Why Do Political Elites All Hate Democracy?

political magic

Heather Gautney: We need to start pressing for things that our politicians did NOT discuss at the conventions. Real solutions–like universal education, debt forgiveness, wealth redistribution, and participatory political structures—that would empower us to decide together what’s best. Not who’s best.

Can Obama Stop Casino Capitalism?

obama biden

Shamus Cooke: The banking oligarchy is so intertwined with the political and economic establishment that real regulatory change cannot happen until the system itself is transformed from below, by a powerful social movement. Pleading to politicians to fix so-called Casino Capitalism is increasingly naive.

An Offer to the President

Photo: White House Photographer Pete Souza

Robert Reich: So here’s the deal: We’ll reelect you. We’ll stand behind you. We’ll give you a mandate to do all this – and more – in your second term. As long as you stand behind us.

Obama’s Regulatory Brain

banking regulations

Robert Reich: The most important thing to know about the 1,500 page financial reform bill passed by the Senate last week — now on the way to being reconciled with the House bill — is that it’s regulatory. It does nothing to change the structure of Wall Street.

Lincoln to the Rescue

Paul Volcker, Blanche Lincoln

Robert Reich: Blanche Lincoln wants to force the banks to put their derivatives into separate entities that aren’t subsidized by you and me. This is just common sense. Her move would also end the big banks’ monopoly over derivatives, thereby reducing their risk to the financial system. It would also cut dramatically into the big banks’ profits.

Break Up the Banks

Stimulus

Robert Reich: As long as the big banks are allowed to remain big, their political leverage over Washington will remain big. And as long as their political leverage remains big, the taxpayer and economic tab for the next mess they create will be big. By all means, give regulators resolution authority and also impose the tightest regulations possible. But Congress and the White House shouldn’t stop there. Limits should be placed on how big big banks can become.

Greenspan, Summers, and Why the Economy Is So Out of Whack

Alan Greenspan

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.

Obama Finally Gets Tough on Wall Street

Wall Street Bailout

Robert Reich: But suddenly the winds are blowing in a different direction over the Potomac. The 2010 midterms are getting closer, and the Dems are scared. Their polls are plummeting. The upsurge in mad-as-hell populism requires that Democrats become indignant on behalf of Americans, and indignation is meaningless without a target. They can’t target big government because Republicans do that one better, especially when they’re out of power. So what’s the alternative? Wall Street.