real world will determine the true outcome, not our wishful thinking, and certainly not our representation of the real conditions.

I covered this sort of thing in another entry, where folks were trying to scapegoat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the financial crisis.

Here was some of my commentary and a quote:

84 is the percent of subprime mortgages privately originated in 2006. 83 is the percent of subprime loans originated for middle and low income homeowner by private lenders. 24 is the number out of 25 of the top subprime lenders that year that were not fully subject to the Community Reinvestment Act, the scapegoat thrown out there by Republicans who stil haven’t learned their lesson, and who misrepresent the true source of the Mortgage Meltdown: An overheated private mortgage market.

The Republicans won't tell you a number of things. These are among them:

Between 2004 and 2006, when subprime lending was exploding, Fannie and Freddie went from holding a high of 48 percent of the subprime loans that were sold into the secondary market to holding about 24 percent, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance, a specialty publication. One reason is that Fannie and Freddie were subject to tougher standards than many of the unregulated players in the private sector who weakened lending standards, most of whom have gone bankrupt or are now in deep trouble.

Funny, isn't? The company that is supposedly to blame found its share of the secondary market cut in half. And why? Well, one reason was tougher standards! In other words, because they wouldn't take the kind of loans that were dominating that sector.

Fannie and Freddie were collateral casualties in a general mortgage meltdown. They didn't go down until the irresponsible behavior of others made it impossible for them to do business. Many of the other players were going down in flames a long time before then. It wasn't necessarily because Fannie and Freddie were better managed. One could really say it was because nobody was allowing them to be that ridiculously stupid in their buying up of mortgage loans.

Oh yeah, did I mention that? Folks act like Fannie and Freddie were lending money to people. But did you know that they were strictly buyers of mortgages?

The mortgage market melted down because such bad product had been sold that people were simply unwilling to buy anything else. The lies had blown up under the wheels of that economic sector. To keep home values rising, to keep money coming in and debts inflating, the lenders had resorted to tactics that essentially made it impossible for people taking on these debts to ever get out from under them, in the interest of drawing the maximum in interests payments, fees, and penalties from people.

Why? Why do that when real cash will never come in from these people in those amounts?

Well, because Wall Street will pay you whatever you can get on them, and that cash they pay you replaces your loss.

But why would Wall Street do that with risky loans?

Because risky loans pay higher premiums on return. It's the same reason people used, and abused junk bonds.

But why would people outside of a small group of risk savvy investors get in on this?

The answer is, they wouldn't. Not unless somebody lied to cover for the riskiness of the Mortgage Securities.

Somebody did.

More to the point, others took out insurance on all these investments, made bets, including the kind that feature prominently in the linked article at the lede of this entry.

All these exotic derivatives, these complex financial arrangements more or less allowed Wall Street and the housing industry to walk between the raindrops on what had to be some of the riskiest, and poorly thought out financial decisions in modern economic history. They defied the old rules, it was a new market, once again.

Until housing prices stopped going up. Then all the people who were flipping homes found they were flipping something that was worth less than they paid for it.

That was the reality check, the check that should have happened much sooner.

When that happened, the worth of trillions of dollars in assets came into question. The banks stopped buying it up. The mortgage lenders had nowhere left to dump bad loans, so they got saddled with it. The credit operation of this country, operated by these banks ground to a halt, causing problems for other sectors of the economy that had been working responsibly, working well.

The landmines went up.

The simple fact is, people were taking risks they didn't know they were taking, were even being deceived by their brokers and financial agents. Folks were walking into a trap of debt, of vanished wealth that they had no part in creating. The market is failing to function as it should because it is being run in such a way that there is no predictable way to behave profitably, to do the right thing, do the good thing, and still not get punished for somebody else's failure when their actions bring down the systems we all depend upon.

Because of the way both Democrats and Republicans have governed this country up to this point, the Average American is blind to what actions are in their financial best interests are. Now many conservatives say that the answer to our problems are market forces, but I say that market forces only work when people can see what their choices are in front of them, to the extent the real world allows that. When a market makes it difficult to impossible to clearly understand the risks at work, then the market becomes hostile to productive behavior. Cheating becomes more profitable than real work and good business behavior.

The masters of this current economy, the elites of this market, are who the Republicans are selling their seats to. Does it matter than the average person's going to have a terrible time making sure their nest egg doesn't become a sticky stain on Wall Street's sidewalk? Does it matter that finances for many businesses and municipalities are now in doubt, thanks to the actions of these people?

The folks on Wall Street have not learned from their mistakes. The Republicans are going to help them not learn from their mistakes, help them keep the regulations "industry friendly".

If you need reform, want reform, then Republicans are the last people you should support. They've made their loyalties clear. Their priority is not a market safe for investors. It's a market safe for those who have made their money by putting the rest of this country deeper in the whole. An economy is supposed to be a drivers of prosperity, not an engine of financial mass destruction.

The lies will continue to lay like landmines until we clear the economy of these distortions of the market, and as the past few years have shown, Wall Street is nowhere close to kicking its addiction to these risky schemes and financial activities.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at April 19, 2010 7:12 PM
Comments
Comment #299242

Wow Stephen I guess everyone must agree with you on this one. I know I do.

Posted by: Belinda Wood at April 20, 2010 5:52 PM
Comment #299243

Stephen,

I enjoyed reading your post.
The problem is that all I have to do is shout,(while foaming at the mouth of course)that healthcare reform is socialism. The Democrats are evil.Throw out Nancy Pelosi’s name and hold a sign that defaces President Obama while carrying the gun the Democrats supposedly are trying to take from me and the Republicans will work themselves into a lather.
The Democratic and Republican bases don’t want facts
Each side has been told by the like minded TV personalities what to believe.
The Tea Partiers are worshipping Sarrah (friggin) Palin for crying out loud.
Very informative piece but good luck convincing anybody that plans to vote Republican that their god fearing, morally superior,GOP leaders are doing anything wrong.
Remember the movie Blazing Saddles?
The part when the sherrif first arrives?
The old man yells down, “the sherrifs a…….(GONG!)
The GOP supporters and their apologists are the old man, we just substitute the word Sherrif with President.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at April 20, 2010 5:53 PM
Comment #299249

Is that Sarah nee friggin’?

Stephen:

Gordon Gecko may think greed is good, but most of us know, it can be harnessed for good. Let the horses run wild, and you get what we got. It took 80 years to repeat stupidity. It was a good run while it lasted.

Posted by: gergle at April 20, 2010 10:07 PM
Comment #299255

I think the Republican reliance on their sort of utopian opposition to the Democrats and liberals in general positions them poorly to be the kind of results-oriented politicians America needs.

If your choices are dictated by a logic external to competition, you can choose to agree or disagree with your rivals. Your purity is not judged solely or mainly by the distance between your position and theirs.

If your choices are dictated by the logic of being in opposition to your rivals, then you are bound to a very narrow range of choices, which your rivals can exploit by choosing subjects on which disagreement is either insanely stupid, or by, horrors of horrors, agreeing with part of what you’ve said in the past!

That’s the Republican’s position right now, and Democrats realize now that they can used their rival’s inflexibility against them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 20, 2010 11:42 PM
Comment #299260

Tea Party…bought and paid for by Goldman and Citi, et al…and the members aren’t even aware…wow!

Posted by: Marysdude at April 21, 2010 8:09 AM
Comment #299262

An article in the Post this morning that goes against the Goldman charges.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/20/AR2010042003528.html?hpid=opinionsbox1


I think Goldman is a bad boy. I am concerned about their so called high frequency trades, which makes the average investor a sucker. I’m concerned about a lot Goldman does. I’m concerned about naked shorts (that just sounds dirty).
I’m concerned about the way rating agencies are funded. I think investment banks and banks need to be separate entities. I think there are lots of issues in the way Goldman balances risk and makes money.

I just think this suit may be more about making Goldman look bad for the sake of political advantage.

Posted by: gergle at April 21, 2010 10:40 AM
Comment #299264


Marysdude, are the members of the Democratic Party aware of where a lot of their party’s funds come from? Goldman and Citi, et al..?

Stephen, let’s hope that your politicians show more backbone with this legislation than they did with health care.

Let’s hope they don’t water it down with fifty Republican amendments before passing it.

Let’s hope that this time they prove they aren’t on the corporate payroll for a reason.

Posted by: jlw at April 21, 2010 10:49 AM
Comment #299266

Yea jlw 4.5 million for Dems and 1.5 million for Reps. Also 6 thousand short of 1 million for BHO.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 11:09 AM
Comment #299269

jlw,

Yeah, I’m aware…and so is the Republican Party, and probably the Greens…blah…blah…blah. It takes money to do anything in politics. My point is those who shout the loudest about wanting smaller government are being sponsored in their shouting by those who have the money and want smaller government so they can continue to rape Americans, whom the Tea Partyers profess to be the best of. Irony thy name is mud…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 21, 2010 11:22 AM
Comment #299270

Then why is it Dude the Dems got the bulk of donations from Goldman?

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 11:50 AM
Comment #299271

Stephen:

Two points:

1. Why would GS do this knowingly (fraud) and loose money? Follow the money. GD LOST money on the deal.

2. Obama got close to a million from GS. So how are the Republicans the bad guys here?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2010 12:35 PM
Comment #299272

Marysdude-
The thing that made them a pop culture phenomenon was a rant about people being given mortgage relief by a CNBC reporter covering things from the NYSE floor, being cheered on by bond traders.

They aren’t aware because it doesn’t occur to them that most of these “freedoms” they feel so threatened about, in terms of big government and everything reflect the concerns of just those kinds of people, rather than their own. Through a process of rhetorical twisting, what were once considered the issue stances of the elite have been rebranded as populist causes, with the logic being, “If we relax regulations on corporations, they’ll have more money to hire people with.”

Or something along those lines. Always, they are asked to support something that benefits the elite, in order to see the ends of the people as a whole brought to fruition.

It’s the feeling that’s important here, the gut feeling that years of carefully crafted rhetoric was supposed to create, that anything that threatens a corporation’s interest threatens the average persons. Thus, we pass lower standards on accounting, the repeal of barriers that keep banks and other financial sector businessess firewalled from one another. Thus we pass legislation that keeps government’s hands off the lucrative but dangerous derivatives trading/hedge fund business.

That’s how you get people with great populist fervor defending big businesses and the privileges of the elite. You rework people’s framework, subtly and deceptive, until they think it serves their interests.

It works as long as people don’t start really thinking about what they really want. That’s why conservatives are always resisting anything that people might see a benefit from. They know the minute it comes to a choice between getting what they want, and having to sacrifice, the easier political choice will be keeping what they want. They know that if the taxes are cut or kept low for the Middle Class, it won’t be that vast pool of voters they’ll have the easier time convincing to vote for people who would take those cuts and give them to the rich instead. You have to tell them that the cuts have to go through the elites first, even as you tell them at the same time that they’re the ones who best know how to spend their own money.

Yep. Some animals, it turns out, are more equal than others. If you can manage your money better than the government, the totality of conservative reasoning is that a rich guy can manage their money better than you can.

And no, there is no basis in fact for this. Prodigal sons exist in the upper classes, too, and daughters for that matter. We’ve seen plenty of businesses and estates run into the ground.

But hey, if your assumption is that rich people are better with money because they have more of it, you can safely ignore that fact. Never mind that some people just have more of it than they can spend. Never mind that some people simply got into better paying professions, rather than simply accumulating wealth better. No doubt, those who want to stay rich manage their money as well as they can. No doubt, a good successful company needs responsible stewards. But let’s stop confusing the “ought” of how people become rich with the “is” of how they actually do it.

We have to recognize that people don’t always do what’s right to get the rewards they seek.

MAG-
I don’t know. Perhaps they wanted to be on the good side of the majority that was going to decide their fate. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s working quite like they were hoping to.

jlw-
I think you’re going to find that the level of patience with Republican BS is remarkably low, after the political battle of the last year. I mean, why else have the Republicans backed off? Chuck Grassley, who last year tried to push that Death Panel BS, just helped pass the Derivatives Reform bill through the Agricultural Committee.

Even Blanche Lincoln, Conservative Democrat out of Arkansas, found it difficult to follow her patrons on Wall Street. She actually came out of the process with an even stricter bill than what Obama asked for.

What’s going on?

1) Healthcare has long been prepared with the landmines of the threat of creeping socialism, courtesy of the GOP. That was a struggle the GOP could gleefully prolong, as their voters wouldn’t punish them for. Financial Reform is different. The forces of unrestrained Wall Street Speculation are regarded by a clear majority of Americans as a threat to our economy. Here, the Republicans are forced to tread carefully. As not who the landmine lays for, it lays there for you. ;-)

2) Democrats have had it. Having won on Healthcare, the difficult issue, They see no reason to brake for Republican roadblocks. Obama and his staff are looking at candidates beyond the centrists of previous searches, because as one person put it, no matter who he offered, the Republicans would object to him or her. If the Republicans will not make deals, then Democrats have no reason not to use the brute force of their majority to get what they want.

3) Democrats need a nice little demonstration of fealty to the voters, and in this case, the Republicans are not in the world’s best position to obstruct, so it only makes sense for them to take it on. To add this to their list of ahcheivements only makes sense.

4) The Republican’s obstructionism is wearing on the caucus, many questioning how much the party really gets out of saying no, suggesting nothing, and giving the Democratic Majority no reason to negotiate with them. The Republicans don’t get bills to point to, they get blamed for things not moving forward, they don’t get to shape policy in ways that constituents might find appealing. Instead, they end up having to claim credit for things they are on the record voting against, an exercise in political humiliation, if there ever was one.

So I think the bill will pass and soon.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 21, 2010 1:13 PM
Comment #299273

Could it be foul play going on in the Democratic party Stephen? Maybe we need to investigate both parties instead of Wall Street.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 1:21 PM
Comment #299275

Stephen, do you really think someone is going to give 4.5 million to a party so they can be investigated? IMO there is a lot more going on then is being released to the media. Also I heard on the news that the Dems total contributions for the mid terms were way higher then the Reps. so where is all this money comming from?

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 1:36 PM
Comment #299276

Craig Holmes-
It depends on what the meaning of “loss” is.

“G.S. had no economic motivation for this transaction to fail,” Mr. Palm said. “If we believed there was something wrong with this transaction, we obviously wouldn’t have put our skin in the game in that way.”

But almost from the start, Goldman tried to unload its stake in the Abacus investment, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter. The bank suffered losses because it couldn’t find investors who would pay what Goldman wanted for the final vestiges of the deal, these people said.

Mr. Tourre had been counting on one of the parties in the Abacus investment, ACA Management, to buy the stake that Goldman ended up with. At the last minute, ACA backed out, leaving Goldman holding part of Abacus.

Goldman executives urged Mr. Tourre to sell that stake. And they urged his colleague, Jonathan M. Egol, who is not named in the case, to purchase large amounts of insurance that would pay off in the event that mortgage investments like the Abacus stake lost value. That insurance ultimately offset the losses that Goldman claims it suffered on Abacus 2007-AC1, several former Goldman employees said.

They knew it was set up to fail. They helped Paulson negotiate the deal where they figured out what assets were going to get put in the CDO, and Paulson packed that CDO with sure to fail assets, and bet against them.

The investors here were betting on the value increasing. They were a counterparty. Would it have been useful information to them to know that the person who was helping select the assets to be put into the derivative was stacking the debt with bad stuff, and betting agaisnt it?

You’re fighting a losing battle here.

MAG-
Speaking of losing battles, are you familiary with the phrase “Quid Pro Quo?”

If a contributor contributes to somebody, and that somebody acts against them, what’s the corruption?

Get your argument straight. It’s no use accusing somebody of corruption simply because they accepted contributions, because what makes it corruption is not the acceptance of the money, but the serving of those interests to the exclusion of others.

It can be argued, therefore, that the Obama Administration is not corrupt, since they acted against Goldman Sachs despite that company’s contribution.

As for greater contributions to the Democrats?

Again, you must demonstrate quid pro quo. That may just be additional evidence that Republicans, or at least the RNC aren’t that popular. The money is going where the popularity is.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 21, 2010 2:01 PM
Comment #299277

Stephen:

Some form of the bill is going to pass. this is very different from Health Care because the American voters want this bill to pass.

GS is interesting because they lost money in the case they are accused of, and because they are large contributors to the Democratic party.

Should be interesting politics.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2010 2:15 PM
Comment #299278

Stephen the money is comming from Wall Street to the tune of 62% for Dems to 37% for Reps. It seems funny that a party that is wanting more regulation for Wall Street is getting the most money. If I were getting investigated I think I would be giving more to the other side don’t you.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 2:15 PM
Comment #299279

Stephen, it’s not popularity, It’s whose in charge. Your party has all the marbles, so who do you think is going to get the most butt kissing. It may not be corruption but the bill will get watered down.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 2:37 PM
Comment #299281

Craig Holmes-
No, they didn’t. It’s right in front of you. They hedged their bet with another set of derivatives. They didn’t lose a dime. They wouldn’t have lost as much as they did if the folks they were planning on saddling the wrong end of the bet with hadn’t pulled out.

Failure is not an excuse for fraud before the fact. They didn’t tell these people that the people assembling these assets for them was a counterparty with a conflict of interest with theirs.

MAG-
Your argument is no more coherent than before. What exactly is being gained here. And if the legislation is being watered down, who’s the main driver? The main players on the Democrat’s side are taking a pretty hard line on this, with Obama even threatening a veto to keep the derivatives restrictions firm.

You know, sometimes you contribute to people in the hopes that when they do as their constituents want them to do, that they won’t spank you so hard. Sometimes you contribute just to stay in the game.

Who, may I ask, was racing down to Wall Street begging for money? Not the Democrats.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 21, 2010 3:00 PM
Comment #299282

Stephen, I really don’t care who races down Wall St. My main point is who is getting the money, it sure ain’t the Republicans. I know your a Democrat and defending them tooth and nail but the fact is they’re getting money from Wall St. for a reason and not because they like your party. It is because they want something in return for the money. If the Republicans were in charge they would get the same. Stephen you know that corporations donate to which ever party will help them the most. The main driver here is the almighty dollar, your party can be bought just like the Republicans. If I were a betting man I’d bet that this GS thing will go away and be forgotten or they will find no wrong doing. Talking hard line now but we will get a waterd down version of the bill and BHO will sign it.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 4:07 PM
Comment #299284

Stephen:

They didn’t lose a dime. They wouldn’t have lost as much as they did if the folks they were planning on saddling the wrong end of the bet with hadn’t pulled out.

This doesn’t make any sense.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2010 4:43 PM
Comment #299285

MAG-
Yes, your point seems to be entirely about the contributions, not the effect they have on politician’s judgment, nor the doing of favors in return for the money.

Quid Pro Quo: This for That. Something must be done in exchange, and no corporation in its right mind (much less one that wants shareholders not to sue it) campaigns for restrictions on its own business.

Yet that is what bought and sold Democrats are supposed to be doing.

Make no mistake, If you were to ask whether Democrats in Washington are pure on this subject, I’d say no, not at all. Not in the past, not now. However impure they are, though, they can be held accountable, and they know they will be if they don’t get on the ball and pass some reform.

Democrats like myself have made it clear that we will hold our people accountable for doing nothing. They know that we’re paying attention and that we care less for the political BS than about what actually happens out in the real world. They know they need our enthusiasm to remain in power more than they need Goldman Sach’s money.

As for this GS thing just going away? Maybe a couple years ago. Not today. Not with an SEC stinging from the Stanford and Madoff scandals. Not with the embarrassment of missing the barn door of the Wall Street Crash with the shotgun of enforcement.

You think you know the score, but I don’t think you can even tell me what it is the Obama Administration done at this point to merit the money. They’re basically pushing through a bill that essentially says “no more bailouts for big banks, we’ll just take you apart at your industry’s expense” No more TARPs.

So what is it that Goldman’s getting in return?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 21, 2010 4:56 PM
Comment #299286

Craig Holmes-
Let me rephrase that: they didn’t lose a dime. They would have made even more money had they been able to finish that sale of the asset to that company, ACA.

They were insured, or more accurately, hedged. They could lose their client’s money without losing their own shirts. In fact, as in this case, they made quite a bit of money betting against their client’s own best interests.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 21, 2010 4:59 PM
Comment #299287

Stephen, It’s going to go away. They will find no wrong doing. This whole thing with the SEC stinks of politics. Stephen I don’t know the score but I can tell you one thing I’ve been around a lot longer then you and I know that your party is in trouble come Nov. and trying to pull out all the stops to prevent a big loss. Both parties do this same crap to try to save their butts.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 5:17 PM
Comment #299288

No I don’t know what the contributions will have on a politicians judgement, but I guess we will find out soon enough, won’t we Stephen.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 5:20 PM
Comment #299289

Stephen:

Are you folks going to keep the campaign contributions?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2010 5:27 PM
Comment #299291

Craig Holmes-
What’s your angle? There’s no quid pro quo. They’ve gained a fraud suit by the SEC and a rather strong reform bill that the President’s taken a hard line on derivatives will for their contributions.

It’s not as if we went to these guys and offered to help them avoid reforms if they helped finance our campaigns to take back the majority. That’s a quid pro quo.

MAG-
Yes, we will. But I think Blanch Lincoln indicates where this is going, though. She was one of the big offenders on such contributions. But when asked to create a bill on this matter, she apparently thought that helping her contributors was such a politically toxic thing that she turned around and gave Obama a stricter bill than what he asked for, and Chuck Grassley just turned around and voted for that.

As for the SEC thing? They’ve been looking at this thing since before the 2008 Collapse. Right now you have absolutely no proof that it was politically rigged. Undoubtedly, you’re going to be scrubbing every possible source to find one, but to what end, so you can get off Goldman Sachs on a technicality? Do you honestly think that Goldman Sachs did nothing wrong? Do you honestly think that it was just some random string of coincidences that brought Wall Street to its crisis?

But I agree with you on one thing: My party does want to keep their jobs, and they do see financial reform as one way to do that. It has the added side benefit of being good for the country and good for the taxpayer.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 21, 2010 5:40 PM
Comment #299293

Stephen:

I don’t think there is a quid pro quo. It gets really weird at this level with all of the entangled relationships. I heard an interview with Dodd today. He seems pretty level headed on this. I don’t think this debate will be at all like health care reform.

From what I can see both sides are taking contributions as they negotiate. I think this debate will be more like what you wanted on Health Care.

There is strong support from the American People on this one.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2010 5:52 PM
Comment #299295

The shouting from the right abated, so America lost its confusion.

HCR = Shouting and lying from the right, with fear mongering to the max.

Finance Reform = Republicans afraid they cannot pull the wool twice in succession, so less blather and more compromise.

Wonderful term = Political compromise.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 21, 2010 6:13 PM
Comment #299297

Stephen, IMO all of Wall St are a bunch of crooks but to prove it is another matter. I still think this is a mid term stunt by your party to ease their disapproval. As far as the reform bill both sides will get what they want but I don’t think it will be as strong as you think and BHO will sign it.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 6:32 PM
Comment #299301

MAG:

I disagree with you. We just went through the biggest financial disaster since the 1930’s.

It would be unimaginable to me that Congress would not address the causes and pass some legislation to attempt to fix the issues.

My rule is that if my tax dollars are used to bail out an industry then I expect Congress to act to fix the problem so that the changes of it happening again are reduced.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2010 8:47 PM
Comment #299302

Craig, I think we do need reform and to fix the problems but I don’t believe that they are going to be as strong as S.D. expects the reforms to be. The reforms need to be bipartisian and not go the way HC went. As far as GS goes I think it’s has politics written all over it.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 9:06 PM
Comment #299308

“As for the SEC thing? They’ve been looking at this thing since before the 2008 Collapse. Right now you have absolutely no proof that it was politically rigged.”

Well, certainly appropriately timed. It is simply good politics to issue the complaint timed to coincide with financial regulatory legislation. Good for the Obama administration. The case perfectly illustrates not only the technical weaknesses of the current system, e.g., unregulated credit default swaps, but also the greed and unbelievable waste of captital. Billions of dollars spent literally gambling on the outcome of a portfolio of mortgage securities (rigged or otherwise). This was a 10 billion dollar offering. Think about that! Not a dime of the money would go to financing anything. It was just betting. It is time that the financial system return to financing productive enterprises and cease being gambling casinos.

Posted by: Rich at April 21, 2010 10:12 PM
Comment #299310

MAG-
You should hear what I hear. Things like Goldman Sachs frontrunning an entire industry’s worth of program traders, essentially seeing what other people were buying in stock, and then beating them to the punch.

This is normally quite illegal, because you’re essentially stealing from the people who pay more to buy the stock because you’ve bought first.

And that’s not the worst thing I’ve heard about.

If you really want to consider how deep Goldman Sachs was in this dysfunctional market, Understand this: When AIG needed to be bailed out, one of the biggest creditors who got repayed the money was Goldman Sachs. When you talk about the terrible, horrible bailouts, Goldman Sachs is one of the major reasons there was one in the first place, and one of the major pockets that billions of tax dollars went to.

Am I blowing your mind here? What are you going to do, continue to rationalize how Goldman Sachs must not truly deserve to be investigated, or acknowledge how dirty the operation really is?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 21, 2010 10:34 PM
Comment #299311

Stephen
Are The President and other Democrats going to give back the money they got from GS? I don’t really know how dirty the operation really is because there hasn’t been an investigation yet. Until then I can’t make a reasonable judgement unlike you. Stephen this reminds me of your judgement of the Marines at Hadathia when you had them guilty before the investigation. How deep are the Democrats hands in GS’s pockets. All 500+ members of congress are in the pockets of Wall St. So now Democrats call Wall St. evil. Yes we need financial reform but I think it’s ludicrus to call someone evil when you have your hands in their pocket.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 10:49 PM
Comment #299312

Mag, I get a kick out of republican hardliners. They have been fed so full of skepticism by the masters of spin that they actually are beginning to resemble the spin masters in thought and action. I know it is hard to believe, but some legislation just needs to be done because it is the right thing to do. Is it really so hard to believe that legislators might actually be acting in a responsible manner? Hell, those damn dems are screwing the whole system up. Next thing you know, people might actually start expecting congress to put the bs aside and act responsibly all the time. I have no doubt though that republicans would find some way to define responsibility as an evil socialist agenda with hidden goals. Twisting words into alternate meanings is what they do best. It is how people of no true substance bs their way through the world.

Posted by: Rickil at April 21, 2010 10:49 PM
Comment #299314

Rickil
Unlike you on the left I like to see the hard evidence before I make a judgement. Until then all accusations are just that accusations and nothing more. Did I not say all 500+ in congress have their hands in Wall St’s pockets? As far as acting responsibly, I expect that from the president on down no matter what party they claim. I do expect that congress puts the BS aside and act like adults instead of acting like children as of late. And yes I do think we need financial reform, a bipartisian reform and not just a one sided joke.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 11:11 PM
Comment #299315

MAG-
I know people dream of starting out with a completely new Congress, perhaps even a new party system. But hell, I’m not going to wait that long to push for reform, and neither are most Democrats.

I don’t count on the politicians in Washington to be pure, I count on them to be responsive to their constituents.

I don’t think Obama or anybody else has to give back the the money, if they demonstrate that they have the guts to confront Wall Street. The question is not whether Congress has their hands in Wall Street’s pocket, it’s whether Wall Street has Congress in their pocket.

You talk of bipartisan reform, but your terms practically require that we treat you folks like equal partners, this with one of the most significant majorities in forty years. Can you honestly tell me that if Republicans had these numbers, they’d be waiting for a by-your-leave from Democrats on every bill?

You folks are expecting the Democrats to act like they’re still in the minority.

But above all else, when it comes to a choice between real reform and bipartisan reform, I want my people to choose real reform. If all Republicans are asking for is more gimmees and more rewriting to suit their Wall Street Fundraisers, what’s the point of being bipartisan with that?

You want the power of government you failed to earn when your party was kicked out, then further removed, from the majority. You’re not prepared to admit that there’s a reason why Democrats are here to push this agenda.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 21, 2010 11:30 PM
Comment #299316

Stephen, I don’t care how your party or the other get their money. But I think it is hypocritical of someone accepting contributions from someone you are accusing of fraud no matter what party you are from and then lecturing them on financial responsibility. I would expect both republicans and democrats to return any contributions from GS if in fact they are found guilty. If they don’t then they are just as guilty as GS in accepting fraudulent money. As I said we need financial reform, but I don’t think we will get what you expect.

Posted by: MAG at April 21, 2010 11:45 PM
Comment #299318

That reasoning is about as convoluted as it is possible to get. The crux, the way I understand it, is…If I am running for office and accept a donation from X, and later on I find out that X has committed or is committing a crime, I can’t charge X with that crime because I took a donation from him? And, if I do charge X with the crime, I must give back the money he donated? Are you sure you’re not Joseph Heller?

If the donation was legal, and the way I used it was legal…WTF???

Posted by: Marysdude at April 22, 2010 12:01 AM
Comment #299319

Goldman did lose money, but cut their own losses by a billion dollars. Losing a few million rather than a billion is coming out ahead.

Goldman contributing to Obama sort of speaks against corruption now that they are a target, unless, of course, if you believe this is a flimsy case they will deflect easily.

Posted by: gergle at April 22, 2010 12:14 AM
Comment #299320

So dude if you take money from lets say Madoff who got his money through fraud but you didn’t know that. In your mind it’s legal because you didn’t know he got that money fraudulently but later find out that he got the money illegally. Do you still keep it.

Posted by: MAG at April 22, 2010 12:19 AM
Comment #299326

MAG-
Look, what makes taking the money a bad thing is the influence, then sense that money will generate gratitude. Maybe Obama got a lot of money from those people, but he sure isn’t acting very grateful!

I don’t keep repeating “Quid Pro Quo” to get extra credit from my Classics teacher. That’s the definition of corruption: This, for that. I give you a bribe, or you don’t let me have a permit. I give you campaign finance, or I don’t get access. I give you funds, so you will turn around and legislation in my favor.

When somebody accepts donations, but doesn’t do the bidding of the people in question, that reflects well on them.

You could argue that the mere appearance of impropriety would be a problem, but again, where is it? He accepted the donations, but went ahead and did what he wanted, what he promised people he would do.

All you have here is a metaphysical taint. But that’s ALL you have, really. That’s your last ditch strategy, last ditch talking point, is to take the accepted donations, and make that a bigger deal than the legislation, the regulation, or any thing else that’s actually being DONE.

In other words, superficial appearances over substantive realities.

That’s all you have left. Go on asking them to give the money back, because nothing has happened to make it look like that set of donations bought any influence. Quite the opposite in fact.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 22, 2010 7:28 AM
Comment #299329

Every dollar Madoff accumulated was tainted by his fraud…are you saying that every dollar Goldman has accumulated is tainted the same way? Madoff was the head teller in a pyramid scheme, while Goldman took advantage of one particular set of investers…hmmm…unless more relevant evidence shows that this has been the way Goldman does ALL its business. Madoff is in jail and one or more of Goldman folks might be headed in the same direction. If Goldman is found to be following the path of fraud on a regular basis, and this administration kicks it off the street, will you then be telling us that a campaign donation should be returned? I think you think that way because the left received more money, hence would hurt more in a return process…wow…how petty…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 22, 2010 9:11 AM
Comment #299333

And while we are at it,instead of a regressive VAT , a politically untenable huge rise in the upper marginal tax rates or a painful cut in SS beneifits, how about a simple transaction tax on Wall Street. Even a small charge would raise a lot of revenue and might even help stabilize the market slightly. A small fee like 5 cents a share or .005% or some such would be paid by those most able to afford it and have zero impact on consumer spending.

Posted by: bills at April 22, 2010 9:57 AM
Comment #299335

S.D.& dude
Democrats are the ones that are high on financial reform and calling Wall St. evil yet Democrats are getting the bulk of Wall St. contributions. There is something going on here that doesn’t sit well. If I’m being investigated for a crime the last thing I would do is make contributions to the group doing the investigating unless I was going to get something in return such as a small fine or a slap on the wrist. I agree it is OK to get campaign contributions but getting them from someone under investigation is another thing. I also agree that financial reform is needed but Democrats should set the example since they are the ones introducing the legislation.

Posted by: MAG at April 22, 2010 10:05 AM
Comment #299337


Stephen and Marysdude, the reason the Democrats have gotten all that money from the banks is….

To Big To Fail.

The Democrats are being paid not to go there.

Posted by: jlw at April 22, 2010 10:19 AM
Comment #299338

jlw,

The proof will be in the pudding. I believe our reform package will address the issue of ‘too big to fail’, and that if it does not, the issue will be resolved before the end of President Obama’s first term. Your quick analysis is very presumptuous, and assumes facts not in evidence.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 22, 2010 11:03 AM
Comment #299339

MAG,

Unless I’ve missed it, those donations happened BEFORE the investigations and charges. Frankly, I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but I’d take a second look at it if I were you.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 22, 2010 11:06 AM
Comment #299340

PS:

MAG, are you not for financeial reform? Why do you say only Democrats are concerned with our financial future?

Posted by: Marysdude at April 22, 2010 11:08 AM
Comment #299341

PPS:

Are you joining the crowd that whines that low end mortgage holders caused the greatest financial fiasco in our collective memories?

Posted by: Marysdude at April 22, 2010 11:11 AM
Comment #299344

Frankly Dude I don’t care if the donations were recieved yesterday, today, or ten years ago. Democrats are the ones introducing financial reform legislation. I never said Democrats were the only ones concerned for our financial future Read #299335 last sentence. All I’m saying is practice what you preach and that goes for Republicans. You want reform yet you have your hands in the fat cats on Wall St’s pockets or is this your example of redistribution of wealth going from one fat cat to the other.

Posted by: MAG at April 22, 2010 11:37 AM
Comment #299348

Mag, you are dead on target! The Republicans cry about the Democrats; the Democrats cry about Republicans. The Democrats scream about “Fat Cats’ and payoffs and now who is the big guy from Goldman working for? President Obama! If Goldman Sacs were the lying cheats everyone is saying they are why the heck would you hire anyone from that company? If you are calling a company lying crooks why would you take their contributions. I guess its ok to hire rich fat cats if you’re a Democrat but not if you’re a Republican.

We voters are talking out of both sides of our mouths, it is not left or right; its right or wrong, at least that’s how my country used to be. The powers on both sides of the aisle have us all sitting around arguing about trivialities, the Democrats said this and the Republicans said that; in the mean time all of our rights are eroding.

Posted by: MikeE at April 22, 2010 12:48 PM
Comment #299350

I don’t know what realm y’all live in, but it must be nice there lolling about in your elysian fields. If Democrats don’t take the legal monies that is offered and the opposition does, Dem’s go down the drain. Modern campaigning requires mega-bucks. You want to talk about campaign reform, have at it, but don’t fantasize about how one political party is going to turn down money, just so it can lose the next set of elections. This stuff ought to be taught in elementary school, how’d y’all miss it?

Posted by: Marysdude at April 22, 2010 2:34 PM
Comment #299351

MAG-

Democrats are the ones that are high on financial reform and calling Wall St. evil yet Democrats are getting the bulk of Wall St. contributions. There is something going on here that doesn’t sit well.

Well, you know, Wall Street was hoping to convince them not to do anything. That much is obvious. Didn’t work, though.

The problem for Wall Street is that Democrats in Washington fear losing their seats more than they fear losing Wall Street contributions.

What probably doesn’t sit well with you is that you don’t actually know what you could accuse us of, otherwise you would be actually saying it and not futzing around with innuendo and suspicion.

Money may talk, but it can be ignored, especially when voters insist on holding those who listen accountable.

MikeE-
It’s about how our country used to be. Sure! I remember, it used to be more liberal!

Of course, different people can remember different nostalgic Americas, because each person remembers something they thought was gee-golly darn swell.

That’s America for you. It’s got room for us all, if we let it. You may not always be in the majority, but you aren’t without your freedoms.

Which reminds me. What freedoms do you think you’re losing? It’s easy enough to say somebody’s taking your freedoms. The question is whether or not your idea of freedom coincides with your idea of control, whether you only feel free when your people are in charge, making the rules.

You know why I post under my real name? It’s pretty simple, really: At the time, I wanted to illustrate that whatever Republicans or the Bush administration thought, I believe I had a freedom to speak out, without official or unofficial reprisal. I also wanted, though, the check on my behavior that comes with knowing that a simple google search can bring up much of what I’ve said, here and elsewhere. I’m not going to incite violence, or peddle conspiracy theories, or any of that other horse****

Newsflash: Nobody’s hauling Tea Partisans off to jail for voicing their opinion. Nobody’s showing up at the their front door and asking for their guns. Healthcare Reform has been passed, with nary a Death Panel in sight. There’s no constitutional right to run a business however you please. Corporations charter under state and federal law.

What rights are you losing? What freedoms are you being denied? The freedom to be seen as right? The Right to be in charge?

As for who gets paid what? I wish you wouldn’t encourage him, because he’s wrong. He’s got this notion that money by itself creates a metaphysical taint that corrupts any who receive it.

But’s that’s not what matters. What matters is whether a politician feels obligated to do the will of the one footing the money for their bills. If they don’t, if the contribution is less about trying to extract a quid pro quo, and more about simply expressing a preference. Obama doesn’t have to answer for keeping the money because he’s resisted the temptation that would make keeping it a problem in the first place.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 22, 2010 2:36 PM
Comment #299352

I don’t keep repeating “Quid Pro Quo” to get extra credit from my Classics teacher. That’s the definition of corruption: This, for that. I give you a bribe, or you don’t let me have a permit. I give you campaign finance, or I don’t get access. I give you funds, so you will turn around and legislation in my favor.

Stephen I actually don’t disagree with this, but then again I didn’t have a problem with the Citizens United decision either. How did you feel about that one back in January? Because the quid pro quo argument was used by Kennedy in his opinion.

Court now concludes that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption. That speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that those officials are corrupt. And the appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy

Posted by: George at April 22, 2010 2:42 PM
Comment #299354

Dude and S.D. Would you be singing the same tune if it were Republicans pushing financial reform and in the fat cats pockets, which they are. No, you would be calling them everything but human. You guys can’t see past your Democratic noses. You will defend Democrats tooth and nail but chastise anyone else who does the same.

Posted by: MAG at April 22, 2010 3:19 PM
Comment #299356

MAG,

I don’t think Republicans would EVER push for Financial reform…not without a push from progressives. In fact, until current Republicans found out it was a populist idea and voters were voicing their displeasure with financial houses, Republicans had decided to vote ‘nay’ en bloc. Did you miss the fastest 180 spin in history a couple of days ago? McConnel went from nay to yea in less than a heartbeat. One day every Republican was going to fight finance reform, the next day finance reform was the best thing to happen since sliced bread. Blue Dog, Blanche Lincoln even proposed a more strict bill than any Democrat had proposed…she does not have to concern herself with en bloc nays you see…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 22, 2010 5:14 PM
Comment #299357

Back on that right or wrong track again; sorry it was something I was taught in elementary school Marysdude.

How can you sit there in all honesty, if not with me but at the very least with yourself and claim financial reform is honest and upfront when the current Chairman of Goldman visited the White House four times during the period the SEC was preparing and filing their fraud claims. Do you think he was there checking their retirement programs or making plans for earth day? This is all a smoke screen and I’m sorry you all fall for it.

I am not saying a political party shouldn’t take what seems to be good money in earnest to run their campaigns; but don’t hand me that crap that your side stands on higher moral ground and is for the little people. They are all rich people running for office not like the old days, just pick your side and debate honestly.

Posted by: MikeE at April 22, 2010 5:35 PM
Comment #299358

I saw it dude. Why do you think I refer to both parties with their hands in the cookie jar. People have been voicing their displeasure with congress and the government in general for awhile now, and it’s about time they started to listen and not do just what makes them feel good. But I do think Wall St. is going to play a part in this reform package, and I really think they need to because with the bumbling idiots that are in congress now, who knows what will come out of it.

Posted by: MAG at April 22, 2010 5:36 PM
Comment #299359

Marysdude:

I don’t think Republicans would EVER push for Financial reform…not without a push from progressives.

Obviously you haven’t heard of Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 22, 2010 5:53 PM
Comment #299360

Sorry Craig…I thought Sarbanes was a Democrat. I’ll try harder next time, I promise.

When I said, “I don’t think Republicans would EVER push for Financial reform…not without a push from progressives.” I had forgotten that Sarbanes was a Republican…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 22, 2010 6:15 PM
Comment #299361

Mike E,

“They are all rich people running for office not like the old days, just pick your side and debate honestly.”

What “old days” were those Mike?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at April 22, 2010 6:16 PM
Comment #299363

Marysdude:

From what I understand it is hard to make a case either way from Dems to Republicans.

Goldman Sachs has ties throughout the Whitehouse. That isn’t that unusual. Republicans do the same thing. Where else are you going to get the expertise needed to run the government side of things?

This is fundamentally not the same debate as health care.

Reform of our financial system needs to happen on a periodic basis if for no other reason then our creative system keeps inventing new financial systems and investments as our system keeps getting more complex.

This is going to pass with a very large majority. This will be an example of how we all wish Congress worked each time.

Over 70 Senators yes on the final vote.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 22, 2010 6:28 PM
Comment #299364

Remember those seventy voted for a bill that did not include restrictions on “too big to fail”. We’ll just have to wait and see on that one. Not that long ago the top five houses held less than 20% of all assets, but now they hold almost 70%. We can’t survive with those kinds of numbers in corporations that have zero loyalty, patriotism or conscience. It is clear to me that something more drastic than what has been presented so far has to occur (much like the HC Reform without either single payer or nationalized systems installed). But, maybe as time goes along…maybe…maybe?

Posted by: Marysdude at April 22, 2010 7:09 PM
Comment #299369


“(much like the HC Reform without either single payer or nationalized systems installed)”

That is what the corporations got for their money!

Get no controls on pricing and get the states out of the way so that consolidation can be obtained; leading to higher prices and higher profits for fewer companies with larger market shares.

A Health and Human Services report says that the Health Care Reform Act will do very little to nothing about slowing the runaway prices in health care.

Posted by: jlw at April 23, 2010 12:08 AM
Comment #299371

jlw,

Perhaps corporations did their job well, but remember, it was the lock-step, no compromise Republicans that corporations depended on. Without Republican complicity, the HCR would have actually benefited the way President Obama explained it while he was campaigning. We can always fault corporations for doing their do-baddy stuff, and especially now that the Roberts court has opened the flood gates, but an entire minority in Congress? Not so much…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 23, 2010 7:07 AM
Comment #299373

MAG-
I dislike Bush and the Republicans so fiercely because they were exceedingly impractical. They were willing to allow disastrous outcomes to unfold, or go into denial about the depth of the crisises they faced, in order to not have to go back on a fiercely advocated policy or piece of political dogma.

If Bush had taken care of Iraq early, if he had not screwed things up in Afghanistan, where it was truly important, if he had not busted the budget with his tax cuts, or if he had cut short any number of problems he let fester and put aside the dogma of his party to act, I might have respected him.

But time and time again, I saw him neglect duties and responsiblities to forward his own political success and maintain the party dogma.

Have the Republicans recovered from this? No. Absolutely not. They are still willing to put this country through such suffering just to get things their way, with the arrogant belief that when they get what they want, everything will be for the best, regardless of what results we see now.

Democrats don’t think that way. I’m not saying we’re perfect, but we don’t have this aversion to running agencies properly that the Republicans do. We don’t mind if those agencies serve their purpose. We’re not looking for constant excuses to gut enforcement or hinder the function of government.

At least, not most of us. Democrats actually care about good government, more than they care about big or small government. You worry about quantity, we worry about quality.

MikeE-
I swear. Every time I hear something like this, this specific, clear sort of talking point, I google it, and lo and behold every Republican site is saying the same damn thing. Why is that?

And to what end? No alternative bill is offered, no nothing. The Republicans actually, literally went begging to Wall Street to give them campaign financing, promising to do those bankster’s bidding. They can do such transparently corrupt things because Republican rationalize this BS within an inch of their lives.

But Democrats aren’t letting that stop them. Harry Reid just filed for Cloture on the vote on this legislation. You know what that means? It means that this guy who could barely herd the cats with Healthcare Reform is turning around and putting the hammer down on the Republicans he’s negotiating with, practically daring them to filibuster, or capitulate.

And let me ask a plain question: why, if somebody like Blanche Lincoln, who hasn’t exactly been a poster girl for resisting Wall Street’s advances, can put in stricter regulations on Derivatives than Obama asks for, would Obama go so far as to actually endanger his political future by helping Goldman Sachs?

We can understand Republicans, but even Republicans are a bit scared of coming out against Reform, and the Senate Minority Leader’s attempt to spin an industry-financed fund for taking apart failed banks as an endless bailout was just pathetic. Nobody bought that.

Craig Holmes-
Sarbanes-Oxley was a kludgy bill at best, and it did little to prevent the myriad of abuses that got us into this mess. It was a stopgap for a Republican Administration and Congress who felt they couldn’t convince anybody that some reform was not necessary. It is not evidence that the Republicans are willing to get out ahead of future crisises.

The problem with the Republican party and its attitude towards capitalism is that it confuses freedom from law and regulation with freedom from the domination of central planning upon the economy.

No economy can survive a lack of clear law on what the duties of buyers and sellers are, what the rights of consumers and customers are, and so on and so forth. The Market doesn’t magically ensure all this, no more than social forces would magically ensure against racism and prejudice, or the adherence to standards of decent behavior. People need some government.

Some. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we can legislate all the wrong out of the economy. But we can at least keep the market stable and guarantee people enough information and ability to redress their grievances that the market can work towards that purpose.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 23, 2010 8:30 AM
Comment #299376

S.D. So you lump all Republicans because of a few A—holes in congress and one screwed up President. News Flash Stephen Democrats are no better. Stephen There has been arrogance from this Democrat led congress thinking they know what is best for the country overridding the will of the people. Stephen if Bush 41 would have taken care of Iraq maybe we wouldn’t have the mess we have over there now. If Democrats care about good government, why then are congress’ numbers p___poor. The trouble is Stephen, the career politicians do what they want and think the people are stupid. People are waking up to this and not going to put up with it much longer. Both parties are in for a rude awakining come Nov. IMO a lot of seats in congress will change hands. Also if the SEC would have been doing their job instead of watching PORN on the internet there might have been some warning signs before this financial mess we are in now.

Posted by: MAG at April 23, 2010 9:51 AM
Comment #299377

Stephen, If Bush 41 would have taken care of Iraq we wouldn’t be in this mess. Why do you lump all Republicans as bad when congressional approval is P—-Poor. Come Nov. IMO both parties are in for a rude awakening when alot of the idiots that became career politicians become suddenly unemployed. Democrats have done some very unpopular things as of late especially going against the will of the majority of people. Stephen, like I said I’ve been around a whole lot longer then you and seen all kinds of stupidity come out of DC from both parties. Bush 43 was an idiot I agree but you have to look at who your party put up against him, 2 guys who were bigger idiots.

Posted by: MAG at April 23, 2010 2:11 PM
Comment #299390

MAG-
Bush is an idiot, but you buy into the Neocon BS that Saddam needed to be taken care of. Both parties are corrupt and bad, but hey, you’re going to buy one party’s talking points on healthcare, anyways!

Look if you want to be independent, not following the party line and buying the party’s BS is a good start.

Try ditching the liberal media phobia. Perhaps if you didn’t filter out your news to suit Republican ideology, you might actually seriously consider the problems that have made them such poor stewards of the government, instead going back again and again to support their side of the issue reflexively.

If you don’t think for yourself, really think for yourself, you’ll never be able to hold people accountable. You’ll never run into any facts but the ones that the party wants you to run into, and don’t think that they aren’t deliberately filtering things to make themselves and their issue stands, however corruptly motivated, look good.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 23, 2010 7:31 PM
Comment #299391

Stephen, I listen to the idiots on both side of the media. I think watching them is better then comedy central. The reason why they are poor stewards of the government is they are only in it for the money and prestige about 99% of them could care less about you and me. Stephen I don’t buy the BS from either side. Chris Mathews had two congressmen on today from both parties talking about Financial reform. The funny thing was he cornered both of them about contributions from Wall St. if they were getting any neither would give him a straight answer. He asked them to include in the reform that they couldn’t take contributions from whom they regulate neither would comment on that. So much for practicing what you preach.

Posted by: MAG at April 23, 2010 7:53 PM
Comment #299403

MAG-
Contributions are red herring, floated probably by people who want equivalences drawn instead of differences noted.

They talk of contributions and donations for rhetorical effect. The fact that they have no solid scandal to talk about just illustrates the problem: they must argue from ignorance to tar Obama with the brush of corruption.

However, with the Democrats aggressively pursuing financial reform, and Obama’s SEC actually doing its job instead of sitting around watching porn (I wish I were kidding), I don’t see where the charge really connects. Show me where Obama misused his authority. Show me where he let them write the bill. Show me something Obama did, and then base your jaundiced opinion on that. I don’t see the point of folks being smug about equivalences they can’t even prove in fact.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 23, 2010 11:31 PM
Comment #299422

Stephen you would make a good politician just like those two congressmen on Mathews ask a question of them and they beat around the bush and never give a straight answer.

Posted by: MAG at April 24, 2010 10:28 AM
Comment #299431

Stephen’s answers are straighter, and more to point, than most of the questions he’s asked…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 24, 2010 12:47 PM
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