WHY WALL STREET IS WINNING
A Hated Financial Center Is Bouncing Back. How did they Do It?
By Danny Schechter, Author of The Crime of Our Time
Two years ago as financial reform was put on the U.S. Congressional agenda, a skeptical Senator, Dick Durbin of Illinois, spoke of the power of the banks over the country's legislative process.
"They run the place," he said matter of factly.
The comment was then treated as a sidebar in the few newspapers that carried it, perhaps because it hinted at how interests, not ideology, dictate what happens on Capital Hill.
The remark about a shadowy power structure far more important than all the partisan in-fighting that dominates the news is worth recalling as a way of explaining how little has been done to rain in Wall Street in the years since its crash virtually wrecked the global economy.
It is also worth realizing that the people who "run the place" usually do so in ways that rarely get high profile media scrutiny or even public attention.
During the deliberations on re-regulating banks, they mounted a formidable army of lobbyists. It was reported that there was a many as 25 industry lobbyists were assigned to each member of Congress.
Even as new laws passed to satisfy an angry public, the industry dominated the process of what the laws would cover and how.
They also spread money around to help politicians that helped them For years, those donations were made on a non-partisan base with Democrats as well as Republicans a beneficiary of carefully targeted help. Today, they are cutting off the Democrats who pushed financial reform.
The corporate sector is following suit. Nominally "liberal" companies like BP, criticized by the White House sharply for the Gulf Oil spill is pouring money not oil, into GOP coffers.
As bi-partisanship fades, and certain ideological lines are drawn more sharply, the bankers are now favoring the Republicans financially, perhaps to thank them for erecting a unified wall against tighter rules for banks.
The GOP, led by the pro-free market slogans of the Tea Party are busy defunding financial regulators as well.
Right-wingers in turn are being funded by wealthy billionaire backers including the shadowy Koch Brothers responsible for backing the anti union programs of Governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin. These campaigns are designed to neuter all opposition to a conservatve agenda.
Meanwhile, President Obama reaches into the corporate sector for "help" on his economic "recovery" agenda. In recent months, he named Jeffrey R. Immelt, President of General Electric, a company known for outsourcing jobs as his jobs advisor.