Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Goody, goody, we’re now set for 18 months of mindless posturing pretending to be a political debate. The Republican challengers launched the festivities with their pre-New Hampshire reality series complete with ‘this or that’ questions like, [Do you prefer] Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash? Not one presidential contender drove a truck through the huge opportunity to briefly impersonate an adult and say, ‘That question is silly and beneath the dignity of the office to which I aspire’.

Not that one of these bozo bipeds couldn’t end up in the Oval Office. The excessive confidence of the Obamaoids is fading in inverse proportion to the stickily high unemployment figures and Obama’s caving to the banksters in March of 2009 is now proving deadly just as dissidents warned at the time. Instead of taking the historic opportunity to pull the financier-rentier class back in line and subordinate it to the working economy, Obama and his A-team of enablers (Geithner, Summers and the rest) handed them the store in exchange for promises to bring back productive employment. That hasn’t worked out.

So now we have the prime-time spectacle of demented goofballs like Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann actually saying true things, like broken clocks that are correct twice a day. When Obama makes happy-talk by calling employment problems a mere ‘bump in the road’, Mitt (the Hair) Romney can score easy points with his ad of depressed workers taking issue with that rather heartless statement. By refusing to place blame on the perpetrators of economic catastrophe with his disastrous let’s-hold-hands-and-sing bipartisan fantasy, Obama now has to shoulder sole responsibility for the current state of affairs.

A large portion of the finance/economy blogosphere, which I enjoy reading as a curious consumer, has been on Obama’s ass for his entire term for excessive optimism, dissembling and delight in the cozy confines of the banksters’ back pockets. As Yves Smith lays out today in a full airing in her blog Naked Capitalism,

‘Obama’s repudiation of his campaign promise of change, by turning his back on meaningful reform of the financial services industry, in turn locked his Administration into . . . working fist in glove with the banksters, supporting and amplifying their own, well established propaganda efforts.

‘Thus Obama’s incentives are to come up with “solutions” that paper over problems, avoid meaningful conflict with the industry, minimize complaints, and restore the old practice of using leverage and investment gains to cover up stagnation in worker incomes. Potemkin reforms dovetail with the financial service industry’s goal of forestalling any measures that would interfere with its looting. So the only problem with this picture was how to fool the now-impoverished public into thinking a program of Mussolini-style corporatism represented progress’.

The depressing part of the story is that Smith is quoting herself, having written that in March of 2010, and the takeover of our productive economy by the cash-extraction industry has only gotten worse in the year since. Despite the wall of liquidity being thrown at the TBTF banks, lending is sluggish, small businesses (the ones that create most employment) are squeezed and the underlying balance sheets remain dangerously shaky.

If a major new upheaval occurs, which is likely with the Europeans’ problems and the still-untapped sewer of legal fraud lying beneath the nation’s foreclosure industry, the bank behemoths will be back at the government warehouse demanding more.

Based on past performance, Obama would respond to a new Wall Street crisis by giving the banks everything they ask and then politely inquiring if they feel better now, thereby providing a new opportunity for corporate shills like Romney, Bachmann and Pawlenty to charge forward as defenders of the little guy.

These are the unsavory choices provided by our creaky democracy today.

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