Bush: Unregulated, Out of Control Personal/Corporate Greed Not Responsible For Meltdown
"Our aim should not be more government. It should be smarter government." - George W. Bush who may've been referencing why we'd elected Obama.
George W. Bush warned Europe during an economic summit in New York today as to the dangers of deregulation by saying that the free market didn't fail and is not responsible for the worldwide financial meltdown that resulted in a $700 billion bailout bill that included a $140 billion tax windfall for banks.
As Atrios would say: Heh. Indeedy.
So, "modest reforms" are the answer, eh? Here's the republican version of "modest reforms":
A bankruptcy bill written by many of the very same lenders who have been rear-ending the American consumer for years and years, lenders that are partially responsible for the abovementioned worldwide meltdown, a bankruptcy bill that didn't close the asset protection trust loophole that allows rich, bloated fucks to hide their money by sinking it all into unoccupied mansions, a self-dealing, self-interested bill that, while not doing a damned thing toward impeding corporations like Enron and Worldcom from filing for bankruptcy to the tune of countless tens of billions, simultaneously denies Mr. and Mrs. Joe Sixpack from seeking bankruptcy protection when they fall behind on their credit card bills after accruing unforeseen medical bills.
Because it's folks like us who are the real danger of abusing the bankruptcy laws, not Bernard Ebbers or Kenny Lay and Jeffery Skilling.
Deregulation of banks has led to out-of-control overdraft fees that now account for a full one quarter of their annual revenue ($17 billion, by one account). The complete deregulation of credit card companies allows them to jack up your APR to levels that would make Tony Soprano blush for falling behind on a bill that has nothing to do with your credit card.
Deregulation republican-style has created a corporate welfare state in which, after getting bailed out, insurance giants like AIG then promptly go out on $440,000 junkets while planning more. Deregulation of the auto makers allows corporations like GM to lay off tens of thousands of workers, scuttle their pensions while allowing their executive pension plan to continue unabated, then publicly fret about lack of liquidity and asking for their own bailout with no strings attached (their CEO, Rick Wagoner, pulled down $14.4 million last year).
Deregulation of the home lending industry led to unconscionable "low-risk" home loans that resulted in homeowners seeing their APR (and their mortgages) literally double within the first 15 months of ownership when their Ponzi pyramids began to topple.
But it's all our fault, says the GOP, especially the darkies, and its apologists because we shouldn't have taken those loans and join Bush's ownership society. Not a word from them as to whether or not lenders like Countrywide, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae should've extended the offer of such loans.
Deregulation of industry results in corporations such as Halliburton to bilk the American taxpayer of tens of millions for non-existent fuel costs, cost-plus, no-bid contracts that bilk the Treasury of billions more by not doing the job.
Take care of the free market and the free market will take care of you, says the Bush/Republican mantra.
Trouble with that is the screamingly self-evident: That the free market will not take of anyone but themselves and maybe, if they're feeling charitable, their shareholders (Enron is a classic example of a corporation bloating their profits by cooking their books then exhorting their shareholders to not sell so they could make a killing selling their own Enron stock first, leaving thousands with worthless 401 (k) plans that were tied in to the company stock).
Deregulation results in mergers that stretch the antitrust laws to their breaking point, which leads to layoffs and ever larger and larger executive pensions and signing bonuses so obscenely larded that the multi-million dollar salaries they're paid seems like an afterthought.
Deregulation and complete lack of oversight results in people like Lee R. Raymond, his fellow tycoons and Erik Prince to address Congress with complete arrogance and barely-disguised contempt while Republicans hoarsely scream that they shouldn't even have to be sworn in.
And such a virtual lack of oversight and regulation breeds an out-of-control lobbyist culture that extorts more favoritism from lawmakers who are all too aware on which side their bread is buttered.
Another problem with Bush's charitable view of free market capitalism is that Europe wants the tighter regulations. And their CEOs aren't nearly as greedy as ours.
One other problem: Nobody gives a fuck what Bush has to say about anything, anymore. Bush has about as much credibility as a whore saying, "I love you!"