Sympathy For The Devil

After all the poor bankers have been through, they can’t even go to Chicago for their annual conference and enjoy their Roaring 20s cocktail party without having to contend with a bunch of protestors.

What do these protestors want, for Pete’s sake?
It wasn’t like the bankers were partying and playing golf the whole time. A hundred of the more than 1,500 in attendance took time off to help fix up a house they had foreclosed on.

The Great Tsunami of 2010

A tsunami – a tidal wave of devastating proportions –begins with a catastrophic event that is often thousands of miles distant. While attention is rooted on the event itself – say, an earthquake – the wave is submerged in the deep ocean so that the surface is barely disturbed… until the tsunami reaches shallower coastal waters. As the ocean bottom rises, the wave becomes visible, then towering, until it comes ashore and obliterates everything in its path.

I believe a political tsunami of vast proportions is heading towards Washington, D.C. You wouldn’t know it from its inhabitants, who seem to be unaware of what is coming their way. But unless they wake up and take action to redirect the energy of the approaching wave, we’re going to see a cataclysmic change in Washington next year.

From Watchdog to Pussycat

Though President Obama and the Democrats promise a fierce financial watchdog, what they’re delivering looks like a pretty tame pussycat.

There’s a disconnect between the Democrats’ tough rhetoric about the need for financial reform and the legislation that’s actually making its way through Congress.

Heads I Can Borrow, Tails You Can’t

One year and trillions of dollars later, the amount of money banks and credit card companies are lending to consumers is shrinking, while big corporations and Wall Street are awash in dough – our dough.

A different kind of bailout

What a striking contrast between the urgency and dramatic action the government mobilized to meet Wall Street’s financial crisis last year and the continuing hand-wringing, half-measures and wishful thinking that have greeted the dire continuing financial crisis on Main Street.

Congress’s Credit Card “Reform” Left Consumers Unprotected

Last May, members of Congress and many consumer advocates were hailing the new credit card reform law as a great boon for consumers.

I didn’t share the exuberance, as I wrote at the time. 

Six months later, it’s clear that Congress rolled over for the financial industry on key points.

The new law doesn’t address the most serious abuses of the greed-driven credit card companies – there’s no cap on interest rates, for example.

Worse, it opened up a loophole that let the pigs run wild for another nine months: Congress wrote the bill so that it takes effect next year but left Americans defenseless to all sorts of shenanigans by the credit card companies until then.

Never-Ending Bailout is Not a Partisan Issue

It would be hard to find two congressmen more politically opposite than Brad Sherman and Jeb Hensarling.

Sherman is solid Democrat from the San Fernando Valley in southern California. Hensarling is a red-meat Texas conservative protege of former senator Phil Gramm.

Sherman and Hensarling may not agree about anything else.

But the two men have been outspoken in one shared view: that the bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP has lacked accountability or transparency from day one.