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Unzipping The Elizabeth Warren Package

Economy Memo Pad Politics

Unzipping The Elizabeth Warren Package

Elizabeth Warren

They like her style. Many liberals adore Elizabeth Warren’s populist passion for denouncing predatory conduct by Wall Street — and her linking it to growing income inequality.

Though the senator from Massachusetts insists she’s not running for president, her fan base has set up camp in Iowa, fueling the fires for a Warren candidacy. They want her to challenge Hillary Clinton, a likely contender viewed as more lenient toward the captains of finance.

Style goes a long way, but not all the way. So let’s unzip the Warren package and evaluate the components. When you do that, you find a strange thing. The stands that have anointed Warren as the “soul of the Democratic Party” are not particularly liberal. Some are profoundly conservative, in the traditional sense of “conservative” — that is, letting markets determine winners and losers in business.

We only think of these Wall Street critiques as liberal because Republicans — helped by no few Democrats — have confused the public into thinking that whatever aids in the building of private fortunes is somehow conservative and pro-market. That would include taxpayer subsidies, which they try to keep hidden by complexity.

The truth is that the Wall Street formula for success is not so much taking risks and reaping the rewards if one is clever. It’s by cleverly moving the risks onto the taxpayers’ shoulders. Recall how government guarantees on junky mortgages let the financial industry reap upfront profits while leaving taxpayers with the cleanup when the real estate bubble splattered.

The Dodd-Frank reforms attempted to shield taxpayers from such bailouts in the future. Congress is now undermining them. We refer to the recently passed spending bill, which lets federally insured banks engage in certain risky derivatives trading. Just its name — the “swaps push-out” provision — is enough to make the average eye glaze, which is exactly what the authors want.

Warren led the protest against this meddling with market forces, which, in our bizarro world of political discourse, makes her a liberal lioness. Conservatives are the ones who’ve argued that we don’t need many regulations. The markets, they say, will discipline speculators placing bad bets. But what the “conservatives” have just done is protect banks from such punishment — and, should a deal go south, punish the taxpayers instead.

The “swaps push-out” provision comes courtesy of Rep. Kevin Yoder. The Kansas Republican didn’t personally compose this weakening of the Dodd-Frank rule, called “Prohibition Against Federal Government Bailouts of Swaps Entities.” He let Citigroup do it and simply transferred the banking giant’s handiwork into the spending bill.

As Yoder framed the issue, “this is about the farmer in your district who wants to get a loan.”

Aw, shucks. Yep, oil companies and agribusiness save money on their hedging activities when taxpayers take on the risks. How naive of us to think the cost of managing their risks should be their business expense.

A less useful part of the Warren package is the senator’s tendency to blame Wall Street for demanding favors from Congress. Of course the financial industry tries to get what it can from Washington. It should be the business of Congress to say, “Sorry. You can’t have.”

There are principled conservatives, including Federal Reserve officials, who have seen the provision as the ruse it is to keep taxpayers on the hook for speculators’ mistakes. But most of the Republican-controlled Congress is neither principled nor conservative.

That leaves liberals to speak the obvious truth that — in Sen. Sherrod Brown’s words — the provision will “open the door to future bailouts funded by American taxpayers.” Funny how liberals like Warren (and Brown) have become the taxpayers’ real defenders and so few people get it.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

Photo: Senate Democrats via Flickr

Froma Harrop

Froma Harrop’s nationally syndicated column appears in over 150 newspapers. Media Matters ranks her column 20th nationally in total readership and 14th in large newspaper concentration. Harrop has been a guest on PBS, MSNBC, Fox News and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is a frequent voice on NPR and talk radio stations in every time zone as well.

A Loeb Award finalist for economic commentary in 2004 and again in 2011, Harrop was also a Scripps Howard Award finalist for commentary in 2010. She has been honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the New England Associated Press News Executives Association has given her five awards.

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  1. ericlipps December 23, 2014

    Interesting point.

    Too many of those who wear the label “conservative” are guilty of false advertising: they’re really one flavor or another of radical right-winger. People like that don’t really want to “conserve” anything other than privilege for the privileged. Apart from that, they want to turn back the clock to a Disneyfied version of the past or establish some weird Christian version of Iran’s

  2. Dominick Vila December 23, 2014

    The funniest part of this issue is that when it comes to fiscal responsibility and putting in place policies that promote business growth and limit the probability of of fraud and irresponsibility, most modern-day Democratic leaders, from Bill Clinton, to Hillary, Elizabeth Warren, and Barack Obama are far more conservatives than the Republican leaders who have been and remain fixated on deficit spending, accumulation of debt, and deregulation designed to facilitate fraud and abuse. This fascinating circumstance, which is not too hard to understand after a cursory look at the record and the policies or decisions of both parties, usually gets lost in the rarefied political climate that dominates political debate in the USA. Most Republicans are social conservatives, but when it comes to the economy, they are the epitome of reckless liberalism. When it comes to economic matters, their interpretation of fiscal or economic “conservatism” is limited to low taxes, that force us to borrow to pay for the things we need and benefit from, and towing the line for their powerful, wealthy, supporters.

    1. Eleanore Whitaker December 23, 2014

      Dominick…I so agree. The reality is that dollar for dollar, the red states are living off blue states. All anyone has to do to prove that is take a long look at how many the red states get back for the $1 they pay in federal taxes. Two states, Alaska and Texas get back nearly $2 for every dollar they pay while the top progressive blue states get an average of 65 cents for every dollar our states pay.

      Yet, the great deniers of conservatism hate to shine a spotlight on this. The ROI for blue states is that we are forced to stretch our state funding further and further so there’s enough left to support red states.

      1. Dominick Vila December 23, 2014

        In my opinion there is nothing conservative about a party orthodoxy that promotes deficit spending, borrowing, tax breaks that produced a fiscal imbalance so pronounced that at one point (Reagan) required raising the national debt 18 times in 8 years. What the GOP economic and fiscal record demonstrates goes beyond conservatism or liberalism. It is plain irresponsible recklessness, egotism, and overt manifestations of greed.
        The part that I have a hard time understanding is why do so many Americans fail to see the Republican record for what it is. Is it ignorance? I don’t think so. I think it has more to do with ideological hatred, greed, and irresponsible behavior than not having the capacity to discern the truth.

        1. Eleanore Whitaker December 23, 2014

          I don’t think Americans fail to see the GOP for what it is. I think Americans feel powerless to stop them. That’s a defeatist attitude that gets us no where. Sometimes, no matter how great the cost, we have to stand toe to toe on our principles and beliefs. For ourselves, if not our kids.

          What do you do when you have a party hellbent on destruction? You let them do it. They and no one else will get the blame for the decisions they made. When none of the choices look good, you still have to make a choice on what to do…I want the GOP to fail. That’s more certain than we think.

          1. joe schmo December 23, 2014

            Your hate is all consuming. Such a narcissist. Blame everything and anything on the GOP. Well, the GOP has taken a step back. Regrettably the GOP has sat back on its haunches for 6 years while they have allowed your lunatics in office to gut this country from the inside out.

            With all that has happened lately, your side IS imploding. Your media just doesn’t tell you so…..

          2. charleo1 December 23, 2014

            Joe, stop being hateful to Eleanor. And that’s all it is! Just being disagreeable. She is just as entitled to her informed, factually based as opinions, as you are to your fantasies about the sold out public hacks, and grifters, you call, “Real American Conservatives.”

          3. BillP December 24, 2014

            Charles je schmo always writes abut how bad things are in this country for the past 6 years. I guess he is correct if the Dow, S&P 500 & Nasdaq are up well over 100% with the Dow & S&P 500 at record levels, gas prices are down over $1 per gallon, unemployment is down to 5.8%, over 50 straight months of positive job growth, consumer confidence up, the GDP% up, the US dollar up against other currencies, etc. All the right wing trolls that write on this site claim these #’s are all being manipulated by the current administration, talk about being delusional!
            Joe Schmo, kenndeb and others just write their unfounded diatribes without any provable facts to back them up.

          4. joe schmo December 24, 2014

            Make all that money while you can Billy boy. Just heard the interest rates will slowly start creeping up. I am certainly not against you making money. The more the merrier. Remember I am a true capitalist. Just make sure you sell it before it nose dives.

            $1.00 a gallon is no thanks to Obummer. It is American ingenuity hard at work. Somehow the oil companies (like many corps in this Country and abroad) have figured out a way (as usual) to get around the FORCE in Washington. How did they do this? They started fracking on private land.
            The Middle East and Russia laughed at us because they thought they could pull the wool over our eyes by holding Americans hostage with oil prices:) Didn’t work did it. We still have adroitness going for us and it is during times like this when I am PROUD to have been born in a generation of entrepreneurs and dreamers. The younger generation, being brainwashed by Marxist ideology in the schools, may not be so lucky. I call for new Conservative blood in the schools and universities.

            Much to Obama’s demise, but he will take credit for all of Americas success when we know it is not him. GDP – down because of OIL BOOM:) Low gas prices:) A payraise itself. Lower fuel, lower transport costs, lower cost of products. LOL,……and you HATE oil…. But….Feds = interest rates=increase and that still may change our inventive abilities. American’s KNOW HOW TO DO BUSINESS:) I’m a Capitalist…..good for us….

            Here’s a good article:


            I can always find facts to back myself up.

            I wouldn’t give you Dems too much credit on this one because your man did everything he could to destroy us and he still is. It’s the Capitalist notion and American creativity and ingenuity that makes us unique and you idiots haven’t been able to destroy that yet:)

          5. BillP December 26, 2014

            Joe Schmo you aren’t capitalist you are just some ignorant right wing troll who keeps saying the sock market is bad investment. So far I have heard you say “your daddy” (spoken like a god little daddy’s boy) claims that gold and silver were better investments than the stock market, great advice. Let’s see ,from 12/2011 till 11/2014 Dow up 45.9%, S&P 500 up 64.4% & Nasdaq up 83.9% while Gold is down 24.3% and Silver is down 44.1%. Hope you followed your daddy’s advice! The interest rates have been going up for some time now but haven’t had a significant effect on the market. You make it sound like rising interest rates have very strong effect on the stock market, rising interest rates tend to make the stock market a slightly less attractive place to investment. So your investment acumen is vey limited and doesn’t reflect reality.

            I really don’t care what you give President Obama credit for. When gas prices were around the $4 mark all the right wing media were blaming the president but are mute on this now. As for calling the president “Obummer” all that shows is what a juvenile little boy you are. You should really stop using Russia as an example of anything, their economy and ruble are dropping very quickly.

            You need to proof read your statements – “Much to Obama’s demise, but he will take credit for all of Americas success when we know it is not him.

            That is written poorly and makes no sense. Once again you make a comment that is totally untrue – “GDP – down because of OIL BOOM” I don’t know where you get your data but the GDP s up for this year and has been up every year since 2010. The 2nd Q 2014 GDP was up 4.6% and the 3rd Q was up 3.5%. I know you like to think of yourself as being knowledgeable but you either don’t use reliable sources or just flat out lie.

            You really do have to stop with your unfounded statements that I hate (there is no need for capital letters) oil. That not only unfounded but stupid. Also your comment about Marxist ideology in schools is just one more of your many bs statements. God you are a long-winded bore and pedantic. You really do enjoy hearing yourself blather on and on and on.

          6. joe schmo December 24, 2014

            Hateful! Ask yourself who cast the first stone. She is a hateful, vindictive, old windbag. I see no sense in reasoning with such a person because all I see is hate and belligerent ignorance spewing from her lips. Much of what she says can be contradicted time and time again. She never finds fault on the side of the Dems, ever and blames everything on conservatives. Her narcissistic attitude is why she gets confronted by us. You preach tolerance? Most of you are far from tolerant. Little hypocritical don’t you think? It takes two to tango, my friend. It takes two.

    2. charleo1 December 23, 2014

      I was reading an interesting article just the other day about a group, they would be called a think tank today. That in the wake of the ’29 Wall Street melt down, the resultant Great Depression. And also the disastrous political fortunes of those, “Conservatives,” of that era. Were charged with essentially repakaging the same predatory system, and moreover, finding ways to resell it back to the World’s economies in a brand new economic discipline. They called themselves, “Neo-Liberals.” Or New Liberals. Ironic, isn’t it? The Right’s favorite pejorative for their hated opposition, was the name their own saviors, and resurrectors, gave to themselves! Welcome their their World down the rabbit hole.

    3. joe schmo December 23, 2014

      Mouth wide open. Wow, Dominick where did you get the notion that Clinton the killer, Hillary in her Mao suit, Warren in her sensless rants and Emperor Barry are Conservative? I see Communist written all over them. I’ve seen it in the flesh. Sorry, I’m not seeing a non-Marxist agenda. Did you family ever live under ‘Franco?’

      1. Dominick Vila December 23, 2014

        Yes they did, and so did I.
        Open your eyes, take a look at where the DOW is today – over 18,000 points for the first time in history – bank and corporations posting record profits, unemployment down to the point of being almost full employment, deficit spending down by 2/3,low interest rates, banks extending credit, industrial icons such as GM and Chrysler paying off the bailout money and on solid ground, consumer confidence up, and all the other economic indicators that contrast with what prevailed in January 2009; and if you still can’t see a non-Marxist agenda, I suggest you re-read Karl Marx’s manifesto.

  3. Eleanore Whitaker December 23, 2014

    I’ve never considered myself anything but a progressive populist. I have strong work ethics and believe that trough feeding on someone else’s dollar is lazy, arrogant and basically a conservative platitude. I think many Main Street Americans feel the same. The problem with today’s conservatives is that the only thing they care about is money…how to get it, take as much of it from others as they can and then hoard it tax free offshore. What exactly do they think they are trying to prove? Do they really think we don’t know that all of their attempts to sink programs that protect Americans from Wall Street speculators is nothing more than conservative greed?

    Today’s conservatives are living in denial. That’s easy to do when they are throwing the rest of us under a bus. But, as history proves, too many thrown under a bus and those that remain revolt.

    1. joe schmo December 23, 2014

      In a word, private enterprise. I suppose that is a word you don’t understand….. Conservative’s have more innovative and creative abilities when it comes to business than all the sponging union Liberals will ever have in a lifetime. It’s what makes people rich and exemplifies the American dream.

      Eleanore, you are the problem with what is going on in this Country. Maybe you should try North Korea or Cuba out for size. We don’t need your stinkin ideology.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker December 24, 2014

        Private enterprise? You mean like your Daddy’s crooked business where he stiffed his employees because as all Daddies of jerks know it’s so much easier to screw employees than your own customers right?

        Liberals exist. So do progressives. The difference between liberals is that liberals always move the country forward safely. CONS? Crooks who slime their way just under legal radar and try to get MORE MORE MORE than their fair share..but THAT you call “private enteprise?” I worked for Akzo Chemical’s General manager…that private enterprise enough for you Daddy’s boy? I also worked for ADP for 5 years for the Regional VP under Frank Lautenberg. Your daddy’s pissant business wasn’t more “laundering” than enterprise…Let me guess…YOur Daddy’s business was “connected”.

        I also owned my own business while you were still at Daddy’s knee. Time for you hot shots who think you know it all to shut the hell up and get your butts to work. Working your jaws isn’t work. It’s just morons trying to get attention.

        1. joe schmo December 24, 2014

          Obviously, you know nothing about running a business. Unions are not that viable any longer. Modernization is needed with regards to business and running employees.

          Conservatives and Republicans also exist in this country my dear.

          Hate to tell you this but my Father was always fair and honest. So is my sibling. You have a distorted way of looking at the way a company is run maybe because you have no clue how to run one.

          You ran a business? This surprises me. Obviously it was less than successful otherwise you would not be whining right now.

        2. BillP December 24, 2014

          Eleanore Joe Schmo continually writes negative comments based on his unfounded and delusional views. He claims that his wealthy daddy advised him to stay out of the stock market ( through 11/2014 Dow up 117%, S&P 500 up 146% & Nasdaq up 218%) gee that was wise!!. He claimed that gold and silver were better investments, again you have to wonder about daddy’s wisdom – from 9/2011 to 12/2014 – Gold down 34.7% & Silver down 54.4%. He has also made claims about the US Dollar tanking, he would be correct if tanking meant going up on value against currencies such as the Euro, Pound & Yen. Once he wrote about how successful Russia and how it was doing better than the US, talk about being delusional. Schmo and the other trolls can write all they want but they can’t refute how the US economy has recovered from the Recession and is improving from month to month.

  4. Charvi3 December 23, 2014

    First of all…like, Ryan McKenna, when he was State Senator for, MO….has always said…Fran you always hit the nail on the head….Elizabeth Warren, I have seen through her from day one…she is more Conservative than Liberal…all you can look up to see how many times she has voted, Conservative….than Liberal…first of all…when Kirsten Gillibrand put a bill up to where she needed 60 votes….she lacked 5 votes mind you to get protection for the women in the Armed Forces against being “Ganged Raped” or “Raped”….have any of you women ever been raped…well, I have and it is horrible…believe me…well, it was 10 Democrats that voted, “NAY”…and at the top of the list was the “Actress” Elizabeth Warren, who wears a different masks each day…to pull the wool over the public’s eyes to hide was she is really like on the inside….and it revealed how many times she has voted Conservative…which has been some 30 or more times and as a Liberal as she calls herself…11 times…weak minded people are taken over by people like her….first of all…she isn’t very professional as she loves to keep running down particular people and she appears to be smarter than anyone else…well…she and, Paul Ryan, wear the same shoes…believe me…he is a Conservative that calls the people that come to the government for help…”TAKERS”….and guess what that includes the taxpayers who are paying his $197,000 dollars salary per year….now, she is the same way…believe me….I am proud of the, National Memo, writing this article bringing her true self out in the open..I have always said what you are hiding on the inside will come out to the light…and it is beginning to do just that….so, all that, Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, was trying to do good to help the women within the Armed Forces…to protect them…Elizabeth Warren…because it wasn’t her “IDEA”….10 Democrats voted “NAY”…just like all of the Republicans did…it is sad…to see…a divided country…alone a divided Democratic Party….and some of them openly run down the President with at least three issues they don’t agree with him on…what happen to having good communication skills to work things out by going to those certain people and work the differences out…again…it isn’t very professional…when, people and a woman at that…openly stated..she separated herself from, Obama, and that was, and that was, Mary Landrieu, as well as, Alison Grimes…etc…and Elizabeth Warren…and none of those running won did they…you keep your opinions to yourself don’t let the public hear you don’t go along with your Party…that is really tacky…and it shows…you are not a “Team Player”…which most people when they work are…and when differences come up…they at least have humility to go and work things out and openly discuss with the other person the things that are upsetting you..oh, well, National Memo, keep up doing a great job at bringing out the truth…and to this day…we are trying to get a bill to pass to protect the women in the Armed Forces fighting and serving, America, against being “Ganged Raped” or just “Raped”….which would show them we love them and care about them…so, again….Elizabeth Warren, is so into the “ME GENERATION”….and not the “WE GENERATION”…cannot tolerate people that wear a different masks each day…hiding what they are truly like on the inside…so. to all of you “Merry Christmas and a “Happy New Year”……

    1. CrankyToo December 23, 2014

      “..what happen to having good communication skills…” Indeed.

    2. Allan Richardson December 25, 2014

      You have been listening to the wrong descriptions: the point is not that it’s BAD that Sen. Warren favors some conservative positions, but that, ironically, she favors THOSE conservative positions which would actually HELP the working people vs Wall Street, MORE than the so called “conservative” politicians do.

      I do not know WHY she seemed to oppose that particular provision about rape in the armed forces; perhaps there was some procedural “gotcha” in it which would give an unwarranted tax break to wealthy people who do not deserve it, or wipe out some of the protections in the Dodd-Frank law for which she fought (that does happen, and as of this comment, the Citigroup lobbyists did get that provision through after all). But I do know that on issues affecting MILLIONS of us as taxpayers, far more than the number of women raped in the military (tragic as that is), she is conservative in the original sense, which makes her a true liberal as well.

  5. joe schmo December 23, 2014

    Warren seems to want America to emulate Communist China. No thanks!

    We don’t need another Communist in Chief.

    1) She feels building our infrastructure is extremely important in creating jobs, but no so fast:

    “The first problem is mathematical. U.S. gross domestic product
    is about $15 trillion a year. Increasing infrastructure
    “investment” to the 9% Chinese level that Warren cites would mean
    an additional $1 trillion a year in government spending. That’s an
    immense spending increase. To put it in context, the entire federal
    government spent about $3.6 trillion in 2011, on revenues of about
    $2.3 trillion.

    Where would this money come from? Not tax increases, right?
    Warren has already reportedly promisednearly a trillion dollar tax increase, spread over ten years, byraising the estate tax, imposing the Buffett Rule, and letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those earning $250,000 a year or more. But that money, she has said, would go toward deficit reduction. If
    Warren really wants to spend $1 trillion a year more oninfrastructure, she’d need to eliminate all national defense spending ($705 billion) or all Social Security spending ($730 billion) and then find another more than quarter trillion dollars.Or else she’d have to go on the biggest borrowing or taxing binge in American history.”

    Her ideology regarding wall-street is to elect Federal governors who have worked on Wall Street or for the banks. She thinks that Governors who are bankers are more sensitive to the needs of the middle class. Come on! “Even among the Federal Reserve Banks, the level at which most of the
    supervision occurs, only three of the 12 have presidents who worked in
    private sector finance.”

    “Given Warren’s objections, it’s perhaps surprising that, last year, she
    voted to approve Jack Lew as Treasury Secretary (Lew was at Citigroup
    C 0.85% when the bank collapsed and required a bailout). But that’s
    the point: Wall Street-ers should be evaluated on their merits, just
    like others. Wall Street experience is certainly not a qualification in
    itself—nominees must demonstrate that they can separate from their
    employers, intellectually as well as financially.”


    Running Warren as a presidential candidate is like a rerun of Barry….Again, no thanks! You liberals really need to think about this fact because I doubt, after what we have seen with Obama, that she will win:)

    1. charleo1 December 23, 2014

      So you don’t like Jack Lew because his former job was on Wall Street? Where do you suggest we get them? George W. Bush picked Ben Bernanke. Formerly a life long academic, and tenured professor at Princeton. Before Bush put him on his economic advisory board. Then appointed him Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Where he was sitting the day the economy started coming down. He oversaw T.A.R.P. (Bailout of the Banks) Lobbied Congress to pony up the money. ($900 billion cash, more if necessary) And then, injected an additional 600 billion into the banking system. (Note: This was not a loan, and, “banking system,” is another name for banks) Okay, it’s also more than half of the infrastructure investment Sen. Warren is advocating. But, I’ll give you a chance to explain yourself. Just show me what the 600 billion he gave to the banks bought.

      1. joe schmo December 24, 2014

        Didn’t say that. Read the last section of the last paragraph:

        “Wall Street experience is certainly not a qualification in
        itself—nominees must demonstrate that they can separate from their employers, intellectually as well as financially.”

        Discretion in selection needs to be upheld. Wall street experience can be an asset but it needs to be so much more, economists and businessmen would be more viable candidates. I have my druthers about university types unless they also have worked outside academia.

        1. charleo1 December 24, 2014

          I think I know what you’re getting at. It’s what many Progressives are getting at. When they say the system in which everybody has to make a living, should not be rigged at the top. Seriously think about it. What you’re saying, is we need people who make, and enforce the rules, to make, and enforce them fairly, with integrity, and in the best overall interests of all the participants. And don’t say we don’t need any rules, but a free market. That all taxes are stealing, and the EPA is the economic enforcement Arm of the Marxist.
          That is not a two way conversation. Say if you must, on Gov. That it is a necessary evil it would be great to be able to do without, but we can’t. So, let’s start with that one point of agreement. Then, move on to the second point of agreement, it could work a lot better. And go from there, instead of talking past each other. Because all that rigging that caused the bailout, the job losses, the waste, that lead to debt, the under regulation in some cases, and over regulation in others, is not going to fix itself. Congress is not going to fix it. The rich who are getting richer, in large part, due to the fact that people who live more like you and me, are getting poorer, aren’t going to fix it. Why would they? Why would the largest private employer in the Nation pay their employees more to cut Gov. debt? Anymore than they would volunteer to pay more taxes to cut it’s deficits? Why should they? They
          could be grateful to have been heirs to a fortune their
          Father Sam Walton most likely couldn’t have made anywhere else. But, they evidently don’t think that way. And who actually expects them to? Maybe I think we should. Does that really make me a Marxists? It’s my tax money going to subsidize their business. So is that Socialism, like welfare is? I’ll guarantee you, they do nothing worth the 150 billion in their bank accounts. And they are the tip of the iceberg. There are 100s just like them today, living on the dole. The public backing their investment losses.
          Your tax dollars financing the costs of moving their operations off shore. Then paying again for the job losses. Drill a dry hole? Don’t worry, Uncle Sam pays for that too. And we haven’t touched on the industrial military complex. Underwriting most of Europe’s security, spending more on our own military each years than the next 5 Countries combined. With 3 of the 5 belonging to NATO, and considered allies.

          1. Allan Richardson December 25, 2014

            Basically, what so-called “conservatives” really want is to put us average and below-average income citizens on the free market: work hard AND get lucky and you win, get bad luck and lose even if you DID work hard. At the same time, they want to “free marketize” the profits and “socialize” the risk of losses from the top 1% of the top 1% and the largest corporations.

            They claim to support “taxpayers” vs the “47% who pay no taxes.” Actually, the only taxes they count in this are federal income taxes, because if you make less than your standard deductions and any others you may be entitled to, you don’t pay THOSE taxes, but you do pay FICA, Medicare tax, federal “user fees” such as gasoline, liquor and tobacco taxes and fees for issuing passports, etc; and you pay state and local sales taxes (and in some states, state and local income tax even below the poverty level), state user fees (driver license fees and car tags), local real estate taxes on your home (directly if you are buying, indirectly via your landlord — and at a higher rate in states with homestead exemption than if you WERE buying), and many others. And it’s not true that THESE people are taking from YOU, rather that the elite plutocrats who are hurting you are hurting THEM even more than you, and blaming them FOR your own pain to deflect attention from themselves.

            It’s not even entrepeneurs vs workers either; small mom-and-pop business ventures have to compete against large corporations who have more buying power due to economies of scale, better name recognition, etc. and can undercut prices of small competitors. Then they get special tax deals from the government officials they LIKE enough to finance (bribe).

            Here’s the summary version: three guys walk into a bar and find a bowl with a dozen packets of peanuts. The first one, a CEO, grabs 11 of them, then he turns to the second, a middle class worker, and warns him about the third, “watch out, that unemployed guy wants to grab YOUR peanuts.”

          2. charleo1 December 26, 2014

            I agree! Something I’ve been thinking about, is the certainty of the ideologue, and recent radicalism of the Right Wing’s current policies, and politics. And how it is mostly these ideologues, with all their certainty, that are pumping the 100s of millions of dollars into the system. Literally drowning out most of the common sense in the process. And a good deal of the truth as well. Because see, ideologues don’t need common sense, or truth, They know what they know, and know what they want to see. And the current free for all, pay to play system, allows them to create that, outside the formerly majority centered process, where someone would say, hey! Where is labor’s seat at the table? Who’s looking out for working American’s interests here? We know for example, if one wants a larger tax base, the way to do that is support policies, tax, and otherwise, that support better wages. Better wages translates into more successful businesses, more secure jobs, and less need for Gov. support. Now, everybody knows this. Business people know this, government accountants see this. Even the ideologue may know this. But his single minded agenda is what counts. Is what’s considered first. Is what we spend most of our time opposing, While struggling to simply be heard.

  6. 14hei December 23, 2014

    The American Public must wake-up to the fact the market is a rigged game. An start to invest their money locally. For the simple truth is investing locally improves and strengthens the community in which you live. Which in turn benefits you and your family. By a stronger financial sound neighborhood. For it is a fact prosperous towns make a properous nation.

  7. gococksri December 25, 2014

    It is interesting that Mr. Yoder “framed the issue” in terms of this issue being “about the farmer in your district who wants to get a loan.”

    The fact of the matter, which neither Mr. Yoder nor any of the Republicans or Democrats who agreed to this travesty will admit, is that this proviso will make it even more difficult for “the farmer in your district who wants to get a loan” to actually “get a loan.” Just as it will make it more difficult for individuals and small businesses to “get a loan,” even though it was those very loans that once fueled the American economy.

    This proviso makes investment in exotic financial instruments far more profitable and far less risky than loans to farmers or small businesses or individuals. The latter are not collateralized by taxpayer funds. The former, of course, are. Again. Hence, there is no motivation for the banks to extend credit to those in local communities.

    Glass-Steagall and similar New Deal-era regulatory policies brought us decades of relative financial stability, including some right hefty boom times. The end of the regulatory age has brought us an every-decade recession, Gilded Age wealth/capital/income/opportunity inequality, and the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression.

    Common sense would seem to be on the side of a return to an updated version of Glass-Steagall and swift/sure regulatory and anti-trust policies. As it is now, thanks to Mr. Yoder and Citi Group and a bought-off Congress, Wall Street/Big Banks/Big Money reap all of the profits when their risky bets pay off but, when they don’t, you and I reap the whirlwind.


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