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Ear to the Ground

McCain Calls for End to Big Business Bailouts

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Posted on Sep 19, 2008
Gramm and McCain
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The way they were: Gramm, left, quit McCain’s campaign in July after his “mental recession” remark caused a ruckus.

And now, this latest dispatch from the U.S. Department of Unintentional Irony: Sen. John McCain spoke out against the Federal Reserve’s recent bids to give life support (read: gigantic amounts of money) to failing financial institutions. Isn’t he the same guy who has looked to Phil Gramm for economic advice?

Apparently, McCain is at least willing to entertain the possibility that the nation is facing an actual recession, not just the “mental” variety Gramm described in his now-famous “nation of whiners” remark.


AP via Huffington Post:

McCain made little mention of the massive proposal being crafted by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that could amount to a $1 trillion taxpayer bailout of the mortgage industry. McCain said simply that leaders should put aside partisan differences and “any action should be designed to keep people in their homes and safeguard the life savings of all Americans.”

[...] “A strong dollar will reduce energy and food prices,” McCain said to applause from the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce. “It will stimulate sustainable economic growth and get this economy moving again.”

The Arizona senator again criticized Democratic rival Barack Obama for ties to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and for advocating tax increases McCain said would “turn a recession into a depression.”

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By Sepharad, September 22, 2008 at 12:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rethought part of my earlier post. I’ll vote for Obama just to keep McCain/Palin out. I can’t invoke the various Almightys to smite the Republicans—long ago doomed myself to secular humanism so I don’t ask a God I don’t believe in for special favors. But no question, I envy believers. If I were one of them, I’d be intoning the old Russian Jewish prayer that “God keep the czar ... far away from us.”

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By moineau, September 21, 2008 at 1:19 am Link to this comment

this man will say ANYTHING to become president! he’s an unbelievably good liar. and as he promotes sarah palin and his mouthpieces yell fowl, those misogynist jokes of his just stick in my head like moldy sausages. i hate that man.

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By Catherine, September 21, 2008 at 12:46 am Link to this comment

Ashrof got it right, except for one thing.  McSame wants us to only remember that he was a POW forty years ago and to forget everything else about his past,  including his involvement with the Keating Five. 

http://www.britanniaradio.co.uk/?q=node/5810

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By lawlessone, September 20, 2008 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One of the primary reasons for our latest titanic financial disaster was deliberate and massive obfuscation. 

How can you regulate something if you can’t see what is going on?  How can even the active participants involved (buyers, sellers, borrowers, managers, investors) make an intelligent decision one way or the other if they don’t have access to critical facts?  Hell, how can even speculators adequately analyze risk versus reward without reliance that the data provided is not deceptive?  It becomes more akin to a pure gamble, a bet against house loaded dice, rather then a well considered investment.

The reckless greedy thieves in charge of our financial institutions prior to the 1980s Saving & Loan Industry debacle, the even more reckless and greedier thieves in charge of the late 1990s tech stock bubble and the most reckless, greediest conceivable thieves of all in charge for the past decade prevented that by doing everything possible to hide what they could and mislabel what they couldn’t. That strategy was combined with a condescending paternalism that they knew best; that we couldn’t possibly understand; and that anyone who even asked, let alone complained, was ignorant.  Together those thing set the stage setting for utter disaster.

The misdirection and slight-of-hand was rampant and pervasive.  If it had not been for the false labeling, even the village idiot, possibly even George Bush, could have recognized that you should not give a $400,000 house loan with no money down to someone out of a job and with rotten credit.  That was not how it was presented to the unsuspecting public.  And, the ponzi scheme worked, worked for the perpetrators anyway, right up to the point when it was too late because the debt had come due.

The blame cannot be wholly assigned to the criminals on Wall Street.  They had the nasty example of Congress and the White House who do the same obfuscation with the budget.  The national budget is not even close to being a real representation of the country’s income and expenses.  Social Security, war in Iraq funds, all kinds of other things are “off budget,” called other things, not to mention the voluminous set of special tax code provisions where benefits to campaign contributors and fellow travelers are hidden in obscure almost indeciperable clauses.  Politics as usual in Washington demonstrates that anything to help lie to the voter is okay and will not be punished or even closely scrutinized.  Politicians do it because if the voters actually knew how they were being ripped off and lied to might vote for someone else.  Something for nothing dominates the centers of power, especially since the Republicans ferreted out all beauracrats who still had a sense of honor and foolishly believed in honoring their oath of office.

Why wouldn’t we expect Wall Street to follow the same path?

How to finally prevent this sort of chicanery?  Obviously, lots more regulators and the staff and funding to let them do their job and the freedom to do so.  That is not enough though.  If there are no adverse consequences to those malfactors who lead us into this cesspool, it will assuredly happen again.  So, use the RICO laws regarding criminal conspiracy to seize their assets (the good assets as well as the worthless ones they want to stick the taxpayers with).  In fact, use the Patriot Act and other sedition laws to go after them for endangering the national security.  Try them as criminals.  Maybe send them to Gitmo for a vacation.  Take back their bonuses and salaries obtained under false pretenses.  Most importantly, impeach the politicians who aided and abetted them.

Why try them for treason?  Keep in mind, the cutbacks in health care, port security, and military preparedness that will be caused by these astronomical losses are going to ultimately kill more people than the 9/11 terrorists dared dream.

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By Sepharad, September 20, 2008 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It worries me that all our liberal Dem friends—Obama, Pelosi, Hillary, Barney Frank, Charles Schumer—are OK with taxpayers bailing stockholders and the market out of $1 trillion in debt (isn’t our entire GNP roughly $3 trillion?). Krugman says this is essentially rescuing the financial industry from the consequences of their own greed but is necessary to avoid what the WSJ described as “the mother of all credit contractions.” WHY are people we support OK with this? Because they are rich enough to be looking out for their and their children’s interests? Is Obama looking out for his major hedge fund backers? At least Bush, perhaps not even realizing what he was saying, once acknowledged that the “have-mores” were his “base.”

McCain blurted out that he would fire the head of the SEC. Possibly he didn’t realize that as President he’d have no power to do that. This limitation, combined with the Dems reaction to the bailout, caused my husband (more economically sophisticated, also more radical, than me) to wonder whether we aren’t on the verge of a huge change for the worse in our society: literally turning over the U.S. treasury to the service of Ivy League Wall Street elitists—leaving the rest of us who are not in the know and on the make in the position of debt peonage forever because we do not elect those people, and our elected representatives in the executive and legislative branch can’t dump the financial sector wizards.

Am I missing something? Or do we need a more widespread, revolutionary change—along the lines of the kind of social movement that lichen and Outraged have been talking about on other threads?  Are we going to compliantly walk into an endless two-tiered society if we again voting for the lesser of two evils? (For years my position has been that as long as evil is evil, lesser is better—especially in this election. Just now, if you vote your conscience in November, for Kucinich or Nader or McKinney, you might wake up with Sarah Palin as President who would be OK with waking up to radiated molecules and ashes all over the Middle East and even farther if she thinks that’s what her God wants.)

You guys usually express yourselves strongly—say something that will persuade me that it’s rational to vote for a cosmetically more appealing status quo that looks after its own—and “its own” probably doesn’t include most of us. Again.

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By felicity, September 20, 2008 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

How about this scenario.

The Depression caused great political upheaval world-wide, one result of which was the rise to power of demagogues (think Hitler.)  Historians contribute the phenomenon to financially desperate populations vulnerable to the rhetoric of a would-be leader who appeals to passions and prejudices rather than to reason, one who speaks what people want to hear.

Admittedly sounding like a fruit-cake conspiracist, I have to wonder if this economic turmoil isn’t just a bit too convenient.  Perhaps we should think about what may result from it not too far down the road.

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By Marc Schlee, September 20, 2008 at 6:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Long Live the International Socialist Revolution !!


FREE AMERICA

REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY

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By One Little Victory, September 20, 2008 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

Let’s not raise the fact that it was the policies of McCain, Gramm and some of the other neocon idiots that led to a situation which required bailouts.

The battle cry of the neocon: de-regulate, de-regulate, de-regulate. There was a reason for those regulations in the first place. But will they learn? Nope, if McSame gets elected, he will go back to de-regulation and worse still he will turn the health care industry into the banking industry.

McCain + Palin = Recipe for Disaster

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By Ashraf, September 20, 2008 at 5:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What McCain has not said but is dying to say is this ” Please don’t judge me by my past”

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By G.Anderson, September 19, 2008 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

Me too, Me too…sounds good doesn’t it…..

But this isn’t really about that, it’s about protecting the debt of our Citizens as an attractive investment for the Chinese, the Saudi’s, and a few other countries.

Because that’s the only thing that this country sells, the debts of it’s citizens…

There was another way to do it, but they didn’t even consider that one, raise wages, create jobs, bring back manufacturing, and repeal bankrupcy reform…put a cap on credit card interest rates, so people can keep their homes without a bailout…

They like us barefoot and pregnant… because we’re easier to exploit that way… and the fun part for them is we have to pay for it anyway..

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By troublesum, September 19, 2008 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment

I’m going to quit drinking tomorrow.

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By P. T., September 19, 2008 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

Seeing McCain get to the left of Obama on this issue is interesting.  McCain seems to have a better feel for the pulse of the public than his rival does.

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By PatrickHenry, September 19, 2008 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

If he said he was for them, he would be toast.

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