Exile on Main Street
It's no longer just a Rolling Stones album.
Michael Collins has penned another expose, this one detailing the Senate's vote not to help struggling homeowners, a measure that was defeated yesterday in the Senate 51-45. It puts yet another nail in the coffin of the myth that the Democrats will work wonders for us once Al Franken arrives and gives them their much-ballyhooed 60 seat filibuster-proof super majority. "But, but... We now have Specter!" you say?
Arlen Specter, in one of his first votes as a "Democrat", voted Nay on Sen. Dick Durbin's relief bill. So did John Tester, Max Baucus, Michael Bennet, Robert Byrd, Thomas Carper, Byron Dorgan, Tim Johnson, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson and Mark Pryor.
Even Lieberman voted for the fucking thing, for crissake.
As expected, Joe Lieberman was the closest thing that we had to a Republican vote for the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 as the GOP, once again, laughed and thumbed their noses at the ever-widening but still ineffective Democratic majority. And why did they thumb their snouts at the majority party? Because they could.
It doesn't make any sense to have even a Democratic supermajority as long as the both the Senate and the House are so divided on the left side of the aisle, especially when many of those are millionaires who are hopelessly out of touch with the plight of homeowners who have to tell their children, "Sorry you won't have the chance to make more memories here, kids. Freddie Mac just bought them."
Now, was Sen. Durbin's bill a massive, sweeping bailout package such as the kind that was rammed through Congress in the last days of the Bush and first days of the Obama administrations? Uh, hardly. The bill was to provide homeowners on Main Street with limited financial assistance only. I have it on pretty good faith that if any of this money had wound up on Main Street we wouldn't have seen billions in executive payouts, lobbyists and retreats with the bailout money that flowed into Main Street like a tsunami.
That's infuriating enough even if you don't consider that the failed assistance program to homeowners was, if anything, necessitated by something the US Senate had passed a decade ago called the Financial Services Modernization Act, or more colloquially known as Gramm-Leach-Bliley. This piece of shit bill essentially axed to death the Glass-Steagall Act, which at least sought to impose some regulatory control over many of the same banks and lenders who'd precipitated this subprime crisis.
Last February 7th, the IMF had already come out and said that were already in a depression. So it's hard to see the Senate's collective line of thinking that denying homeowners some much-needed if limited assistance would help lift us out of this depression. Ben Nelson, in fact, said, “Do I want to have my rate go up so that somebody else might be able to cram down [their mortgage payment]?” So it's all about them.
Follow the money as the old canard goes and it gets easier to remember where their thinking comes from when you remember who's contributing to whom. Follow the money and it will always lead back to the halls of Congress, if not the White House.
At least back in the 30's, the Republican Party offered Hoovervilles, shanty towns set up in Central Park. But for homeowners and small businesspeople, Main Street is the Hooverville, the shantytown and this time the banks own them.