Stop the GOP Assault on the U.S. Economic Future

The GOP is assaulting the U.S. economic future along with women in general, Hispanics, civil liberties, education, and anything else the Koch Brothers might feel could interfere with their desire to own America. It’s time for the American electorate to stop listening to television “news organizations” that are more interested in stirring emotions and ratings than providing objective and meaningful analysis.  The GOP would rather you spend your time watching to see which amateur songbird can “win” a singing competition than learn the real reasons we are in a protracted economic downturn. Perhaps the public would be better served by local offerings like another “Wheel of Fortune” instead of the network broadcast of the evening “news” half hour. The “Evening News” is dead. RIP.

The few objective print and digital media remaining are the only honest sources that will tell you the truth about why we are in a protracted economic downturn.

For Those Who ARE Interested In How and Why We’re Here

Thirty years ago, politicians began systematically dismantling the laws that have protected the public since being enacted after the Great Depression. The U.S. Republican Party, who elected large numbers in 2010, were ostensibly elected to address economic policies and get our economy revved up, but instead has focused solely on social policies while obstructing every single bill put forth by Democrats to deal with the stubborn, fragile economic recovery. Adding fuel to the fire, Republican presumptive nominee Willard Mitt Romney, has not laid out one single detail as to how he would deal with the recovery other than picking a stray agency here or there like Planned Parenthood, The Public Broadcasting System, or the Commerce Department to use as a dog whistle.

Darling of the Right, and possible running mate for Romney, Paul Ryan, has published two very similar budget proposals that have easily passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives that gut virtually every discretionary expenditure other than ones that provide subsidies to industries which do not need them but coincidentally provide big donor dollars to the GOP.

At the very time that we should be more aware, more enlightened, and better educated with more objective information at our fingertips than ever before, we resort to listening to modern-day “town criers” who serve at the whim of the corporate kings and televised information spoon-feeders.

Here is what you need to know.

Major Protections From The Great Depression Era Repealed Over the Last 30 Years

See if you can remember the reasons or consequences of the major economic collapses in just this generation.

1)  The Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982: De-Regulated Savings & Loan Institutions and allowed them to provide Adjustable Rate Mortgages for home loans and lowered value-to-debt ratios. Essentially, this bill ended New Deal protections for consumers on mortgage lending. Ronald Reagan quoted upon signing: “This bill is the most important legislation for financial institutions in the last 50 years.”

Result:

  • By 1983– 35% of the country’s S&L’s were unprofitable, and 9% were technically bankrupt.
  • By 1989, Congress and the president had to bail out the industry with a taxpayer-financed bailout measure known as the FIRREA providing $50 billion to close failed banks and stop further losses; eventual total collapse of S&L Industry. All in all, Reagan’s “jack-pot” cost the taxpayers of the U.S. approx. $150 billion back when that was a lot of money.

2)  Wendy Gramm- of The Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief in the Reagan administration, chairwoman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 1988 until 1993, wife of Senator Phil Gramm(R), Texasapplied for and was subsequently granted government exemption for energy commodities from government or public disclosure.

This closed energy commodities accountability from government and public disclosure requirements, despite being Publicly Traded Companies whose shareholders and potential investors deserved to have that information.

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Result:

  • The Enron Scandal(An American Energy Corporation)
  • Wendy Gramm was paid over $2 million, never convicted, while ENRON donated more than $97k to Phil Gramm campaigns during the time his wife served as Enron Board Member ALL while serving as Chairwoman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission for Ronald Reagan
  • $70 billion loss to investors from embezzled funds, misappropriated trust funds, pension plans and retirement plans of 22,000 employees. Arthur Anderson, a Big-5 accounting firm was forced into bankruptcy due to malfeasance of behalf of ENRON
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was enacted to re-institute proper accounting procedures and transparency for Publicly Traded companies-Repealed by Jobs Act in 2012!
  • 3)  Gramm Bliley Leach Act of 1999(Also known as Financial Services Modernization Act) Sponsored by Senator Phil Gramm(R) Texas-Repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and allowed commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, and insurance companies to consolidate. Granted exemption to private insurance companies for insuring Publicly Traded Investment Banks. AIG insured $50 for every $1 it was actually able to pay in the event of defaults by customers of Investment Banks.

*Note: Glass-Steagall Act(separated Commercial Banks which catered to businesses with low-risk, low-return earnings on operating capital from Investment Banks, which catered to investors who wanted more aggressive returns which meant higher risks)

Result:

  • Real Estate collapse of 2008 and Investment Bank collapse of 2008, bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Investment Bank and AIG(American International Group); government bailout of $750 billion and the beginning of The Great Recession.

4) Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000–Repealed the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936. Investment Banks, Hedge Funds, and Pension Funds were once again allowed to use depositor money to buy and sell commodities based on pure speculation without oversight. Financial institutions today own 61% of all investments in wheat, oil, and maize and can raise or lower prices through pure speculation and ignore actual supply vs demand.

Result:

  • Price Spiking and Price Bubbles, are caused by speculation without the institutions ever having to actually buy the contracts or receive the products in order to effect the prices.

YES, THOSE ARE THE DREADED “REGULATIONS” THAT THE GOP RAILS ABOUT BEING JOB-KILLERS

The public no longer has the luxury of simply going about their daily business and hoping that everything will work out.

It won’t. We have to stop the GOP assault on laws enacted to protect the vast majority of Americans BEFORE The Great Recession becomes the Great Depression 2.0!!

Stop them. Stop them now.

 

Harvey Gold

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