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Archive for the ‘Financial Reform’ Category

Today’s Flickr photo

Flickr photo by philroeder

If you read one thing today . . .

Markos Moulitsas on the Daily Kos highlights some interesting exit polling from the midterm elections. More voters blamed Wall Street for our economic woes than either Barack Obama or George W. Bush. But among those who blamed Bush, 83 percent were Democrats and among those who blamed Obama, 91 percent were Republicans. No surprise there. What is puzzling, as Markos points out is that even though a lot of Republicans blamed Wall Street, it didn’t stop them from voting for GOP candidates who, by and large, push a pro-Wall Street agenda.

So why is that? It’s because people think there is no difference between the parties when it comes to the rich and powerful. And why should they? Obama’s finance team is essentially a branch office of Goldman Sachs and company. Treasury was more concerned with using HAMP as a way to protect the banks than help struggling homeowners stay in their homes. In a bizarre role reversal — the White House economic team tried to water down the finance reform bill that came out of Congress.

It’s not hard to see why people have gotten the sense that Democrats aren’t much better on Wall Street matters than Republicans (even if they are).

Overheard:

This whole new Wisconsin paradigm will take some getting used to. Red state? Wisconsin? Anyways, this once progressive bastion is now filled with legislators who want to tell the federal government where it can stick its socialized health care. Kevin Sack in the New York Times says the opposition to health care reform helped fuel the GOP rise in Wisconsin, as well as other states. Wisconsin’s Gov.-elect Scott Walker says that on his first day in office, he’ll tell the state’ s attorney general to join a multi-state suit challenging the constitutionality of Obama’s health care reform.

“I think the more free-market the better,” Mr. Walker, the Milwaukee County executive, said in an interview. “I think history has repeatedly shown the more the government gets involved the more it not only distorts the marketplace but the more likely it is to inflate costs.”

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Citizens UnitedStunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $97: The amount per vote spent by Nevada Republican Sharron Angle and Connecticut Republican Linda McMahon – a record
  • $69: The amount per vote spent by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
  • $33: The average cost of a vote in the midterms

October saw record number of political ads on TV
A record number of political ads ran on TV in October – even more than during the same month in 2008, when the presidential contest was in its final month. An estimated 1.48 million political ads aired on TV last month, compared to 1.41 million in October 2008. Hot spots for ads were Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif. and Seattle, Wash. Wow. Can’t wait for 2012.

Counting noses: How to get the DISCLOSE Act passed
Time is running out for advocates of disclosure to get the DISCLOSE Act passed – a measure designed to make public the funders of political ads and introduced in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which gave corporations (more…)

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Mehall

The draft recommendations issued this week by President Obama’s deficit  commission co-chairs, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, were both disappointing and highly suspect when they blatantly omitted a speculation tax on Wall Street and the financial industry.

Since this is just a discussion draft, we will not speculate as to how such a clear revenue raiser was absent from the proposal and simply ask the co-chairs and members of deficit commission to make sure that the co-chair Alan Simpson truly “harpoons every whale in the [deficit] ocean,” as he claimed to have done.

We urge the commission to include a financial speculation tax in its final report to President Barack Obama.

Craig Mehall is policy counsel for Public Citizen.

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If you read one thing today . . .

Down With Government Oversight
see more Political Pictures

Overheard:

Despite the Dow Jones Industrial Average bouncing back to where it was before the 2008 economic crisis and despite big profits being reported by many of the companies that were bailed out by the federal government, investors around the world are not too keen on the Obama administration, according to a Bloomberg article by Mike Dorning. It seems the only thing that might make them happy is complete global deregulation.

“The uncertainty around the administration’s approach to dealing with businesses and the lack of clarity on taxes has created an environment where companies are less likely to make incremental investments, which in turn is bad for future corporate profits and hence the investment climate,” says poll respondent Quinten Stevens, 46, managing partner of Stevens Asset Management LLC in Darien, Connecticut. “Hopefully, the recent election results will be a powerful wake-up call to significantly change their approach towards the private sector.”

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Arkush

Today’s Financial Times reports that Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who plans to chair the House Committee on Financial Services, is urging watchdog agencies to ignore the law and let Wall Street run wild again – and with taxpayer money to boot.

Bachus wants the big banks to keep up the government-subsidized gambling that crashed the economy and cost millions of jobs. His position flatly contradicts the Volcker rule in the new Wall Street reform law, and it’s the wrong direction for the country.

If Bachus plans to take direction from Wall Street lobbyists and give the big banks more financial wrecking balls rather than make the economy work for ordinary Americans, we can expect more financial crises, more big bank bailouts and more lost jobs.

He should reconsider and commit himself to serving the public, not helping the likes of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs set new records for profits and bonuses.

David Arkush is director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

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Weissman

A staggering amount of money—$3.7 billion and counting—has been spent on the 2010 midterm elections that will be decided today.

Please join me at noon (EDT) this Wednesday, November 3, for a live, interactive online presentation: “Corporate Money and the Midterm Elections.”

I’ll review—and take your questions about—the election results, the unprecedented levels of corporate spending, and Public Citizen’s ongoing work to preserve democracy for We, the People.

This one-hour webinar is free and open to the public. Space is limited, so just fill out this simple registration form to reserve your virtual seat: www.citizen.org/election-webinar-registration

With the economy in crisis—and the Obama administration having made a fatal political (and policy) error by embracing Bush’s Wall Street bailout—corporations have sought to exploit an electorate that is, quite rightfully and understandably, outraged.

And the Supreme Court’s massively misguided decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has permitted corporations to spend all the money they want trying to influence your vote.

I hope you can join me and hundreds of fellow Public Citizens for the “Corporate Money and the Midterm Elections” webinar.

Take just a moment and register now so that you can join us!

Thank you.

P.S. No matter how much money Big Business spends to drown out the voice of the people, there is still one way to make your voice heard: Vote. If you haven’t participated in early voting, please be sure to vote today.

Robert Weissman is president of Public Citizen.

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Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • 149: Number of independent groups that have spent money to influence this year’s elections (according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports through Oct. 25)
  • $176.1 million: Amount those groups have spent on the midterms
  • 10: Number of groups responsible for the bulk of that spending
  • 59.9 percent: The percentage of that money that comes from undisclosed sources

Public Citizen calls on electioneering groups to disclose corporate donors
Public Citizen has sent a letter to all groups that are conducting electioneering communications or independent expenditures in the 2010 elections, urging them to disclose to the public the sources and amounts of corporate contributions they use for their campaign spending.

Disclosed corporate funds are a fraction of what is hidden, heavily favor Republicans
Tapping into what few disclosure records exist of campaign spending by outside groups in the 2010 elections, Public Citizen has identified about 200 corporate contributors to a mere 29 independent groups that have reported their funding sources to the Federal Election Commission. These disclosure records account for (more…)

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