For thirty years or thereabouts, those in Washington – no matter the party – have completely rolled over the supposed evils of FDR’s New Deal. “DEREGULATE!” Was the war cry of American corporations as they sensed the will of those who had helped form those FDR protections against these economic royalists begin to slacken. To make that cry more appealing lobbyists, already a bane on the nation’s capital, swept in with silk suits and fat silk purses full of campaign contributions, beginning in the 1970s.
In the last few months, and especially this last week, the tsunami about which that some of us have raised the alarm finally arrived. It would be wonderful to sit back and say, “told ya so” if it weren’t for the fact that once again the only people hurt by this are – here’s a shocker – you and I. Those who caused this financial earthquake have either already walked away from it or are walking away right now – right to their Gulf Streams waiting for them at private airports, and right off to their private isles, where they’ll ride out the storm, wait until after the new year and then come back home to – one way or the other – carry on as usual.
Let’s take a quick stroll through the wonderful history of deregulation. The specifics we’ll leave to you to go look up. Trust me, its all there for those who wish to see…
The oil companies screamed for deregulation in the late 70’s. With deregulation they would be free to “reinvest in America’s energy infrastructure and make us independent of foreign influence.”
Since 1979 there has not been one new oil refinery built in this country. The oil companies will tell you its because of tough environmental rules that make it too expensive to build those refineries. Everyone who believes that old hag of a shibboleth please step forward.
The power industry. “Deregulate us so we can invest in the power infrastructure of America!” Each winter and summer for decades we have watched the now deregulated power behemoths struggle to keep the electricity flowing across antiquated power grids. We’ve watched them fuss and argue that if they’d only be allowed to build coal fired generation plants, like those that turn China’s skies black with pollution – pollution so staggering in its quantity mind you, that it actually registers in the air of the Western United States – if we’d just let them do this all would be fine… The fine here, in their minds, means “fine particulate matter that clogs the lungs.
The airline industry…. Enough said…
Then we come to the world of finance (and I include banking, savings and loans, etc., in this) and the brilliant, greed-induced repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. Who pushed this through? Why Mr. McCain’s genius economic advisor – Phil Gramm. This repeal, back in ‘99, followed on the heels of another smaller melt-down (though it didn’t seem so at the time). The Savings and Loan scandal of a decade earlier. And who was at the center of that? A swell group of “well meaning” and “innocent” senators dubbed the Keating Five. One of those five was a Senator from Arizona named McCain.
So, we have a man who was at the center of one of the largest melt-downs in US economic history now running for president, and he’s chosen as his economic advisor the man responsible in large part for you and me now taking on $1,000,000,000,000 in additional debt.
What we were told at the time of course was this: “deregulate the banking structure so that America can really lead the way in developing brilliant new ways to structure credit and debt financing!”
And why not? It is essentially the last thing America can export. All of our manufacturing jobs are gone – in part due to deregulation and of course NAFTA, one the of biggest and costliest deregulations of all time.
The only thing America has left to export are movies and TV shows. Our main manufacturing industry left in this country seems to be takeout pizza.
You won’t hear the cry for deregulation again any time soon. If Obama is elected, you will hear it sooner, rather than later. They’ll complain that he is stifling American business. If McCain is elected, you’ll hear very little complaint, as the players that caused this mess slip quietly back into New York and D.C. to resume their positions.
But let’s understand something here that FDR understood back then: regulation is another word for legally enforced restraint against unmitigated GREED. That really is ALL IT IS. Don’t listen to economists, who, at least as a sub-species are about as useful as a pack of hermaphroditic weasels. Economic theory is not even that. It is a utterly useless exercise in trying to paint essentially human activity (largely operated or NOT in a moral and ethical environment) in scientific terms.
The 800 lb., chick that is has now come home to crap all over our American nest is the offspring of GREED. That is ALL it is. Anyone who tries to tell you different is either an idiot or a con artist. Either way, they need a hard slap into the middle of next week.
The emperor is naked NOW. He’s ALWAYS been naked. WAKE UP.