The Tim of years ago would probably never have believed that he supported and applauded anything that Democrats were doing, but………he is. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am living my political life backwards. The old saying, “If you’re young and conservative, you have no heart, and if you’re old and liberal, you have no brain” speaks to the normal, assumed political path of American citizens: you start off a hippie-dippie left-winger and, through the years, become a curmudgeonly radical-right conservative.
I’m doing it precisely the opposite way: as a teenager, I had a terrifyingly laissez-faire, dog-eat-dog, every-man-for-himself attitude. I was a hard-core libertarian (and, deep down, probably still am) and saw all Democrats as welfare-loving, tax-and-spending, union-worshipping socialists.
But this week when I heard that the Republicans (who, long ago, were the champions of small government and small business) were going to water down the Dodd-Frank bill for the sake of their masters at Goldman Sachs, I just about vomited. I began this post figuring that the deed was already done, but then I saw this:
So, for once, I’d like to stand on my chair and bang my forearms together in support of (some) Democrats foiling the Republicans’ evil plans. And I must say, it’s a really, really sad day that I have to cheer on Democrats, for the love of God.
See, I think a society has to scare the bejesus out of its citizenry with respect to corruption, and it takes a long time for a society to become either corrupt or (relatively) pure. It’s endemic to the culture. A place like, say, Norway is going to remain straight as an arrow, because they have an open, free, relatively honest society. It’s ingrained into the culture. On the other hand, a place like, oh, Russia, will probably remain a cesspool of corruption for as long as we can imagine.
China has plenty of corruption, but those guys don’t mess around – – – execution for white collar crime? The middle kingdom does it. And, I imagine, it’s going to be a lot more effective in wrenching the place into a country that other nations feel comfortable doing business with, as the culture, in fits and starts, moves toward respectable behavior.
After the horror of the Great Depression, the United States instituted the Glass-Steagall Act, and it stayed in place virtually unaltered for nearly seventy years! Only the doe-eyed euphoria of the massive NASDAQ bubble in 1999 (coupled with sleazy hucksters like Jim Wright) was able to toss this law into the dustbin of history.
It would take something extraordinary to bring the firm rule of law back, and the financial crisis was a made-to-order crisis. In a just and sane world, the aftermath of this crisis would have (1) reinstated Glass-Steagall instantly; (2) resulted in the imprisonment of hundreds, if not thousands, of white-collar criminals (Blankfein would be getting gang-banged to this day); (3) compelled Congress to conjure up massive confiscatory tax hikes, including 100% taxes on those AIG bonuses that everyone has forgotten about.
Instead, we got Dodd-Frank, which to my way of thinking should have been titled We’re Not Going to Punish You This Time But If You Do This Again We Will Punish You, Honest Injun! It was a pretty pale event compared to what should have happened, but, meh, in my mind, eventually we’d collapse again, and at least then TBTF wouldn’t get bailed out, and the bad actors would get thrown into prison.
But, as I’ve stated, with the equity markets near lifetime highs, and the idiotic, short-memoried public not caring, the Republicans figured they could just undo even the modest “punishment” of Dodd-Frank and just let the Jamie Dimons of the world run naked and free again.
For now, they’ve failed…………but the fact that this watering-down was even considered is something I find sickening.