Tag Archives: lawmakers

Good News and Bad News

Good News and Bad News

It is nice to know that I am on the side of those who argued that a decrease in spending (government spending) was bad for the economy. It is nice to know that I was right. No, I’m not some high-powered economist. I would like to think that I’m someone who sits back and looks at most of the available data and tries to come to some logical conclusion. It would be nice to say that the economy of the United States, or that the world for that matter, is based on some grand moral play. When people do bad things, like overspending, they will get punished for it. Unfortunately, the economy doesn’t work like that. Sometimes those who make the most reckless and thoughtless economic gambles aren’t risking their own money. They’re risking yours.

This is a convoluted way of saying austerity has failed. There was that one academic study that conservatives waved around which turned out to be incredibly flawed. It was so flawed, in fact, that a grad student was easily able to show that their data didn’t make any sense. So, where does that leave us? Austerity doesn’t work. The American economy is stagnant secondary to the sequester (Austerity 2.0), many of the European countries that embraced austerity (Ireland, Spain, et al) are “enjoying” pain without gain. Where does that leave us? In my opinion, the answer is simple. We need government spending. This is the good news. The bad news is that US lawmakers haven’t figured out that they are punishing the American people for no good reason.

On another note, the weakness of Democrats sometimes makes me want to vomit, right here, right on my keyboard. The Democrats made their argument over how bad the sequester was going to be. They rained all of this negativity about the sequester and what an absolutely terrible idea it was. They were right. Yet, the Republicans talked nothing but happy talk. Conservatives said that we would notice nothing with the sequester. Slashing government spending would be no big deal. No one would notice. So, for the first several weeks/months of the sequester, Republicans looked like they were right. There appeared to be no specific bad side effects to these massive government spending cuts. We then started seeing long lines at airports because of furloughed air-traffic controllers. Suddenly, Congress sprung into action. The Democrats caved. Instead of standing strong and clearly articulating to the American people that this is exactly what they were talking about, the Democrats allowed the Republicans to craft legislation to carve out an exception to the sequester. What the hell? All the Democrats had to do, in my opinion, was to stand up and point out that this is a perfect example of the consequences we warned the American people about. This is the sequester. The Democrats should have proposed only two options, repeal the sequester totally or continue to embrace it. Instead, they’ve allowed to carve it out. This is an excellent example of how to lose an argument even when you’re right.

The good news is that I was right on austerity. Austerity doesn’t work in this situation. The bad news is that the Democrats caved on the sequester.

 

US of ALEC

Bill Moyers discusses how some of our lawmakers are competely beholden to ALEC (American Legislative Executive Council), a secretive organization that receives millions of dollars from national corporations. These guys do get results. ALEC drafted the stand your ground law in Florida. They are also behind the Right to Work law that was rammed through Michigan.

The Banks Want More

stack of money

I know it is hard to fathom, but for some reason the big banks don’t believe they have enough power or influence in Washington. They’ve even taken out a SuperPAC so they can throw more money around. The whole thing is depressing. The fact that we went into the biggest recession since the Great Depression because the big banks were playing roulette with our money doesn’t seem to phase them. They have no pity. They have no shame. The fact that they treat us like small piles of money instead of as individuals doesn’t phase them either.

From Alter-Net:

Friends Of Traditional Banking is a new super-PAC formed by “traditional” banks that can raise unlimited amounts, and can direct unlimited money to races without restrictions.

One banker calls this “a big stick” with which to punish lawmakers who vote with the public interest instead of the banking industry’s interest. Another banker says the purpose is to make lawmakers “afraid of bankers” instead of having them respond to the public. Another says, “… if you say the bankers are going to put in $100,000 or $500,000 or $1 million into your opponent’s campaign, that starts to draw some attention.” Another makes it all clear, it is about raising “a lot of money” to “hammer” lawmakers who are in the way of bank profits.

The story from American Banker, Bankers Form SuperPac for ‘Surgical’ Strike at Industry’s Enemies, explains,

Frustrated by a lack of political power and fed up with blindly donating to politicians who consistently vote against the industry’s interests, a handful of leaders are determined to shake things up.

They have formed the industry’s first SuperPAC — dubbed Friends of Traditional Banking —  that is designed to target the industry’s enemies and support its friends in Congress.

“It comes back to the old philosophy of walking softly and carrying a big stick,” says Howard Headlee, the president and chief executive officer of the Utah Bankers Association. “But we’ve got no big stick. And we should. We have the capacity to have one, we just aren’t organized.”

… “Congress isn’t afraid of bankers,” adds Roger Beverage, the president and CEO of the Oklahoma Bankers Association. “They don’t think we’ll do anything to kick them out of office. We are trying to change that perception.”

The arrogance of these guys is killing me. The power the United States lies with the people. It is that simple. It doesn’t lie with the politicians. It doesn’t lie with the political friends of the politicians. The power does not lie in the rich or the well-to-do. The power in the United States lies in the people. It is time for us to rise up and take back the power that is rightfully ours. Politicians should be listening to us and not to special interests like gun lobbies or bank lobbies or anyone else.