The politics of brinkmanship has thrown up another victory for the Republicans. If only the Democrats could grow a pair of balls. Elizabeth Warren has a pair, as anatomically strange as that sounds. If only her colleagues could join her in this.
If you haven’t been following the news, you may not know that on Thursday the House voted on a $1.014 trillion budget bill to keep most of the Federal government funded through next October. It passed the House 219-206, and then moved on to the Senate, where it passed 56-40 in a rare Saturday vote. President Obama is expected to sign the bill. As part of the bill, the House included provision significantly weakens new regulations that require banks to set up separate affiliates to deal in the more exotic and riskier forms of complex financial instruments known as credit default swaps. Bringing swaps trading back into the banks would expose taxpayers to greater risk of a repeat of the 2008 bank bail out.
You got that folks?
They’re bringing back credit default swaps!
Never mind that the Congress has never really fully funded the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was the Congressional response to the 2008 banking meltdown. Never mind that to date, after bringing our economy to its knees all by themselves, not a single banker has seen the inside of a prison cell because of their contribution to the meltdown. Oh yeah, except for Kareem Serageldin, the unfortunate Credit Suisse banker who had approved the concealment of hundreds of millions in losses in the mortgage-backed securities portfolio. But he barely counts.
You know who should be in jail? Jamie Dimon, the JPMorgan Chase CEO who, according to reports, was making direct calls to House members lobbying for the repeal of these sensible regulations. And Michael Corbatt, the Citigroup CEO who authored the amendment that was slipped in. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house!
As if this handout to the banks wasn’t bad enough, the 1600 page budget bill apparently also increase from $100,000 to $800,000 the maximum amount that a single person can contribute to a political party in one year. That will give more clout to Jamie Dimon and Michael Corbatt, as if they need it.
The Teaparty Republicans, for their part, are complaining that Boehner didn’t do more to stop Obama’s “illegal” actions on immigration.
So the question is, when are the Democrats going to grow a pair of balls? If they can’t stand up to the Republicans now, how are they going to stand up to them once the Republicans have both branches of the Congress? If we need to shut the government down because the Republicans are being completely unreasonable, then shut the government down. What difference does it make? At some point the “average” American will actually be impacted by a government shutdown, and will realize that the politics of brinkmanship is not really the way to go. But in the meantime the Democrats have to stand for something. If they can’t stand up for the Dodd-Frank reforms, what can they stand up for?
By the way, if you’d like to be in touch with Jamie Dimon and Michael Corbatt at Citigroup, you can reach each of them respectively at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. You might want to send them a love note, as I did this morning.