“Now that we’ve determined just what you are . . .

(8 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

. . . all we’re doing now is negotiating the price.”

It’s a punchline to an old joke.

And Democrats, as thereisnospoon so ably points out in his diary, are in real danger of becoming the same.

As the LA Times reports this morning, those who are pushing so hard for the Greatest Robbery In The History Of The World Paulson Plan are more than likely those who have received the most money from the financial sector.

And Democrats are right up there in taking that money.

So far during the 2008 campaign cycle, Barack Obama has taken $22.5million from the financial services, insurance and real-estate sectors, while Hillary Clinton has received $21.5 million and John McCain $19.6 million. Chris Dodd has accepted $6 million.

Top non-presidential-candidate recipients include Barney Frank ($720,000), Pennsylvania’s Paul Kanjorski ($755,000) and Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus ($704,000)

According the the Center for Responsive Politics (you know them as the folks who run OpenSecrets.org), the battle for passage of Phil Gramm’s 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act – the progenitor of today’s fiasco – can be tracked through campaign donations:

Those who supported lifting restrictions on how commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies could go about their business received more than twice as much money in campaign contributions from those interests as did those who opposed the measure, the study found.

The 195 Democrats who supported the legislation received an average of $179,920 in the nearly three years leading up to its passage, the study found. The 59 Democrats who opposed it received an average of just $83,475.

(Unfortunately, the LA Times article doesn’t cite Republican figures for the same period, and the actual CRP study isn’t out yet.)

The johns of the financial world, of course, are still trying hard to get what they have paid good money for:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, perhaps the most powerful lobby in Washington, dispatched its lobbyists to Capitol Hill and met with allied organizations in hopes of presenting a unified front from business.

“Based on what we have been told, preventing a systemic collapse of the capital markets has got to be the No. 1 priority,” said R. Bruce Josten, the chamber’s vice president for governmental affairs. “This is not the time to add all kinds of extraneous stuff” to the legislation. “This is not the time to make sure it is 100% correct. This is the time to act.”

Yeah! No extraneous stuff! Hmph! So THERE!

Well, except maybe a little . . .

Still, the chamber has advocated for changes in drafts of the legislation. For example, it pushed to get foreign-owned banks included in the bill and fought the most extreme proposals to limit executive pay.

– but that’s different.

So – just as in that other very, very old profession that is the subject of the joke that opens this diary, politicians take their money up front.

And – again, just as in that old joke – in the next several days, we’ll be able to determine just which of the two professions they have chosen.

And, for what it’s worth, I have heard that there is a difference between the two.

We’ll see.

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  1.  – just leave it on the nightstand.

    (Once again, I’ve gotta run for a bit, but I’ll be back. I promise.)

    Thanks for reading!

  2. who’s fought against the parasites for his entire career.

    And it’s not the Democratic nominee.

  3. These two explanations for the behavior of Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke are really the only ones that fit the facts:

    (1) Incompetence and inattention. Is it credible to argue that neither Paulson nor Bernanke could foresee the risk of this liquidity/insolvency crisis? Nouriel Roubini at RGEmonitor and bonddad, billmon, Jerome a Paris, and New Deal Democrat over at Daily Kos have been analyzing this creaking Ponzi scheme of debt and derivatives for the past year. Even your humble servant (an ordinary observer and investor) posted a warning analysis last year on July 29, 2007: Must Fools in Paradise Ignore Canaries in Mineshafts?

    If Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson–with the economic data at their disposal–could not see this crisis coming, then they are colossally incompetent. They should accept responsibility for their failures and should resign.

    (2) Devious malice. But if ex-Princeton professor Ben Bernanke and former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson are not incompetent and inattentive (and their successful careers do not suggest that they are), we are left with only one alternative conclusion. Bernanke and Paulson knew that the vast unregulated universe of fortune-producing sub-prime mortgage derivatives, especially the credit default swaps, were a classic Ponzi scheme that ultimately would have to collapse. Paulson’s and Bernanke’s assigned roles were to jawbone (as Paulson frequently did at the end of trading days during which the key stock indices had dipped alarmingly) and wave magic monetary wands (as Bernanke frequently did by opening discount windows and using other forms of Federal Reserve legerdemain to keep funds flowing through an increasingly constipated financial system) to keep the party–the looting–going as long as possible, and in any case until after the elections in November.

    Just one problem. They came up about six weeks short of their target. Last week’s meltdown forced them to show their hand and pull out their “Nationalization of Finance Capital” plan.

    So it all really boils down to this simple formula:

    Unitary Executive + Nationalization of Finance Capital = Dictatorship of the Looting Class

    What a wonderful time to be a CEO of a Ponzi scheme investment bank!

    What a wonderful time to be an invested member of the looting class!

    As virtually every lucid observer on the Left and Right has correctly pointed out:

    Gains are privatized. Losses are socialized.

    I’ll even bet that they are going to get away with it.

  4. and it will “come out of us” through inflation…

    • dkmich on September 24, 2008 at 11:55

    Put that joint down and have some Doritos.  

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