Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Unbearable Truth About Wall Street

Today's commentary may bite a bit more for some - and that may be a good thing for everyone.

In case you'd missed it, the big message that extremist political hack and well-known liar Karl Rove and his Crossroads SuperPAC is saturating the media airwaves with right now, is an ad filled to the brim with untruths and outright lies about President Obama, spending, and even Wall Street.

As Steve Benen and Jamelle Bouie both point out, the ad lies about all kinds of things - for example the Wall Street bailouts. Rove's smear blames the bailouts on Obama - when the bailouts really happened under George W. Bush.

The ad also talks about debt - but fails to mention that Mitt Romney's budget plans would increase the debt by several trillion over the next decade, while Obama's budget plans would decrease the debt by two trillion over the same period.

The ad tries to paint Obama as horrible for student loans, when the reality is that President Obama yanked out the expensive private company middlemen of the student loan industry - which made more money available for student loans. President Obama and the Democrats also have fought - and continue to fight - to keep the interest rate low on student loans, while Republicans in Congress filibustered against the Democrats, the President - and poor students.

Rove's ad lies on nearly every front - but it's easy to see why.

It's the same reason that Democratic Mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, has been tap-dancing around the issue of vulture capital firms (which are different than venture capital firms) - and the same reason Mitt Romney and the GOP keep saying we should go back to a less regulated era of Wall Street.

It is because the big-money backers of Wall Street are yanking the chains of so many politicians in our post-Citizens United era.

The problem, as President Obama recently pointed out, is that the legalized gambling that Wall Street firms like JP Morgan are still involved in, are still backstopped by U.S. taxpayer dollars - which means we pay for their losses, while they get to keep most of their winnings.

What's more, because Federal spending has in fact NOT gone up - as Karl Rove's ad also lies about - our Federal regulators are fiscally outmatched and outgunned by the modern day robber barons of Wall Street.

So what tricks do the bears on Wall Street want Congress to perform?

How about rolling over, and having the Wall Street regulators play dead? That's not hyperbole. There are nine bills before lawmakers right now designed to kill off the minor regulations that Obama, Democrats, and the Dodd-Frank bill put back in place after the disastrous market crash of 2008 - when George W. Bush was still President.

Some of the best economic experts today - including Paul Krugman and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich - have made it clear: President Obama, and frankly the Democratic Party in general, should not do any more favors for Wall Street. They agree, Obama and the Democrats should forge ahead with the fight against 'casino capitalism' - the kind of Wall Street activity that was responsible for most of the massive financial destruction around the world over the last decade.

Now, we're all well aware of the snarling and roaring (and crying and whining) that continues to come from the canyons of Wall Street any time the word "regulation" is mentioned. But the facts don't lie. Since "the market" was re-regulated, the stock indexes are doing better than ever, there's been 26 months of private sector job growth - even the economic confidence level has hit a new high.

When you get right down to it, even Republicans think we need to stand up to the casino capitalists on Wall Street. They made that plenty clear during the GOP Presidential primary, over the last year.

It's long past time for the wild animals of Wall Street to re-learn who the masters are, and who is supposed to be performing for the masses.

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