Monday, March 17, 2014

New Deal Alphabet Soup vs. Corporate America's Alphabet Soup

The political right is fond of telling us that the New Deal was a failure, and that government should just "get the hell out of the way" and let Corporate America do whatever it wants, because, well, you know, they're the "JOB CREATORS."

So, I thought it would be interesting to compare the alphabet soup programs of the New Deal with the alphabet soup programs of Corporate America. Let's take a quick look at 5 programs from each.

The New Deal's Alphabet Soup:

1. TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority): 

Provided power to rural areas (and still does).

2. FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation): 

Protected the bank deposits of ordinary Americans (and still does).

3. WPA (Works Progress Administration): 

Offered job opportunities to millions of unemployed Americans and modernized our nation's infrastructure.

4. CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps): 

Offered job opportunities to young adult men and World War I veterans. These men developed hundreds of parks and planted 3 billion trees across the country, including many areas denuded by a timber industry run amok.

5. SSA (Social Security Administration): 

Provided protections against poverty (and still does).

Corporate America's Alphabet Soup:

1. WSA (Wage Suppression Authority): 

Makes certain that all profits go to the 1%, and that American workers see no positive change in their paychecks--even if worker productivity increases. (In other words, makes sure that hard work doesn't pay.)

2. MSFC (Mortgage & Securities Fraud Commission): 

Specializes in selling junk securities.

3. FSA (Foreclosing on Soldiers Administration): 

To honor their service, this administration looks for ways to foreclose on soldiers' homes.....while the soldiers are in combat zones.

4. MLD (Money-Laundering Division): 

This division of Corporate America "cleans up" profits from illegal drug sales.....usually with a wink, a nod, and an ever-so-slight grin.

5. JDC (Job Destruction Corps):

The mission of the Job Destruction Corps (JDC) is to destroy the American Dream. By demonizing unions, outsourcing jobs to foreign labor markets, discriminating against the long-term unemployed, and paying Congressmen and women to impose austerity on the middle-class and poor (while corporate executives rake in larger and larger bonuses) the JDC has proven to be one of the most successful alphabet soup programs of Corporate America. To illustrate how effective the JDC has been, consider that despite paying historically low effective tax rates, and amassing record profits, Corporate America isn't creating many good middle-class jobs. That's why 24 million Americans wish they had a full-time job but can't find one; why 3.8 million Americans are considered long-term unemployed; why there are three unemployed people for every job opening; and why the labor force participation rate is at a 35-year low.

So, which alphabet soup do you prefer? The New Deal's or Corporate America's?


Here are some fun headlines from the past few years:

"JPMorgan to pay $614 million in U.S. mortgage fraud case" (Reuters, February 4, 2014)

"Bank Of America Will Pay $20 Million For Illegal Foreclosures On Active-Duty Soldiers" (Business Insider, June 4, 2011)

"FDIC Sues 16 Big Banks For Rigging LIBOR Rates" (Huffington Post, March 14, 2014)

"Goldman Sachs Will Settle Fraud Case for $550 Million" (CNBC, July 15, 2010)

"Wachovia to settle drug-money laundering case" (Associated Press, March 17, 2010)

"Hedge Fund SAC Capital Admits To Insider Trading" (CBS, November 9, 2013)

"7 Stunning New Details About Walmart's Mexican Bribery Scandal" (Business Insider, December 18, 2012)

"BP Oil Refinery Waste Stored At Koch Brothers-Owned Site Polluting Nearby Chicago Neighborhoods" (Huffington Post, October 22, 2013)

"How Koch Industries Makes Billions Corrupting Government And Polluting For Free" (ThinkProgress, March 1, 2011)

(In the video above, Bartlett Naylor, former Chief of Investigations for the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, explains the role of big banks in the Libor interest rate-rigging scandal. At 4:25, Naylor states: "I think what this scandal shows is that Wall Street is making this money, it's overtaking our economy, any way it can...and that includes cheating.")

(In the video above, law professor William Black, a former federal regulator, explains rampant fraud in the modern financial world, and the failure of regulatory oversight.)

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