Bernie Sanders, Chamber of Commerce, Charles Ferguson, Citigroup, class war, Commodity Futures Modernization Act, derivatives, free trade, George Carlin, Glass-Steagall, Inside Job, Jacob Lew, Mitch McConnell, NAFTA, oligarchs, OMB, Peter Orszag, pork, President Clinton, President Obama, Senate, South Korea, speech, too big to fail
Just one small segment of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ marathon speech on the floor of the Senate yesterday, dealing with the class war and the winners and losers in that war:
“…in the year 2007, the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States made 23.5 percent of all income. The top 1 percent earned 23.5 percent of all income–more than the entire bottom 50 percent.”
“From 1980-2005, 80% of all income went to the top 1%.”
Not much question who the winners are, and not much question now whose side President Obama is on. Charles Ferguson, director of Inside Job, wrote in Salon:
“It is…overwhelmingly clear that President Obama and his administration decided to side with the oligarchs — or at least not to challenge them. This raises the question of why they have made this choice, and whether it is a correct (in the sense of rationally self-interested) calculation on their part.
As to the “why,” several explanations have been proposed. One is that the president, as a matter of individual psychology, is extremely conflict-averse, preferring to avoid fights no matter how important. A second hypothesis is that the president is simply doing the most he can, given the political climate and the furious lobbying effort with which he is confronted. This explanation, however, is belied by [his] personnel appointments, among other evidence.”
The latest example of this is in President Obama’s choice for director of OMB. The new one, Jacob Lew, came from Citigroup. The old one, Peter Orszag, went to Citigroup. More Ferguson:
“A more disturbing possibility is that the Obama administration has simply codified a new strategic equilibrium in American politics, one first devised by the Clinton administration, in which both parties are supine with regard to the financial sector and the wealthy.”
President Obama brought out former President Clinton yesterday to endorse his “deal.” Bill Clinton, whose “bi-partisan outreach” during his administration left two ticking time bombs in the economy in the form of the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which created “too big to fail,” and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which banned the regulation of derivatives.
Sen. Sanders brought up the subject of free trade. Just last week President Obama signed the South Korean version of NAFTA. I hear Ross Perot’s giant sucking sound again. All you need to know about the South Korean “deal” it is that it got two thumbs up from those two staunch defenders of the middle-class and working people–the Chamber of Commerce and Mitch McConnell.
As good as it was to hear Sen. Sanders’ speech yesterday, I fear he is just a voice crying in the wilderness. The president’s “deal” is now being loaded up with enough pork to buy enough votes to win passage. In short, the fix is in, the wealthy and powerful will win again. We keep going back to George Carlin, “It’s a big club and we’re not in it.”