Heads, I Win. Tails, You Lose
“The Hampton’s are a low lying beach. It’s not a defensible position.” – Economist Mark Blyth
The passage of H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is controversial at the least and criminal in its reality. Let’s look at how the Congress and this president has made the previous thievery of the Treasury by the W. and Obama administrations look quaint.
Again, instead of writing a bill that would simply and only help workers and small business, both houses of Congress and both parties got this through for their d(owners). While stalwarts of the Progressive Caucus, like AOC and Ilhan Omar railed against the bill as a “a robbery,” they voted for it as cheerleaders. It passed the Senate, whose votes included Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren by 96-0.
Sanders did what he does best, “leading fights” which are always losers, later to shrug his shoulders, saying he tried. He’s a liar and has been since 1990. The time to try was not the day before recess. The time was the week or so before when the bill was still being hammered out. He could have gotten some people like Warren, Ro Khanna, the Fraud Squad, or Thomas Massie and fight for two separate bills; one for workers and small business and the other for corporations. How would it look to vote on a Corporate only bailout? Exactly.
Meanwhile, there’s nothing for student loan forgiveness (college was free when I went), Medicare for all or a UBI. Bernie Grandstand said nothing and neither did AOC, except complain that it was crumbs to the American people. They had the president and his merry thieves over a barrel! Student loan forgiveness is roughly $1.2 trillion, approximately one day of the current bank bailouts.
Meh…what should I expect? Bernie campaigned for Clinton in 1992 and 1996, after NAFTA and the Crime Bill. But he’ll say he “led the fight.”
However, Schumer, McConnell, Pelosi and company understand that a separate bill to bail out banks would have been met with pitchforks and possible Mussolini style piñata parties… As it is, the bill flew through the Senate.
The over $4 trillion bailout was made to banks and corporations with a pittance of “oversight.” Small businesses may participate in $300 billion and workers are to get a “means tested check” which means we can expect riots and looting when worker funds have run out before checks arrive. The Kafkaesque Small Business Administration means the government bureaucracy runs its course to “help” small business, while the banks receive overnight deposits with the push of a button. Hospitals get a whole $150 billion! Gee!
As David Dayen wrote in the American Prospect, “The monopolists get concierge service, the small businesses get to take a number. And the result will almost certainly be massive concentration of power.”
This must make any sane person, regardless of their politics, religion, or party angry. As we have seen, there are no capitalists in fox holes; everyone has their hand out for a check and small wonder. In the last 4 decades, we have seen jobs evaporate. Half of all U.S. workers make under $30,000 a year and 63% of Americans don’t have $500 in savings for an actual emergency. Most folks got socialist real quick when it was their ass in the pan. That’s human nature, isn’t it? Zero empathy until it happens to you. Kind of like a Bible story, if I had a dog in that fight.
Therefore, the so called liberal and so called conservative are neo elitist assholes. The Sean Hannitys and Rachel Maddows of the world think food is grown in supermarkets, as Matt Stoller says. This class of people have utter contempt for their lessors. It’s beginning to show. People are getting angry.
While Bernie preens that he fought for shit in a bill that was already in there, the 1,000 richest Americans just got a credit card to go on a buying spree of distressed assets on the back of the taxpayer. It’s disgusting.
To sum up and why a new movement is coming, like it or not, let’s take banking and Wall St. In 1999, the colossally stupid, arrogant and incompetent multi-fecta of Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton and a host of nincompoops (including Joe Biden and Newt Gingrich) decided that the landmark legislation of Glass-Steagall (1933) was outdated and so these laws were unnecessary because human nature changed? Free markets would, do what exactly?
Flash forward to 2008. After nearly a decade of credit defaults swaps, a diseased housing bubble with insurance companies and banks allowed to co-mingle public deposits and their own funds to recklessly gamble it all, crashed. The initial trillion plus bailout was used to pay dividends, stock buybacks and executive bonuses. Loans were not made to small business, jobs were lost, and 5.1 million families were kicked out of their homes and the banks got to keep the houses to resell, reaping even more profits.
Without oversight, what followed in the last twelve years was this; $26 trillion loaned to the banks at zero interest to then be loaned back to us at rates of 2-35%. $85-90 billion a year in additional subsidies with no oversight, and not one person indicted much less jailed. This is only one industry. Then there’s energy, pharma, insurance, defense, agriculture…it’s a long list. Capitalism for us peasants, socialism for those who pay for campaigns.
It comes down to this, we require a movement, not a two hour permit to hold a stick because a Scandinavian teenager asks, “How dare you?” or pussy hat wearing toddlers are mad that their prom queen wasn’t chosen.
This is how bad it is; we have Trump. Our 2020 “choices” will be Finger Biden or Agent Orange. We require a serious, protracted, bloody revolt. We require a Nixon moment, when after the D.C. transit system had surrounded the White House with buses and the National Guard was called to handle protesters, Nixon turned to Henry Kissinger and said, “Henry, they’re going to get us!”
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand started WWI. This bill could have the same result. Sleep tight.