Robert Reich: banks paying congressmen is hardly democratic

Robert Reich, economist and former secretary of labor,  excoriates Congress for passing the buck when it comes to regulating WallStreet in any meaningful way. In typical fashion, Senator Dodd (who introduced a bill to regulate wallstreet that will likely tumble into the dustbin) sits back an complains the Wall Street “sent an army of lobbyists” to “kill the common sense financial reforms.” Reich is keen to retort that it is hardly up to wall street to decide what laws need to get made and when – that is Congress’s job. However, since Congress is basically payrolled by the likes of Goldman Sachs et al., hardly a congressman has the political guts to  bite the hand that feeds him, lest the money stop rolling in to his campaign coffers.

How is it that Wallstreet is allowed, in our supposedly democratic system, to payroll (that is, contribute massively to the campaigns of) the very congressmen whose job it is to decide how to regulate wallstreet (or not to). That’s rather like drug dealers paying the police commissioner.

And of course wallstreet covers both sides of the aisle: 88 mil. to Dems and 67 mill to Repubs. Which is the pittance it has to pay to keep the money faucets flowing as they are: wall street is doling out 30 billion dollars in bonuses (Goldman Sachs alone is giving 16 billion to its biggest traders). So there are heaps of money to be made by, basically, paying off congressmen (and congresswomen) to sit on their hands. It seems to me that the interests of the people are hardly being represented here over the interests of the banks.

Reich’s piece becomes even more edgy, when he reveals the quiet conversation behind the scenes. While Obama and co. are doing some populist saber rattling (those fat cats….!), wallstreet is whispering that it might just contribute more to the Republicans next year, since the dems don’t seem to have their (the banks’) best interests at heart. Oh how representative our democracy is!

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