Saturday, June 16, 2012
Clinton Spanks Obama
Wall Street Rules
By Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times
The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution are among the most important achievements of mankind. They established democratic and republican government in the modern world: a free people of equal and inalienable rights who confer power on their government.
It was never a sure thing that either would last.
Wise Ben Franklin knew it. After the Constitution was adopted and Franklin was asked what kind of government had been created, he replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Lincoln knew it. He wondered in the Gettysburg Address if a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal… can long endure.”
The great enemy of democratic and republican government is well established in human affairs. It is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, which creates a concentration of power that over time becomes ever more self serving, until those who monopolize wealth and power can break the law with impunity and ignore even the urgent needs of the people.
Understood in this way, the United States has ceased to be either a democracy or a republic, so great is the concentration of vast wealth in the hands of the few. Really, the number is even smaller than 1 percent.
The finance industry, dominated by a handful of big banks, now accounts for more than 60 percent of all domestic profit and rules the roost. When Wall Street says jump, presidents, Congress and candidates ask, “How high?”
But the big banks and major corporations – defense, security, energy, health care, pharmaceutical, agribusiness – rarely need to ask, at least not in public. An army of lobbyists, mountains of campaign cash and lucrative post-office rewards have made the elected “representatives” of the people fully attentive to the needs of the nation’s corporate elite – like well trained dogs.
“Sit! Lie down. Roll over. Good boy!” And you give the dog a treat.
The 2012 contest for president illustrates the undemocratic and unrepublican reality of the American government. The lessons are being taught by the huckster-in-chief, former president Bill Clinton.
Clinton was one of the “New Democrats” of the mid 1980s who stole the Democratic Party for Wall Street. Their getaway vehicle was the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).
The DLC supported free trade, the mechanism for off shoring jobs, holding down wages and maximizing corporate profit, and supported creation of the too-big-to-fail banks.
And when the Mexican peso collapsed – another Wall Street special – then-President Clinton bailed out Mexico, so the big banks could be bailed out.
Near the end of his term, Clinton allied with the GOP to nullify the Glass-Steagall Act, which since the 1929 crash had separated the banks from their investment and speculation operations. This gave Wall Street access to the hard assets of the American people – savings, pensions, investments and mortgages – which they looted.
Later, when Bush II declared war on Iraq, Clinton and the DLC supported that.
War is always good for Wall Street.
When Obama was elected, Wall Street moved into the White House – and the Treasury, Department of Justice and dozens of important policy and regulatory offices, and the DLC closed up shop. Mission accomplished.
Bill figured to have Wall Street as an ally when Hillary ran for president, but she had too much baggage and Wall Street dumped her for Obama. Bill took it like a man, the way he took the book deals, foundation money, speaking fees, secretary of State for Hillary, and of course, another shot at the White House if she behaves herself – and Bill carries the water for Wall Street.
So when an Obama campaign ad criticized Mitt Romney’s Wall Street, deal-making days at Bain Capital, Clinton went public to spank the president: the stick. Then, just days later, Clinton chaperoned Obama to Manhattan for a series of fundraisers: the carrot.
Last week Clinton was again in the media to discipline the president, suggesting that any new taxes on the wealthy were really not a good idea, “at this time.”
Now I know and you know, I hope, that Obama’s call for slightly higher taxes on the rich is not going anywhere. The GOP would rather die. And perhaps Wall Street will oblige them to do so.
Still, to have Clinton again take a public position in opposition to the president is – instructive.
If John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson or Dick Nixon had been crossed in that way – twice ! – both Clintons would be missing body parts. The president of the United States is the leader of his party and The Most Powerful Man in the World, right?
Wrong. He, like Clinton and Romney now executes the plays called in from the sidelines – or Executive Dining Room or Super Box, whatever – making only the slightest of attempts to address the needs of the great struggling majority of the American people.
The 2012 election for president is a sham. So are most “contests” for the Congress. The candidates have been pre-approved. Not Obama, Romney or the Congress will deviate from Wall Street’s playbook, and the consolidation of wealth and power in the hands of the few will continue in the once democratic republic of the United States.
Until the American people take their nation back. We need to start thinking hard about how to do that.