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David Swanson’s review of TruthDig.com’s Editor in Chief and veteran journalist Robert Scheer‘s new book “The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street”:
Here’s the short answer that Scheer provides: Reagan announced the robbery but couldn’t pull it off. Clinton robbed us blind. Bush Jr. and Obama drove the get-away car, with Obama disguised as a security guard.
[snip] [snip] [snip]
Candidate Barack Obama campaigned for the restoration of Glass-Steagall, and then put in place all the same people who’d destroyed it. He’d been made an insider. The day after a special election in Massachusetts to replace Senator Ted Kennedy, President Obama briefly pulled out his old rhetoric. Wall Street immediately shifted its “donations” from Democrats to Republicans, and that settled that. Obama pushed corporatized “health insurance reform,” which distracted from his absolute subservience to Wall Street on matters financial. He drew on the “expertise” of those who’d created and collapsed these mega-corporations in building on President George W. Bush’s accountability-free bailouts at public expense. It was the same pattern Obama followed in every department: Where he didn’t leave Bush’s people in charge he brought back Clinton’s. Anything to be an insider.
“The dispiriting lesson of both the Clinton and the Obama White Houses is that the Democrats proved to be as eager to please Wall Street as their Republican rivals. The influence of big corporate money far overwhelms that of labor, environmental, consumer, or grassroots organizations, making a mockery of the American ideal of self-government when it comes to reining in the antics of the largest conglomerates of wealth.
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now talks with Scheer, September 07, 2010…
( transcript here )
Also see It’s the Mortgages, Stupid
by Robert Scheer, September 11, 2010
This week’s proposals by the Obama administration to deal with the persistent economic crisis will be, as with previous plans that involved trillions of taxpayer dollars, little more than salt in the wounds. Once again the strategy is to stimulate the economy by funding projects and tax cuts while ignoring the root cause of the problem: a housing foreclosure meltdown that has chilled the spending of a majority of American consumers.
With 11 million homeowners underwater on their mortgages and 3 million more already foreclosed, we have to assume, given the average household size, that some 40 million Americans are feeling mighty strapped. The numbers grow to an overwhelming majority when you take into account the distress of all homeowners, who have watched the value of the family nest egg dwindle even if they substantially paid down or paid off their mortgage debt. And this very widespread feeling of being suddenly much poorer is a nationwide scourge that has dramatically cut the appetite for consumption that drives the economy.
Which brings us to the current disastrous moment. The president who inherited a deep recession that began 13 months before he took office is now viewed as a big “socialist” spender because he followed in Bush’s footsteps, blackmailed by the notion that the entire system would go kaput if the bankers were not accommodated. The amount of money now available for him to spend without freaking everyone out about an increase in the debt is paltry. The commitment of $50 billion to a national infrastructure program to be phased in over the next decade would prove to be too little too late. It is chump change compared with the $350 billion in loans and guarantees to one bank alone, Citigroup, which still cannot stand steadily on its own feet.
There is only one course left for Obama, and it is to do now what he should have done at the start of his term: abandon the hope that banks will voluntarily aid desperate homeowners and instead push for new government regulations and changes in the bankruptcy law to force the banks to make deals to keep people in their homes. There is precious little else to talk about, for if the housing market-the bedrock of not only the American dream but, more important, the financial security of a nation of consumers-is not restored, we are in for one long, dreary period of economic stagnation at best, or a severe downturn and a society in dangerous turmoil.