Frank Rich on Favorite LSW Topic – The Inability of the U.S. to Maintain a Democracy So Long Money is in Politics

LSW has long maintained that there will never be any substantial change in the U.S., in the sense of any sort of improvement or progress for the vast majority of people living with the continental 48 and Hawaii and Alaska until money is removed from the U.S. political system (and living conditions will no doubt continue to fall for everyone other than the top 1% who will continue to engorge themselves).

Frank Rich has written a column, “Still the Best Congress Money Can Buy” in which he details some of the players and mechanics within the rotten U.S. political system.

LSW recommends that the interested reader read the column but here are some of the notable points:

  • While the Fed’s recent growth predicitons allow for only anemic economic growth which will not bring down unemployment at the same time that corporate profits hit a record high with no likelihood that these profits will result in increased jobs or increased salaries outside of executive suites where where a return to 2007 conspicuous consumption has returned. Any notion that the government may step in to regulate this, what amounts to theft (LSW words), is of course slight and with the new Republicans and assorted Tea Bags coming into Congress, non-existent. (LSW adds the notion of Tea Bags here)
  • Rich notes  a definitive article titled “Who Needs Wall Street?” by John Cassidy in the New Yorker, where the notion that the financial srvices industry assists in economic growth is questioned and perhaps put to rest. Rich writes:

    “The sector still rakes in more than a fourth of American business profits, up from a seventh 25 years ago. And what is its contribution to America in exchange for this quarter-century of ever-more over-the-top rewards? “During a period in which American companies have created iPhones, Home Depot and Lipitor,” Cassidy writes, the industry reaping the highest profits and compensation is one that “doesn’t design, build or sell a tangible thing.””

  • Rich notes that 92 per cent of the respondents to a recent CBS News poll favor full disclosure of campaign disclosures,

“But they will not get their wish anytime soon. “I don’t think we can put the genie back in the bottle,” said David Axelrod as the Democrats prepared to play catch-up to the G.O.P.’s 2010 mastery of outside groups and clandestine corporate corporations.”

Rich then focuses on the role of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

“Bloomberg News reported after Election Day that the United States Chamber of Commerce’s anti-Democratic war chest included a mind-boggling $86 million contribution from the insurance lobby to fight the health care bill. The Times has identified other big chamber donors as Prudential Financial, Goldman Sachs and Chevron. These are hardly the small businesses that the chamber’s G.O.P. allies claim to be championing.”

Some democracy LSW thinks.

  • Now, regarding the purported ‘good guys’ (ironically labelled for those who still may maintain illusions of a two party democracy in the 48 continental plus two*) Rich levels his sites on the Democrats:

    ” In a reportorial coup before Election Day, the investigative news organization ProPublica wrote of the similarly behind-closed-doors activities of the New Democrat Coalition — “a group of 69 lawmakers whose close relationship with several hundred Washington lobbyists” makes them “one of the most successful political money machines” since DeLay’s K Street Project collapsed in 2007. During the Congressional battle over financial-services reform last May, coalition members repaired to a retreat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to frolic with lobbyists dedicated to weakening the legislation.

    Such is the ethos in his own party that Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, complained this month that he “couldn’t even get a vote” for his proposal for a one-time windfall profits tax on Wall Street bonuses. Republicans “obviously weren’t going to vote for it,” he told Real Clear Politics, but Democrats also demurred, “saying that any vote like that was going to screw up fund-raising.””

    The ProPublica article is worth reading. See also LSW post

  • LSW sends Frank Rich thanks for this and other columns and finishes this post with the column’s last paragraph (by all means, read the entire column):

    “America needs a rally — or, better still, a leader or two or three — to restore not just honor or sanity to its citizens but governance that’s not auctioned off to the highest bidder. When it was reported just days before our election that Iran was protecting its political interests in Afghanistan’s presidential palace by giving bags of money to Hamid Karzai’s closest aide, Americans could hardly bring themselves to be outraged. At least with Karzai’s government, unlike our own, we could know for certain whose cash was in the bag.”

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