With the help of the Obama Administration Grinch, the House of Representatives has indeed put a big lump of coal in American's stocking by passing the so-called Cromnibus Bill last night. Those hard-fought Dodd-Frank limitations on another big bailout of the big banks were removed in this bad bill, even though that removal had absolutely nothing to do with extending the funding of the government. Comparably hard-fought limitations on campaign spending were also virtually removed, allowing individual donors to contribute over three hundred thousand dollars to campaigns. These provisions were hidden away in a very lengthy bill, and only protested at the very last minute -- then ineffectively fought.
One might think that the Obama Administration would have opposed this very bad bill with the same fervor which had once led to such innovative limitations on Wall Street as Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But -- NO, there was the White House Chief of Staff lobbying Democrats to support Cromnbibus, supposedly to avoid a government shutdown -- except that legislation was waiting in the aisles to extend Federal spending temporarily via the usual Continuing Resolution. There was no need to blatantly set up America for another round of abuse by the speculative activities of the giant banks, nor was there any need to remove the remaining limits on campaign spending. The President himself was reported to be making calls demanding party loyalty in supporting this very bad bill, whose financial provision was literally written largely by Citibank lobbyists, when their recommended wording was adopted in the bill.
Now, there is one final chance for this atrocious lump of coal in America's stocking to be removed in the Senate, by voting down this very bad bill and replacing it with a modest Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government going. Unfortunately, even if the senate takes this badly-needed action, it will likely be reversed when the new Republican-controlled Senate takes over in January, 2015. Even so, and even if the gesture turns out to be futile, at least the coal will be kicked down the road for a few weeks. And at least the present Democratic-controlled Senate will not have made itself party to the changeover of the United States from a nation "of, by, and for the People" to a nation "of, by, and for Big Money and Big Banks." Even if futile, the Senate should still do the right thing and defeat the very bad Cromnibus Bill.
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)