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Will Obama and the Supply-siders Inadvertently Drag Us Into Another Great Depression?

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 Even as another potential Great Depression looms, the US political/media system seems incapable of honestly addressing the crisis and devising coherent answers.   Instead, the old partisan and lobbying games dominate the political world, and obsession with trivia commands the news media's limited focus, Danny Schechter writes.

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Some years back, Thomas Frank nailed it in his book, The Wrecking Crew.   It was subtitled "How Conservatives Rule" and it showed how narrow self-interest and well-practiced cynicism in the service of partisan warfare has crippled our political system, resulting in a deep paralysis despite the looming threat of a collapse.

What it really is, Danny says, is sabotage, a tactic that involves deliberate effort to insure that reforms are effectively undermined.   Today, the hatchets are out to do-in the needed financial reforms contained in a bill that has already been neutered and nit-picked, trimmed, sliced and diced by what's called "legislative compromise.'

And now a congressional-style Seal Team Six has been assembled by the Republicans and is ready to pounce on the new enemy of the politically powerful banksters:   financial reform.   (There is no corporate privilege or malevolent bank practice that bankster lobbyists will not defend . . in the name of fostering financial growth.)

One juicy sex scandal involving one or more pols gets more ink than all the investigations of how special interests, well-paid lobbyists, billionaire funders, think-tank gunslingers and slippery lawyers for hire serve to stop even mild reforms that might cost the industries they work for money or influence.   There are no reforms they won't endlessly amend into oblivion.

Here's how it works

First, they commission bogus and selective studies to "prove" why reforms need to be "reformed," their way.   Then, with PR and complicit corporate media, they orchestrate coverage to sell their policies.   They start with something small like protections for debit cards, and then escalate to full-scale warfare.

Escalation example:   the knives were out for the new Consumer Protection Bureau with a major campaign targeting Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, who first proposed the agency and was widely considered the most qualified to lead it.

She was then demonized by the industry and the Right -- and now the Obama administration seems ready to abandon her, rather than fight for her.   But we need her.   Why?   Because four years ago, the markets melted down, sparking a global crisis.   The bailouts followed and a trillion-dollar bank-led "recovery" helped many banks recover.   However, unemployment and foreclosures stayed high.   Very high.   And economic growth seized up.   The crisis continues.   And Elizabeth Warren understands the implications of all this for the average American, and she is our advocate.

So what was Obama's response?

He allowed his administration to be locked into an alliance with Wall Street.   This alliance then killed proposals for structural reform and restraints on private economic power.   And now the Obama administration is foolishly expecting an economic turnaround -- their version of faith-based politics -- even as jobs are not coming back.

In short, the Obama administration has no answers and is not prepared to fight any messy battles with the real power structure in this country, which consists of Wall Street and the big corporations.   In the name of pragmatism, Obama has betrayed his own campaign compromises and tacked right, drifting ever closer to the Republicans.

They call it "triangulation."   Their critics call it a sell-out.   The Republicans retreated into knee-jerk simple-mindedness, blaming everything on Democrats and government spending.   Then they began fueling a scare about "The Deficit" in the same way that their predecessors raved against "The Red Menace."

In Congress, supposedly wise men came up with a financial reform called Dodd-Frank.   After stripping it of anything remotely radical, they offered up some pragmatic measures to increase regulation and try to force the finance industry to act responsibly with more transparency and accountability.    However, the bill explicitly rejected proposals for any and all international standards and is essentially an empty suit.

Dodd-Frank passed, but then the real bargaining began on what the new rules should actually be.   The finance industry mounted a lobbying force consisting of 25 high-powered lawyers and consultants for each and every member of Congress.   The deliberations moved out of public view and into the corridors and closed clubs in Washington.   The predictable result has now surfaced in the New York Times:

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)
 

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"Ostensibly, the House Republicans are outraged th... by Richard Clark on Saturday, Jun 11, 2011 at 12:20:54 PM
OF COURSE!!! Why else would the states bother to ... by Jill Herendeen on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 6:09:40 AM
Thanks Paul for the article, but I would like to m... by Linda Laurin on Saturday, Jun 11, 2011 at 1:19:18 PM
Supply-side economics is not a policy of Obama or ... by Paul Craig Roberts on Saturday, Jun 11, 2011 at 1:26:50 PM
> Apparently Robert Reich disagrees with you. ... by Richard Clark on Saturday, Jun 11, 2011 at 8:39:45 PM
Supply-side economics is a school of macroeconomic... by Richard Clark on Saturday, Jun 11, 2011 at 11:28:15 PM
Department which advocated and implemented Reagano... by bogi666 on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 12:59:09 AM
Obama used Wall Street $$$$ to win the last electi... by Carol Davidek-Waller on Saturday, Jun 11, 2011 at 3:31:58 PM
It is a polite fiction that what Barry drags US in... by Michael Rose on Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 12:57:57 AM
The Republicans react to Ms. Warren in the same wa... by Dwight Boness on Saturday, Jun 11, 2011 at 6:41:37 PM
I agree with almost everything, except for the neg... by Jillian Barclay on Saturday, Jun 11, 2011 at 7:15:27 PM
Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: ... by John Steinsvold on Saturday, Jun 11, 2011 at 7:38:18 PM
Modern Republicans have a simple approach to pol... by Richard Clark on Saturday, Jun 11, 2011 at 9:22:35 PM
I agree with you, but the GOP will take over the w... by Oscar Schneider on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 4:36:48 PM
Reaganomics, economic policies of Reagan who had a... by bogi666 on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 12:37:11 AM
We have deficit spending out the wazoo, it isn't w... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 6:53:47 AM
Von Mises and his followers are completely deluded... by Richard Clark on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 8:14:40 AM
My comment was about the economic situation in 192... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 10:47:25 AM
An Economy On Life Support Is Not RecoveringRecove... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 11:03:01 AM
Neither cutting nor expanding spending will do any... by AAA AAA on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 11:30:27 AM
It was protectionism that was a contributing facto... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 1:59:33 PM
Republicans don't advocate protectionism today. T... by AAA AAA on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 2:35:18 PM
Libertarians advocate free markets, Republicans ad... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 4:07:02 PM
You can have whatever last word you want it does n... by AAA AAA on Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 12:04:40 AM
I've never said that the US has a free market, get... by Darren Wolfe on Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 6:26:55 AM
Excellent article. I agree that politicians, using... by AAA AAA on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 11:03:12 AM
 Since they fit into this topic so well, I ca... by Richard Clark on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 11:53:38 AM
In contradiction to experts, it is clear that th... by Oscar Schneider on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 3:32:54 PM
 The Rethugs will take over the white house i... by Oscar Schneider on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 4:43:52 PM
 Here's a clip from the Financial Times that ... by Richard Clark on Sunday, Jun 12, 2011 at 11:09:52 PM
We are in an economic depression with at leas... by David Chester on Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 3:43:15 AM
...figure out how to live without occupying land. ... by Jill Herendeen on Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 1:02:17 PM
Cutting taxes for big corporations has created job... by Philip Pease on Monday, Jun 13, 2011 at 10:55:07 AM
just how do we go about doing it?... by Silverpegasus on Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 6:37:32 AM
Too much supply side, not enough demand side! ... by Richard Clark on Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 10:37:56 AM
 If he keeps ignoring demand side, it's hard ... by Richard Clark on Thursday, Jun 23, 2011 at 5:22:20 PM