Friday, October 3, 2008

Bush And Wall Street Win, America Loses

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ["I just screwed ya! Can ya feel it?"]

“He’s not a leader, he’s a Texas leaguer.
Swinging for the fences, got lucky with a strike.
Drilling for fear makes the job simple.
Born on third, thinks he got a triple.
Blackout weaves its way through the cities….” — Bushleaguer, Pearl Jam

Today, October 3, 2008, was a huge victory for George W. Bush. It was a smashing success for Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. It was a piece d’ resistance for Wall Street tycoons and high-rolling investors around the nation. Tonight the Champagne corks will pop, Republicans will breathe a sigh of relief and let their hair down and Corporate America will continue it’s search for ever higher plateaus of profit and financial security for all the top execs.

Yes, today the House of Representatives passed the WSWS – the Wall Street Welfare State Bill (or the Emergency Economic Rescue bill, whatever they want to call it.) It’s happy days in Fat City!

Meanwhile, it was an utterly stunning defeat for middle-class, working-class and impoverished America. Now we will all – including those of us who’ve paid dearly for the excesses of Wall Street over the decade – pay for the “deciders’” greedy over-extensions.

As the Senate gave a 74-25 vote to the newly revamped bill, fresh with $105 billion in extra pork on top, intended to “sweeten the deal” to entice previously skeptical House Republicans’ votes, the House today followed suit with a 263-171 vote.

"The broad authorities in this legislation, when combined with existing regulatory authorities and resources, gives us the ability to protect and recapitalize our financial system as we work through the stresses in our credit markets," said Treasury’s Henry Paulson. Note the phrase “broad authorities” … this will come back to haunt us all.

“New York and L.A.
City halls are falling down.
There’s no escape
When a class war comes to town.” — Class War, D.O.A.

"Wall Street is so hungry for the $700 billion they can taste it. To get it they need to ... create panic, block alternatives and herd the cattle. We ask Congress not to rush. Defeating this bill today isn't the last step. It's the first step in passing a good bill," said Rep. Brad Sherman, (D-CA) in an attempt to slow the process down and exercise prudence before enacting a quick-fix.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, who has called for the FDIC and SEC to use their powers to ease the credit crisis, said soon before the vote, "Pray for our Republic. She's being placed in ... very greedy hands."

A clearly elated President Bush immediately signed the bill upon passage. My one burning concern is this: what did he change on it with his “signature statement.”

Just four days ago, upon signing the Emergency Spending Bill, Bush made clear he still wields his “unitary executive powers” vis a vis his signature statements. Per the article, Bush said he reserved the right to “interpret and construe” the bill as he saw fit. You can bet whatever provisions made by Congress to limit powers by the Treasury Secretary of Bush himself will be vastly different after his signature statement. It’s astonishing that Congress hasn’t picked up on this habit of his yet. Congress just gave Bush the bank.

At one point today, the Dow-Jones was up over 200 points. Now that the WSWS Bill is law, and Wall Street now going into government hands, the Dow was up a meager 23 point as of 2:30PM (shortly after signing), and finished down 157 points! (Congress, you just got punked!)

In other good news today, new unemployment claims shot up to 159,000 – the highest in more than five years. Great news for all of us looking forward to that vacation – albeit an unpaid, open-ended one. Hey, at least Bush reopened up the credit markets for you!

After eight years of Bush-baby tax-cutting policy, over ¾ million jobs have disappeared in this year alone, and all jobs are more tenuous than ever in this “fundamentally strong” economy. Of course, Sarah Palin last night reminded everyone that we need more tax cuts to help create jobs. Just like it has this past eight years, eh?

And the last bit of news comes from Akron, Ohio, where 90-year old Addie Polk shot herself twice in the upper body as sheriff’s deputies were evicting her from her home that was being foreclosed. As Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) reminded after the House vote, “This bill does nothing for the Addie Polks of the world.

“This bill will take care of Wall Street, and the market may go up for a few days, but democracy is going downhill.”


“The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied...but written off as trash.” — John Berger

“Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.” — Henry David Thoreau

1 comment:

Polar said...

If this didn't prove to anyone that the economics of the past 30 years were voodoo economics, including and especially deregulation of business in general and banking/investments in particular, then you're nuts. Would you believe that Bush's dad got it right? W getting it wrong is standard operating procedure.

I never thought I'd ever see VEF and Lou Dobbs agree - but today, you do.

We should have learned our lessons about hastily drafted legislation with the Patriot Act. It's nearly always a mistake.