Saturday :: Jan 24, 2009

Funding The Gravy Train

by Steve

For better or worse, despite howls of protest from free-market advocates who refuse to acknowledge that the government has been actively involved in picking winners and losers for decades, fixing our economy will require direct involvement from the federal government. Whether it be recapitalization from the Treasury and the Fed, or re-regulation and aggressive oversight from various agencies and Congress, Reaganomics has finally screwed up America so badly that a hands-off approach to the national economy and yes, markets, won’t cut it anymore if we want to avoid a depression.

But if we are about to enter a period of direct financial involvement by the federal government into corporations and sectors of our economy, doesn’t this also lay bare once and for all the need to move towards the direct public financing of congressional campaigns? Wall Street firms are now actively shaking down the Treasury and the Fed for cash under the TARP, refusing to report publicly what they did with the money they got from Main Street, and refuse to use the money for what it was intended. To keep the gravy train going, they employ teams of lobbyists from firms that use both former Democratic and GOP staffers to ensure that the money keeps coming under terms favorable to the industry. But in this new era, those lobbying activities are now directly tied to taxpayer money. Why should the taxpayers allow their money to fund their continued fleecing?

Oh sure, the corporatists will say that various cases heard at the SCOTUS have held that attempts to eliminate PAC democracy in Congress would constitute a suppression of freedom of speech. The ability of Wall Street and K Street to run the country through their checkbooks was allowed for decades when the government took care of them with indirect tax breaks, havens, disaster capitalism contracts, and other corporate welfare. However, the indirect now no longer applies: the federal government and those in Congress are now directly moving taxpayer money to the balance sheets of Corporate America. Shouldn’t the SCOTUS be forced to reevaluate the current graft, and the fiction that public financing was to be avoided at all costs?

Steve :: 8:55 AM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!