SHIP OF STATE OR SHIP OF FOOLS
The Money Party at Work
We keep doing the same things over and over again and expect different results.
Who are the officers guiding our ship of state, steering us through the troubled waters of a failed economy and two tragic and costly wars?
Do we have bold leaders ready to move us away from the failed policies that generated a free market kleptocracy for insiders and their masters, the ultra wealthy?
Are they brilliant tacticians who can think far enough outside of the box to get us out of calamitous foreign adventures that generate nothing but death, destruction, and ill will on the part of those we seek to "help"?
At the start of President Obama's administration, it was clear that this would be a cabinet that spanned those few degrees of that mythical political spectrum called "the middle." The political middle, like the Hobbits' "middle earth," is a contrivance, although much less artful. It's where you're supposed to be if you're the president. You stand for those who count; those with the vested interests in the economy. You are that special gatekeeper at the intersection between avarice and the nation's wealth.
Will anything truly change?
We can tell by the key players in domestic and foreign policy.
Chief economic adviser Larry Summers and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner are the stewards of economic policy and programs. They have a long public track record. Summers was a key player in repealing the Glass Steagall Act in 1999. In place since the Great Depression, that law prevented banks from wild, risky speculation. Since it was repealed in 1999, banks have run free doing the very things that the act prevented.
Summers was also a key player in the passage of the Commodity Services Modernization Act of 2000. That act brought back derivatives which had been illegal since 1906. These highly speculative market products were the very thing Glass-Steagall would have prevented.
Geithner served as one of the nation's top bank regulators as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the most powerful Fed by far. He had his own stress test for banks in 2007 and thought everything was fine. Most of those banks are so stressed two years later that they require welfare from the federal government just to stay afloat.
Summers is guiding government policy in the most spectacular welfare program of all - Wall Street welfare. Banks have now received twice as much in welfare payments as they received under Bush and its just beginning.
As Treasury secretary, Geithner is making this happen. He's also working to see that the Federal Reserve offered trillions more in credit guarantees for the failed banks and bankers. Geithner also ratified what most experts called an illegal tax break for the nation's largest banks written into code by a Bush Treasury staffer. It's a $140 billion giveaway that no one will even talk about. By failing to repeal or even discuss it, it's become Geithner's giveaway.
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