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Bill Moyers & Michael Winship: Mother’s Milk of Politics Turns Sour

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

Once again we're closing the barn door after the horse is out and gone. In Washington the Federal Reserve has finally acted to stop some of the predatory lending that exploited people’s need for money. And like Rip Van Winkle, Congress is finally waking up from a long doze under the warm sun of laissez faire economics. That's French for turning off the alarm until the burglars have made their getaway.

Philosophy is one reason we do this to ourselves; when you worship market forces as if they were the gods of Olympus, then the gods can do no wrong -- until, of course, they prove to be human. Then we realize we should have listened to our inner agnostic and not been so reverent in the first place.

But we also get into these terrible dilemmas – where the big guys step all over everyone else and the victims are required to pay the hospital bills – because we refuse to recognize the connection between money and politics. This is the great denial in democracy that may ultimately mean our ruin. We just don't seem able to see or accept the fact that money drives policy. It's no wonder that Congress and the White House have been looking the other way as the predators picked the pockets of unsuspecting debtors. Mega banking and investment firms have been some of the biggest providers of the cash vital to keeping incumbents in office. There isn't much appetite for biting – or regulating – the manicured hand that feeds them.

Guess who gave the most money to candidates in this 2007-08 federal election cycle? That's right, the financial services and real estate industries. They stuffed nearly $250 million dollars into the candidate coffers. The about-to-be-bailed-out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together are responsible for about half the country's $12 trillion mortgage debt. Lisa Lerer of Politico.com reports that over the past decade, the two financial giants with the down home names have spent nearly $200 million on campaign contributions and lobbying. According to Lerer, “They’ve stacked their payrolls with top Washington power brokers of all political stripes, including Republican John McCain’s presidential campaign manager, Rick Davis; Democrat Barack Obama’s original vice presidential vetter, Jim Johnson; and scores of others now working for the two rivals for the White House.”

Last Sunday's NEW YORK TIMES put it as bluntly as anyone ever has: “In Washington, Fannie and Freddie's sprawling lobbying machine hired family and friends of politicians in their efforts to quickly sideline any regulations that might slow their growth or invite greater oversight of their business practices. Indeed, their rapid expansion was, at least in part, the result of such artful lobbying over the years.”

What a beautiful term: "artful lobbying." It means honest graft. Look at any of the important issues bogged down in the swampland along the Potomac and you don't have to scrape away the muck too deeply to find that campaign cash is at the core of virtually every impasse. We're spending more than six percent of our salaries on gasoline, and global warming keeps temperatures rising but the climate bill was killed last month and President Bush just got rid of his daddy's longtime ban on offshore drilling. Only in a fairy tale would anyone believe it's just coincidence that the oil and gas industries have donated more than $18 million to federal candidates this year, three-quarters of it going to Republicans. They've spent more than $26 million lobbying this year – that's seven times more than environmental groups have spent.

Follow the money – it goes from your gas tank to the wine bars and steak houses of DC, where the payoffs happen. Or ponder that FISA surveillance legislation that just passed the Senate. It let the big telecommunications companies off the hook for helping the government wiretap our phones and laptops without warrants. Over the years those telecom companies have given Republicans in the House and Senate $63 million dollars and Democrats $49 million. No wonder that when their lobbyists reach out and place a call to Congress, they never get a busy signal. Do the same without making a big contribution, and you'll be put on "hold" until the embalmer shows up to claim your cold corpse.

The late journalist Meg Greenfield once wrote that trying to get money out of politics is akin to the quest for a squirrel-proof birdfeeder. No matter how clever and ingenious the design, the squirrels are always one mouthful ahead of you. Here's an example. Corporations are limited in how much they can contribute to candidate's campaigns, right? But someone's always figuring out how to open another back door. So Democrats have turned to Steve Farber. He's using the resources of his big K Street law and lobbying factory to help raise $40 million for the Democratic National Convention. Half a dozen of his clients have signed up, including AT&T, Comcast, Western Union and Google. Their presence at the convention will offer lots of opportunities to curry favors at private parties while ordinary delegates wander Denver looking for the nearest Wendy's. By the way, just as you pay at the gas pump for those energy lobbyists to wine and dine your representatives in Washington, you'll pay on April 15 for Denver –corporations can deduct their contributions.

Another back door – one quite familiar to Steve Farber and his ilk – leads to presidential libraries. Bill Clinton’s in Arkansas required serious political bucks, and we're not talking penny ante fines for overdue books. Again, there's no limit to the amount a donor can give and no obligation to reveal their names. Clinton's cost $165 million and we still don’t know the identities of everyone who put up the dough, even though four years ago a reporter stumbled on a list that included Arab businessmen, Saudi royals, Hollywood celebs and the governments of Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Taiwan. Hmmm…

Once George W. is out of the White House, he, too, plans what one newspaper described as a “legacy polishing” institute – a presidential library and think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas costing half a billion dollars. Last Sunday, THE TIMES of London released a remarkable video of one of the president's buddies and fund raisers –Stephen Payne, a political appointee appointed to the Homeland Security Advisory Council.

THE TIMES set him up in a video sting, and taped a conversation in which Payne offers an exiled leader of Kyrgyzstan meetings with such White House luminaries as Vice President Cheney and Condoleezza Rice – provided he makes a whopping contribution to the Bush Library, and an even bigger payment to Payne's lobbying firm. Payne tells him, “It will be somewhere between $600,000 and $750,000, with about a third of it going directly to the Bush Library... That's gonna be a show of 'we're interested, we're your friends, we're still your friends.'”
The White House denies any connection between library contributions and access to officials and harrumphed at the preposterous idea that Payne had a close relationship with the President. Unfortunately, there's at least one photo of Payne with the President cutting brush at his Crawford ranch. There’s also one of Payne demonstrating more guts than common sense, on a rifle range with Deadeye Dick Cheney.

Payne, who now is supporting John McCain, says he's done nothing wrong, but a congressional investigation intends to find out. So from the financial meltdown brought on by predatory lending to global warming to tax breaks and other favors, the late California politician Jesse "Big Daddy" Unruh got it right: Money is the mother's milk of politics. He knew what he was talking about, because Big Daddy swigged it by the gallon. Now it has curdled into a witch's brew.


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Comments

Ryan Stockman: I wish you could spend some time (maybe eternity) with Thomas Sowell, the pea brained ideologue with whom I grew up arguing. He is the same kind of ass kissing columnist as Clarence Thomas is a Supreme Court Justice, anything for the corporate masters. I just wonder whose back pocket Ryan lives in to be so smug and doctrinaire like a lapdog.
mike: You may also be living in a snug warm cave you discovered in a rich capitalist's pants. Winship, you know, has to pretend innocence to keep his job. Maybe he can't go as far as you'd prefer???? Read Sowell if Winship scares you. He still meets d'Toqueville on the wooden turnpikes.

mr. winship, you never fail to be trite, partisan, and utterly predictable.

Who the hell cares? It’s legal and it’s profitable.”
That seems to be the underlying theme of ‘most everything done today and William Greider’s observations about the problems confronting America are as unsettling as they are accurate. Indeed, his interview was thought-provoking, intriguing and – most important, perhaps – nailed key issues on the head about how so-called “unfettered” capitalism is bad for the nation and, frankly, bad for capitalism.
As the segment noted, 88% of the nation believes we are on the wrong track. Why? It’s not just because of the war. It’s because of the growing disparity between the rich and the poor; it’s because of the inability of people to afford healthcare; it’s because of the visible split between the powerful and powerless; it’s because of the yawning gap between the have’s and the have not’s.
I’m just old enough to remember enormous prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s which happened despite high marginal tax rates on the wealthy and large businesses, sometimes overly-heavy handed regulation, and banks that were content to take in deposits at 2% and lend it out again at 3%. Yes, there were lobbyists and special interests rummaging around on Capitol Hill, but both ethics rules and personal morality kept members of Congress from being bought off by a couple of seats to an event or a six-figure campaign contribution.
Alright, so those times are long gone. But unless the United States can figure out a way to restore the balance between the rich and poor, those in control and those without influence, and bring a greater degree of interdependence, then the Great American Experiment will fail.
Carla D’Esposito says “I care a real lot” and “I never knew we were EXPERIMENTING, I thought we were being thoughtful and living life, maturing in truth, realizing that this was all pretty real and that if we were corrupt and immature in our actions that there were harmful ramifications to fellow Human Beings ….the experiment is not going to fail, it already has failed, it just has not whip-lashed back upon us fully yet but when it does we better have a bunch of George Baileys out there to manage things when everyone is hysterical….We are no longer chiseling a civilization out of the wilderness any longer, any society has got to be well designed and this foundation has got to be with a Human Being having the Right to housing, not landlords and mortgages….to further this understanding everyone entering the status of ‘Sovereign Adult’ has got to sign a simple statement that they agree to be good .#1. we first need to agree that we all want to be good, #2. we all need to agree that good is good and that bad is bad, #3. we all need to agree that if bad presents itself as good that we recognize this evil and not allow this bad evil to continue, #4. that we keep a running list of 'Good Things' and simultaneously keep a running list of 'bad things' for judicial purposes. We really just need one two-part Law to live by: "Everyone work and be good." Governments are instituted amongst men to secure Rights, through a legislative process, this can be Direct Democracy, and with the military if needs be, protects Rights with the judiciary courts that should be available to the people at a 1:10 ratio, letting the people choose amongst themselves, an honest person who will not be bribed

7/19/08 Charley James says “Is that moral?”…the answer,
“Who the hell cares? It’s legal and it’s profitable.”
That seems to be the underlying theme of ‘most everything done today and William Greider’s observations about the problems confronting America are as unsettling as they are accurate. Indeed, his interview was thought-provoking, intriguing and – most important, perhaps – nailed key issues on the head about how so-called “unfettered” capitalism is bad for the nation and, frankly, bad for capitalism.
As the segment noted, 88% of the nation believes we are on the wrong track. Why? It’s not just because of the war. It’s because of the growing disparity between the rich and the poor; it’s because of the inability of people to afford healthcare; it’s because of the visible split between the powerful and powerless; it’s because of the yawning gap between the have’s and the have not’s.
I’m just old enough to remember enormous prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s which happened despite high marginal tax rates on the wealthy and large businesses, sometimes overly-heavy handed regulation, and banks that were content to take in deposits at 2% and lend it out again at 3%. Yes, there were lobbyists and special interests rummaging around on Capitol Hill, but both ethics rules and personal morality kept members of Congress from being bought off by a couple of seats to an event or a six-figure campaign contribution.
Alright, so those times are long gone. But unless the United States can figure out a way to restore the balance between the rich and poor, those in control and those without influence, and bring a greater degree of interdependence, then the Great American Experiment will fail.
Carla D’Esposito says “I care a real lot” and “I never knew we were EXPERIMENTING, I thought we were being thoughtful and living life, maturing in truth, realizing that this was all pretty real and that if we were corrupt and immature in our actions that there were harmful ramifications to fellow Human Beings ….the experiment is not going to fail, it already has failed, it just has not whip-lashed back upon us fully yet but when it does we better have a bunch of George Baileys out there to manage things when everyone is hysterical….We are no longer chiseling a civilization out of the wilderness any longer, any society has got to be well designed and this foundation has got to be with a Human Being having the Right to housing, not landlords and mortgages….to further this understanding everyone entering the status of ‘Sovereign Adult’ has got to sign a simple statement that they agree to be good .#1. we first need to agree that we all want to be good, #2. we all need to agree that good is good and that bad is bad, #3. we all need to agree that if bad presents itself as good that we recognize this evil and not allow this bad evil to continue, #4. that we keep a running list of 'Good Things' and simultaneously keep a running list of 'bad things' for judicial purposes. We really just need one two-part Law to live by: "Everyone work and be good." Governments are instituted amongst men to secure Rights, through a legislative process, this can be Direct Democracy, and with the military if needs be, protects Rights with the judiciary courts that should be available to the people at a 1:10 ratio, letting the people choose amongst themselves, an honest person who will not be bribed

From a casual observer short on education.

Was the american dream ever anything that 'was' sustainable, or was it a marketing ploy.

We should refresh our recollection of some of the words of this nations founders. One of real significance in reference to this situation facing america now comes from John Adams

"Our constitution was made only for a moral and a religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion."

As a result of several supreme court decisions in the late 40's through the early 60's, which had no basis in precedent, bible based morality could no longer be a part of the educational establishment, as it had been since the beginning of this country. So there should be no surprise that the moral restraints that had a role in critical institutional practices up to the 60's fell by the wayside in short order.

" there were lobbyists and special interests rummaging around on Capitol Hill, but both ethics rules and personal morality kept members of Congress from being bought off by a couple of seats to an event or a six-figure campaign contribution." Charley James

However, before that, going back a century and a half, could we really have ever expected the american dream to have survived at the hands of a political system that was extremely one-sided. Disenfranchisement of large portions of the population paved the way for laws which allowed abuse of power and thwarted the constitutional rights of anyone who stood in the way of certain aspects of growth for this country. Much can be said about laws that prevent people from pursuing their desired way of life, but when laws were written that prevented a person from conducting efforts at gaining economic well- being, outside of the "permission and monetary structure" of local regulations and federal requirements, the slop got a deep layer of grease and we've been sliding on it ever since. At the bottom of that slop awaits the reward of everyone who lives by fear, because it is fear that gives greed its walking orders. People who want to preserve their foothold on wealth often make or suggest laws that prevent others from competing with or challenging their foothold, at least creating ordinances to harass people who would dare to practice alternative lifestyles or try to live free of the traps built into the society. Built in? Yes! The road to today's problems has been paved by many different stones but the one that troubles me the most is that of being prevented from the pursuit of economic well-being due to laws that prevent us from enterprise and employment freedoms experienced in the early america's. Stifled now by unnatural obstacles many have lost access to simple options, heck we can't even travel without government interference. Who back then would have ever imagined that america would become the place where people could not buy or sell or own property without jumping through certain governmental and institutional hoops. The government has actually turned against the people and opened the door to predators.

The american dream may be, in reality, a well concealed trap.

The solution is multifaceted but it may be best started by a return to a government for the people and laws to protect us from other people who do not accept what is implied by "love your neighbor as yourself", one of numerous principles that gave the founders limited hope for the american experiment. zdp

Charley James and Bill Greider don't want to discuss the Depression that is certainly coming because they are old enough to recall the suffering of the Rehearsal back in the 1930s.
Breasts have multiple functions, and milk is not what investors crave. Capitalist addiction is satisfied only with sadistic power over others. There will have to be suffering (Blood) and perverted relations for the elite Nero's of Wall street and multinational finance to orgasm. They are societal perverts who cannot function in a normal environment. I believe they and their governmental retainers must face retribution and reeducation before democracy can be recovered. They have infected the whole society with a rotten example.
I am not an authoritarian, but I believe role- modeling is a big part of education. My nurse- informant from the local health department (STD sanitarian) recently informed me that sexual disease was being strongly driven by the need of young heterosexual couples to indulge in threesomes, often with strangers. I guess the Internet has finally gained traction.
I am not a religious believer either but she and I could find no better analogy than the Sodom and Gommorah of biblical scripture. When people have to enact their worst cultural myths to gain satisfaction some needed things are missing from their society. In the same way, aided by ideological mis-education, people have been driven to act out the worst myths of capitalism and now the resultant faschism. Making an honest living or sex in a stable relationship are no longer enough. I blame the propaganda effect of bad role models (dramatized in media).
I ask you William Greider and Charley James, did people clean up their act in the Rehearsal (Great Depression)? If so, then why is it returning with a vengeance? Bill Moyers, born 2/3 through it, what do you recall? You know, Pretty boy Floyd was a rolemodel then....

All I know is I don't want milk from a siliconed breast.

At one time, I was an assistant editor of one of the world’s premier business magazines. While interviewing a Wall Street source for a story, I thought about his answer to one of my questions and had to ask, “Is that moral?”

“Who the hell cares?” he shot back. “It’s legal and it’s profitable.”

That seems to be the underlying theme of ‘most everything done today and William Greider’s observations about the problems confronting America are as unsettling as they are accurate. Indeed, his interview was thought-provoking, intriguing and – most important, perhaps – nailed key issues on the head about how so-called “unfettered” capitalism is bad for the nation and, frankly, bad for capitalism.

As the segment noted, 88% of the nation believes we are on the wrong track. Why? It’s not just because of the war. It’s because of the growing disparity between the rich and the poor; it’s because of the inability of people to afford healthcare; it’s because of the visible split between the powerful and powerless; it’s because of the yawning gap between the have’s and the have not’s.

I’m just old enough to remember enormous prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s which happened despite high marginal tax rates on the wealthy and large businesses, sometimes overly-heavy handed regulation, and banks that were content to take in deposits at 2% and lend it out again at 3%. Yes, there were lobbyists and special interests rummaging around on Capitol Hill, but both ethics rules and personal morality kept members of Congress from being bought off by a couple of seats to an event or a six-figure campaign contribution.

Alright, so those times are long gone. But unless the United States can figure out a way to restore the balance between the rich and poor, those in control and those without influence, and bring a greater degree of interdependence, then the Great American Experiment will fail.

A class action suit by citizens against predatory "citizens" who "screw'{xcuse the language] everyone else, might bring about some change and help recoup some of the damage done -and there's been lots-. Some believe they deserve it because of being "sinners". Allowing such crooks to keep screwing around and screwing up everyone's else's lives and then blatantly charging everyone else for their shameful mistakes, won't tread the tires or cut the beef. Enough people have been raped to be angry enough get results in the courts (but we need act before they launch another 'war' against other "enemies" a war we'll all be again asked to pay them for [there are still such folks still busily scheming in human garb). They can be stopped though, if there's enough young conscientuous lawyers around wanting to do the job legally. Remember the plight of your parents!

Your interview with William Greider was very interesting. Sounds like an anti semitic rant on usury. Laws banning usury are laughable. Greider seems to want to ban interest all together, he doesn't actually say that but the way the both of you rally against interest it just seems strange. Religions used to kill people for charging interest. Jews were often the scapegoat because they would lend money to people plus interest. Using religion to justify your nonsense doesn't help the argument and makes your guest look quite misinformed about the bloody history of demonizing "money lenders" and bankers.

Millions of ordinary Americans own stocks, bonds and mutual funds. To save for a home and to fund our retirement. It's NOT just the "rich" that have an interest in the market. Ridiculous regulation and windfall profits taxes are nonsense. Of course Moyers and his guest are already wealthy their two bit "progressive" (socialist) schemes won't affect them when they fail miserably.

Another bit of laughable nonsense is the statement, "the market is dead". Sorry but capitalism is the reason we as a nation are wealthy. Not socialism nor dim witted schemes to "empower" workers or shift the focus away from workers to capital. Simple childish nonsense. Wealth should be more equally distributed but you don't shoot the hand that feeds you. Capitalism is the best system.

The sad fact is fraud was involved in the housing crisis and people are hurting. However it was also a bubble. Bubbles have occurred countless times throughout history. Read "A Random Walk Down Wallstreet" for clear examples. People bought homes as "investments". The general public is not too bright. They are greedy. If home prices rise 300% in Florida maybe you shouldn't buy a $600,000 house and try to flip it. I don't feel sorry for people who listen to fools like Robert Kiyosaki who pushed real estate even when it was obvious that the bubble was breaking. Some people should just be renters.

Banks have lost billions of dollars. The "bailout" of bear stearns made the stock price go from $120 a share mere weeks ago to $10 a share. Not exactly a bailout. Shareholders were wiped out.

Fannie and Freddie
stiutation is more complicated. They shouldn't exist. They used to only buy mortages from people who have money down and have good credt. That was until they started buying other "AAA" rated paper. And of course the ratings couldn't be trusted. Add to the fact that Fannie and Freddie were only required to hold $80 billion dollars of capital when they hold $trillions in mortages and you have a problem.

Nationalizing fannie and freddie is not a good idea. When the crisis passes they should be privatised completly and wound down. They are not needed.

Finally as I stated a little over a year ago when Mr. Moyers interviewed Lori Wallach (from public citizen) I gave you a list of recommended reading to increase your knowledge of basic economics. You evidently didn't listen.

Here is another list of experts (not authors and activists/socialists) who know what is coming out of their mouths.

"Pop Internationalism" by Paul Krugman. "The Bottom Billion" by Paul Collier. "In Defense of Globalization by Bhagwatti." "The Naked Economist" by Wheelan. "The Origin of Wealth" by Beinhocker. "Fooled by Randomness" by Talib. "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" by Malkiel. "The Elusive Quest for Growth" by William Easterly. "White Rednecks and Black Liberals" by Sowell. "The End of Poverty" by Sachs. Any article written in The Economist newspaper.

There Mr. Moyers, a short reading list that is made up of mostly Democrats (Sowell being the biggest exception). Hope that raises the level of discourse when you "interview" someone and talk about the economy. True liberals like myself are ashamed to be mentioned with "liberals" such as Mr. Moyers when he continues to push ideas that are not only counterproductive and non liberal but dangerous rhetoric that effects not just consumers and workers in the United States but people around the world. True Gladstonian Liberalism will return to extinguish this progressive nonsense. I hope the President Obama will be that liberal. :)

Your interview with William Greider was very interesting. Sounds like an anti semitic rant on usury. Laws banning usury are laughable. Greider seems to want to ban interest all together, he doesn't actually say that but the way the both of you rally against interest it just seems strange. Religions used to kill people for charging interest. Jews were often the scapegoat because they would lend money to people plus interest. Using religion to justify your nonsense doesn't help the argument and makes your guest look quite misinformed about the bloody history of demonizing "money lenders" and bankers.

Millions of ordinary Americans own stocks, bonds and mutual funds. To save for a home and to fund our retirement. It's NOT just the "rich" that have an interest in the market. Ridiculous regulation and windfall profits taxes are nonsense. Of course Moyers and his guest are already wealthy their two bit "progressive" (socialist) schemes won't affect them when they fail miserably.

Another bit of laughable nonsense is the statement, "the market is dead". Sorry but capitalism is the reason we as a nation are wealthy. Not socialism nor dim witted schemes to "empower" workers or shift the focus away from workers to capital. Simple childish nonsense. Wealth should be more equally distributed but you don't shoot the hand that feeds you. Capitalism is the best system.

The sad fact is fraud was involved in the housing crisis and people are hurting. However it was also a bubble. Bubbles have occurred countless times throughout history. Read "A Random Walk Down Wallstreet" for clear examples. People bought homes as "investments". The general public is not too bright. They are greedy. If home prices rise 300% in Florida maybe you shouldn't buy a $600,000 house and try to flip it. I don't feel sorry for people who listen to fools like Robert Kiyosaki who pushed real estate even when it was obvious that the bubble was breaking. Some people should just be renters.

Banks have lost billions of dollars. The "bailout" of bear stearns made the stock price go from $120 a share mere weeks ago to $10 a share. Not exactly a bailout. Shareholders were wiped out.

Fannie and Freddie
stiutation is more complicated. They shouldn't exist. They used to only buy mortages from people who have money down and have good credt. That was until they started buying other "AAA" rated paper. And of course the ratings couldn't be trusted. Add to the fact that Fannie and Freddie were only required to hold $80 billion dollars of capital when they hold $trillions in mortages and you have a problem.

Nationalizing fannie and freddie is not a good idea. When the crisis passes they should be privatised completly and wound down. They are not needed.

Finally as I stated a little over a year ago when Mr. Moyers interviewed Lori Wallach (from public citizen) I gave you a list of recommended reading to increase your knowledge of basic economics. You evidently didn't listen.

Here is another list of experts (not authors and activists/socialists) who know what is coming out of their mouths.

"Pop Internationalism" by Paul Krugman. "The Bottom Billion" by Paul Collier. "In Defense of Globalization by Bhagwatti." "The Naked Economist" by Wheelan. "The Origin of Wealth" by Beinhocker. "Fooled by Randomness" by Talib. "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" by Malkiel. "The Elusive Quest for Growth" by William Easterly. "White Rednecks and Black Liberals" by Sowell. "The End of Poverty" by Sachs. Any article written in The Economist newspaper.

There Mr. Moyers, a short reading list that is made up of mostly Democrats (Sowell being the biggest exception). Hope that raises the level of discourse when you "interview" someone and talk about the economy. True liberals like myself are ashamed to be mentioned with "liberals" such as Mr. Moyers when he continues to push ideas that are not only counterproductive and non liberal but dangerous rhetoric that effects not just consumers and workers in the United States but people around the world. True Gladstonian Liberalism will return to extinguish this progressive nonsense. I hope the President Obama will be that liberal. :)

This all makes sense if you remember deToqueville's view of the American system. Unfortunately very few non-corporate average citizens have the money to pay our politicians to do the right thing or to be honest. The flaw in a Democracy is that it isn't possible. The solution is to let the rich people buy government but the government then needs to buy our support with programs that enhance the common good. Let's see if Obama can do that!

There will never be enough regulators to enforce regualtion. Any mortgage originator that sells into a secondary market should do so on a recourse only basis. If the loan fails, it is bought back. I worked as a mortgage underwriter for 20 yrs and have seen this up close. I an now unemployed.

You're exactly right about the money, which us regular folks will never have and in many cases didn't want a whole lot to start with.

No one told us we'd be punished for not making it foremost in our lives.

I commented in the post above about Buckley V Valeo, before I read your insightful post, and the solution is the same - stop legalized bribery of pols.

I believe a Constitutional Amendment banning all private money from politics with paid air time is our only possible salvation.

The alternative has gotten us where we are now. Must we wait for the bread lines to get serious?

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