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Buying The Government

I was thrilled to see the administration take on Goldman and attempt to put some much needed financial reform and regulation in place. Much of the impact of the financial crisis could have been avoided if thirty years ago we had not allowed the Reagan administration to eliminate many of the safeguards that had been wisely put in place after the depression.  Public companies have no soul – they only live to grow.  And when we remove all barriers to their growth we get institutions too big to fail, too complicated to understand, and with the ability to bring us all down.

So, while I was suprised at how long it took to address the problem, I was happy there was at least some momentum.  I was also disappointed to see that the Republicans are unwilling to back even the most essential reforms.  These are nasty political times, with the Right Wing so angry I doubt they would agree to anything Democrats might advocate.  I suspect that if Obama introduced legislation “to allow every American the right to breathe” the Republicans would find a reason to fight it.  

But it is equally disturbing to see how quickly the Democrat’s ethics disappear when money starts to flow, as the big banks try to buy their way out of this scrutiny.  In 2010 the securities and financial sector has dumped $5.3 million into the coffers of Senate Democrats – three times the amount donated to Republicans. Senator Chuck Schumer has received $1.4 million, Senator Kristin Gillibrand $630,000, and Harry Reid $530,000.  Banks and Democrats would seem to make odd friends, but soul-less corporations have no real political affiliation – they will support any person or group that advances their goal of profitability; like parasites that have found a way to feed their prey so they can continue to gorge themselves.

Perhaps this points out the reform that is most needed in this country – campaign reform.  As long as we have a political structure built on incredibly expensive elections that force candidates to spend their time begging for donations, and allows major corporations the same status as individuals, we will continue to suffer a system that is filled with undue influence and corruption brought on by big business.

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