“Are You Shitting Me?”

Senators who are ‘for the people’ overlooked in the financial reform process!

One look at the make-up of the Senate Conferees selected to work with the House to combine the two versions of financial reform into powerful, effective legislation, and we can kiss that notion good-bye!

There is little desire on the part of those chosen to help ‘the people,’ as evidenced by: their positions on many of the issues that are, or could be, part of the original bill, their votes in the past, and their campaign finance histories’.

Of the 12 members selected by the Senate, not a single powerful voice ‘for the people’ is a member of the conferencing process. Many of these Senators are outright or tacitly responsible for most of our financial problems.

What can we expect out of a group like this?

The pain felt on Main Street was caused by those now charged with fixing their financial missteps and protecting us from a similar financial crisis in the future. Therein lies the biggest predicament. Someone who has trouble admitting to mistakes of the past is incapable of any vision into the future.

More importantly, are any of these selectees capable of fighting ‘for the people?’ It is highly doubtful that ‘the people’ have even half a chance at fair financial regulation given the cast of characters selected.

Without advocates like Ted Kaufman, Maria Cantwell, or Bernie Sanders, ‘we the people’ have little hope that the transfer of wealth to greedy banksters and other members of the top one-percent will end.

Most of the Senators chosen are predisposed to side with banks and against ‘the people.’

What we need are a few voices like those above, or Sherrod Brown, Tom Harkin, or Russ Feingold’s, or Barbara Mikulski, who voted against Gramm/Leach/Bliley in 1999 and voted to break up the Big Banks last month.

Without these voices who will work to coalesce stronger elements of the House legislation with those of the Senate, the bill will fall way short of what is required to stabilize and preserve the American economy. Despite the weakness of the bill passed by the Senate, many of the Senate conferees will work to weaken it further.

The selection of Dodd, Schumer, and Gregg was a big blow to ‘the people.’ Not one of the three has any incentive to be on our side and every reason to be on the side of the banks.

Neither Dodd nor Gregg are planning to return to Congress. Both are positioning themselves for a cushy job in banking or some other corporate or lobbying position from someone with thankful deep pockets. Dodd has received almost $1 million from financial institutions in this election cycle despite leaving Congress.

Another who has received millions from finance and is in no way obligated to ‘the people’ is, Charles Schumer, the Senator from New York.

More than half of the conferees are duplicitous; legislators who have caused the financial crises as a result of past legislative decisions.

Four have achieved the hat trick: voting for Gramm/Leach/Bliley, for TARP, and against breaking up the Big Banks. Senator John Reed (D-RI) joins Dodd, Gregg, and Schumer in that distinction. Three of them voted to end the debate then voted for the incomplete Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010.

Others who will be negotiating the legislation and have also failed millions of Americans are Blanche Lincoln, Tim Johnson, and Patrick Leahy on the Democratic side. Also part of the team are Republicans Bob Corker, Saxby Chambliss, and Mike Crapo who are equally complicit in our country’s financial crisis.

Lincoln and Leahy voted for Gramm and TARP plus the weak reform bill. Johnson voted for Gramm and against breaking up the Big Banks and still voted for the weak reform bill.

Crapo also voted for Gramm and against breaking up the banks. Chambliss and Corker were not around for Gramm, but given their records would have voted for it. They voted to allow banks to continue ripping off the poor and middle-class with their vote for TARP and voted against Senator Brown’s amendment to break up the Big Banks (S.3733). All three voted against the reform bill; merely political posturing to fool their constituents. They love this weak bill!

Eight of the 12 Senators have received over $8,000,000 from financial institutions for this election cycle; the same institutions that this bill regulates. OpenCongress Blog breaks it down for each conferee. Chuck Schumer has received nearly $4,000,000. Richard Shelby has received $1,200,000, while Dodd and Lincoln have received nearly $1,000,000 each.

All three, Schumer, Shelby, and Lincoln, are Class III Senators which means they’re running for reelection this year.

Republican Mike Crapo of Idaho is also a Class III Senator and has received $405,000 and Class I Senator Bob Corker—up for reelection in two years—has received $361,000 from banks and financial institutions. These are rather large campaign donations for Senators from Idaho and Tennessee. What would even warrant a penny in contributions from big banks and giant financial institutions to these two politicians?

Money has corrupted politics and has tainted this process. It places ‘the people’ in a negative sum game with little hope of garnering any relief from the final financial reform bill.

The only way the people will prevail in this ethical struggle between the current ethics of Congress and ‘real’ democracy is to get rid of the vile cancer that is pervasive in Congress. That means getting rid of those in both the House and Senate who have failed to represent our interests. It is imperative that we also change campaign financing and eliminate corporate interference in the democratic process.

Lincoln is in a tough race in Arkansas against Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter. Her votes against the best interest of her constituents have hurt her chances at reelection. Others may find difficulty in their races in November for the same reasons.

Other Class III Senators on the committee who have misrepresented their constituents include Charles Schumer, Richard Shelby, Patrick Leahy, and Mike Crapo. If they fail to create a strong financial reform bill then the people of New York, Alabama, Vermont, and Idaho need to take back control of their states.

Fortunately, Dodd and Gregg are leaving. But, they’re poised to help their generous donors one last time before leaving office at the expense of ‘the people.’

As long as we continue reelecting the idiots who have destroyed this country and expect them to fix what they’ve broken, we don’t deserve to survive.

We don’t deserve democracy!

It’s time for ‘the people’ to become informed, focus their anger, and take back this country. The survival of our children is at stake. We cannot fail them.

They deserve our best effort to assure their opportunity to have the American Dream!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to ““Are You Shitting Me?””