Joseph Palermo: The evidence is mounting that the 1 percent controls both of our major political parties. And now the corporate wing of the Democratic Party is getting pissy about the “tone” that its standard bearer is showing toward vulture capitalism?
Walter Moss: We can grant that capitalism can have many beneficial effects and that other systems like socialism can have their defects, nevertheless the essence of capitalism is the selling of goods and services and making a profit, and it has no higher moral goal. Essentially an economic system, it provides no adequate answers for how to deal with such problems as unsafe working conditions, unfair business practices, pollution and other environmental degradation, public health, slum housing, or the abuse of child labor. This absence of any higher comprehensive social philosophy led to efforts to supplement it by providing an overall philosophy of the public good. This absence led to Progressivism.
Joseph Palermo: He still wants to blame a “few bad apples,” instead of looking at his own role fanning the flames and pouring gasoline on the fire while the $8 trillion housing bubble was being pumped up. Greenspan said AIG’s problems were with insurance, but Born countered that if CDSs had been insurance they would have been regulated. Greenspan is bullshitting us again.
Robert Reich: If any three people are most responsible for the failure of financial regulation, they are Greenspan, Larry Summers, and my former colleague, Bob Rubin. In 1999 they advised Congress to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, which since 1933 had separated commercial from investment banking. By 1999, Wall Street was salivating over such a repeal because it wanted to create financial supermarkets that could use commercial deposits to place bets in the financial casino. That would yield the Street trillions.
If Obama and the Democrats lose one or both houses of Congress in the midterms, it will be because the president learned only the most superficial lesson of the Clinton years. Health-care reform is critically important. But when one out of six Americans is unemployed or underemployed, getting the nation back to work is more so.
The Congress, always in hock to Wall Street, is dragging its feet in passing anything near the sweeping regulatory restructuring that is needed if we are to prevent Goldman Sachs and the rest of the gang from exploiting their “moral hazard” by using the federal treasury as the mother of all “credit default swaps.”
It would be hard to get a new stimulus package through Congress, but no member who’s up for reelection next year when unemployment is likely to be in double digits wants to be accused by rivals of voting against steps to help small businesses, public schools, childrens’ health, and average working people who need a tax cut.