Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The anti-New Deal, pro-Wall Street Democratic Establishment is working hard to keep Americans in debt. Doesn't matter, we'll vote for them anyway.

Above: President Franklin Roosevelt and his fellow New Deal policymakers proposed or implemented policies that today's anti-New Deal, pro-Wall Street Democratic Establishment won't touch, for example, debt forgiveness; a steeply progressive tax on the wealthy; jobs for the unemployed to improve America's infrastructure; reining in Wall Street fraud with significant reforms; and the right to have a decent-paying job, a good education, and adequate medical care. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Super Tuesday

Bernie Sanders won a few states yesterday, but Wall Street showed its dominance. Here's the latest tally:

Wall Street: 554 delegates

Bernie Sanders: 291 delegates

The Democratic Party is working hard to keep Americans in debt (mainly, because it lines their pockets)

On the same day that Democratic voters expressed their approval of the Democratic Establishment (Clinton & Wall Street), we learned some very interesting things about how the Democratic Establishment is working hard to keep Americans under crushing debt.

Clinton's nonsense on student loan debt:

Hillary wrote a piece on the Huffington Post yesterday, bemoaning the heavy student loan debt that Americans face. Her solutions, however, are weak. She proposes that students be allowed to refinance their loans at lower interest rates, expand access to income-based repayment plans, and allow loan forgiveness for people participating in programs like Americorps. She doesn't give many details (as usual, so she's not actually committed to doing anything once she's in office) so it's hard to critique her proposals. For example, some aspects of these plans already exist. If you work for a non-profit, you can have your (federal) student loan balance forgiven after ten years. Is she proposing to alter this? Who knows, she doesn't tell us.

What's more telling is what Clinton omits: Bankruptcy, across-the-board debt forgiveness, and free (or very low cost) public college. Bankruptcy should include student loan debt, but it doesn't. And we know that Clinton once voted to make bankruptcy more difficult for struggling Americans - so, it's no surprise that she doesn't want people crushed by student loan debt to get a fresh start through (what used to be) the traditional route of personal bankruptcy. And she doesn't like across-the-board debt forgiveness and free public college either, because that might require higher taxes on Wall Street and the super-wealthy - they very people who support her political campaigns and her personal multi-million dollar wealth.    

Clinton's piece shows that she will govern the same way that Obama has - with weak policies designed to please her Wall Street backers. After all, both the Democratic Establishment and Wall Street profit from the misery of others (debt, perpetual war, stagnant wages, etc.), so why make any significant changes?

The Obama Administration misled the public on student loan fraud:

We also learned yesterday that the Obama Administration misled the public about the extent of student loan fraud, and the cheating of U.S. soldiers. This is no surprise of course, since Obama has, throughout his entire presidency, refused to pursue white collar criminals, and thus created an atmosphere of permissiveness. This is part of the reason why many voters have no problem with white collar criminals supporting Hillary Clinton. White collar crooks have not been aggressively prosecuted (getting off with fines instead), and so it probably seems to many voters that the problem isn't that serious. (But, to my way of thinking, mortgage & securities fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and manipulating the world's currency are very serious.)

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said this, in regard to President Obama's Department of Education and its deception: "Today’s report is a stunning indictment of the Department of Education's oversight of student loan servicers, exposing the extraordinary lengths to which the department will go to protect these companies when they break the law."

Also see: "Are banks too big to jail? PBS Frontline's stunning report shows how the Obama administration undermined the rule of law," Salon, January 23, 2013

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, supports loan sharks:

We also learned yesterday that the chair of the DNC is working to protect predatory payday lenders - the people who loan money to low-income people and charge interest rates in excess of 100%. When the chair of the DNC is protecting loan sharks, you know something is seriously, seriously messed up with the Democratic Party. Perhaps this is part of the reason why Tulsi Gabbard stepped down from her vice chairmanship of the DNC to support Sanders.

Above: Were Americans of the 1930s more aware of who was oppressing them, and more aware of economic problems, than Americans today? In this photo, strikers who had frequently been victimized by company thugs, battle the police in Minneapolis, 1934. The strikers wanted better pay, shorter working hours, and recognition of their union. Their opponents, wealthy residents and the political right, wanted them to be quiet and work for low wages. The police, supporting the wealthy, opened fire on the strikers, killing two and wounding at least 65. Many of those wounded were shot in the back. For more information, see here. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Bernie Sanders and the inability of voters to correctly diagnose economic problems

When Dr. Richard Wolff (University of Massachusetts) interviewed scholars Richard Walker and Gray Brechin of the Living New Deal, in June 2015, he asked: "Would you agree to this or not: In the 1930s Americans were able, in a bad economic situation, to recognize that an active interventionist government was a major thing for them to hope for, and to place their confidence in. Whereas today, whatever the causes of it are, we have a population that just doesn't believe that, and therefore doesn't know quite what to do. Clearly the banks are playing with us, being as polite about it as we can, but no one knows where to go, because the notion of empowering the government to fix this thing is a nonstarter, at least so far. Do you agree with that, or is there something you would say that is different than that?" Walker and Brechin agreed, pointing out as reasons, things like the misuse of taxpayer dollars, and the fact that the financial powers-that-be were not held responsible during the most recent recession the same way they were held responsible in the 1930s - which relates to my point above, about the Obama Administration creating an atmosphere of permissiveness with respect to white collar crime.

I agree with Wolff's implication: It seems that Americans today cannot correctly diagnose the nation's problems; but our elders and ancestors in the 1930s could. So, today, when Americans see a candidate like Bernie Sanders, who refuses to accept campaign money derived from Wall Street fraud and white collar crime (choosing instead to base his campaign on small donations from the middle-class and poor) it doesn't add up to them, it doesn't mean anything to them; perhaps, in part, because President Obama has downplayed white collar crime so much that it doesn't actually seem like a problem. In other words, fraud and white collar crime have been normalized. 

To put it another way: In the 1930s, Ferdinand Pecora raked Wall Street fraudsters across the coals, opening the door to major Wall Street reforms. The public saw what was going on and said, "fix this!" Obama, on the other hand, chose to take a soft-on-crime approach, thereby downplaying the problem and, possibly, anesthetizing the public to financial fraud.

Above: Hillary Clinton and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Over the years, Goldman Sachs has given millions to Clinton (political contributions and speech money). Clinton has refused to release the transcripts of what she said during those speeches. But millions of Americans don't care, eagerly giving her a free pass and voting for her anyway. Reuters photo, used here for educational and non-commercial purposes.

Headlines pertaining to one of Hillary Clinton's major backers, Goldman Sachs

"Goldman Sachs in $5.1 billion toxic mortgage settlement," CNN Money, January 14, 2016

"Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will pay $272 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed the Wall Street bank defrauded investors," ReutersNBC News, August 13, 2015

"Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley have agreed to hand over details to U.S. authorities about how they may have helped Americans to evade taxes," Reuters, April 29, 2014

"Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $550 million to settle federal claims that it misled investors in a subprime mortgage product as the housing market began to collapse," New York Times, July 15, 2010

"Goldman Sachs’s latest financial report shows that the company avoided paying federal income taxes on almost half its United States profits in 2014," Citizens for Tax Justice, February 25, 2015

"Goldman Sachs Group is looking to reach a $129.5m settlement with private investors over its alleged role in the manipulation of foreign exchange rates," International Business Times, May 9, 2015

"Goldman Sachs... acknowledged Tuesday it is under investigation for possible manipulation of the $13 trillion US Treasurys market," New York Post, November 3, 2015

"In a voluminous new report reflecting two years of research, an influential Senate panel accuses Goldman Sachs of manipulating aluminum storage rules in order to line its own pockets, even as manufacturers and customers suffered," CNBC, November 19, 2014

"Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will pay a combined $557 million to settle federal complaints that they wrongfully foreclosed on homeowners who should have been allowed to stay in their homes," CBS News, January 16, 2013

"A Bad Omen When Goldman Sachs' Compliance Staff Is Charged With Insider Trading," Forbes, November 25, 2015

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