Wall Street’s Political Poison Still Catnip for Many Incumbents

Today’s quiz: At a time when California’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is losing ground to her Republican rival in the primary because of her ties to Wall Street, when Utah’s incumbent Senator Robert Bennett was just booted out by Republicans who are furious that he voted to bailout Wall Street, when New Jersey’s Jon Corzine lost his bid for reelection partly because he was formerly head of Goldman Sachs, when Connecticut’s Chris Dodd was so tarnished by his close ties to Wall Street that polls showed he had little chance of reelection — at a time, in other words, when Wall Street is political poison, why are politicians still so intent on doing its bidding?

Answer: Wall Street’s almost endless supply of money for upcoming campaigns.

Case in point: The measure in the banking bill that would force banks to push their derivative trading into separate units rather than rely on tax-payer subsidized insured deposits. For reasons I’ve already stated, the measure is common sensical.

Wall Street hates it because it would cost it billions.

robert_reich.jpgAlready New York Representative Michael McMahon says he’ll work to remove it from the bill. Yesterday, New York Representative Gary Ackerman, also a member of the finance committee, told his staff to circulate a draft letter yesterday to House members seeking their opposition to it.

Watch who signs Ackerman’s letter. Listen for the positions of members of the conference committee. Vote accordingly next fall.

by Robert Reich

This article first appeared on Robert Reich’s Blog. Republished with permission

Published by the LA Progressive on May 27, 2010
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About Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written eleven books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-sellers The Future of Success and Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His articles have appeared in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Mr. Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine.

Reich has been a member of the faculties of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and of Brandeis University. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.