Friday, October 15, 2010
Yes we have no bananas!
When you think about it, the emergence of covert corporation campaign funding as a major issue is not surprising.
While just some years ago, the players on Wall St. were idolized by many middle class Americans, the love affair has ended badly for many if not most of these people. We can remember the anger that developed during the bank bailouts while struggling homeowners received much less help.
When the public learned that many of the same financial institutions that received help were giving executives huge bonuses, the anger only grew. The news of swindlers like Ponzi scheme artist Bernie Madoff helped to create a new image of the Wall St. trader.
Then, there was the news that a Detroit auto executive looking for a taxpayer bailout had flown to hearings in DC on a corporate jet.
At the height of the furor, there were even reports that Wall St. traders were arming themselves against the threats of disgruntled investors.
In some more recent news, we have heard that the Federal Reserve is looking to cover banks with lots of bad mortgages. Currently, many adjustable rate mortgages from the Bush era are resetting to much higher rates, and the rate of foreclosure is rising rapidly. Yet, most of the rescue action that we see is coming from the central bank on behalf of fellow bankers.
The days of "greed is good" seem long gone now, at least in the current economic environment.
Many Democrats had thought that the economy or the outlandish candidates and behavior of the Tea Party would be the issue that would drive people to the polls. Certainly the economy remains an important factor that is connected directly with the anger at corporate America.
However, Tea Party candidates have been careful to distance themselves from past rhetoric, and the mainstream Republicans have tried to separate themselves from the Tea faction.
What seems to have been underestimated is the resentment held by many Americans against big corporations. While the Tea Party can, at best, be seen as a threat, many Americans already feel victimized by Wall St. and big business. So, the idea that corporations are secretly manipulating elections is like the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
While Republicans and business leaders have been complaining that President Obama is "anti-business," the fact is that Obama may not even be coming close to representing American anger at big corporations.
Democrats would be wise to follow Sen. Russ Feingold's example and to continue to ask independent campaign committees to disclose their corporate donors, so Americans will know who is funding all the campaign ads currently bombarding the airwaves.
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